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by Greta Van Meeteren

March 1, 2010

Enjoys triathlons, too

Caryn Galeckas works as office manager and PE teacher for Christian Encounter Ministries, a residential counseling and discipleship ministry for 16-25 year olds. She also helps lead wilderness trips for the students in that program—two weeks in summer and four days in winter. Galeckas lives on the property of the ministry and enjoys a close community with other staff members. Galeckas swam recreationally throughout her childhood and began racing in high school.

During her freshman year, in 1972, she was on the first girls’ swim team her high school had. She swam 200 and 500 free. Galeckas chose not to swim in college, and most of her adult years she swam just enough in a pond each summer to be able to maintain her Lifeguard certification. Galeckas' athletic and fitness focus those years was on biking, regularly training for and participating in a 24-hour bike-a-thon for CEM.

Five years ago a friend got her hooked on triathlons. She did her first sprint-distance race on a whim and instantly fell in love with the sport. The small town where she lives, Grass Valley, Calif., doesn’t have a lot to offer for swimming, but a new pool opened and a Masters program started just as Galeckas and her friend were getting serious about triathlon. There is no formal program or coaching—the coaches are focused on their kids’ programs—but Galeckas and her friend do get some coaching occasionally. She swims three times a week, covering 2,800 to 3,300 meters, following workouts from a book. In addition Galeckas bikes and runs three days a week.

Galeckas' swimming highlight was last April, swimming in her second Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Oceanside, Calif. It was the first time she had ever swum in the ocean. "Salt water in the back of the throat was an interesting experience, as was coming up to sight for the next buoy and seeing only a wall of water in front of me. I was thrilled to come in eighth out of 43 in my age group (50-55) in the swim, and 23 out of 43 overall," says Galeckas.

She signed up for GTD because she loves tracking her workouts. Galeckas had always kept a detailed log, but it was harder for her to track monthly and yearly totals for swimming than for biking and running. "It’s fun to see those totals, and to see what other folks are doing. Getting milestone rewards along the way for something I’m doing anyway is a nice bonus," she says. Galeckas would like to swim 250 miles this year, but thinks that 150 is probably a more realistic goal with everything else she is doing. Her racing events this year include one sprint triathlon, three Olympic-distance triathlons, and a 24-hour bike fundraiser, in which she hopes to beat her personal best of 335 miles.


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