Team Elite | Mia Leone
Hello! My USAT card says Mia Leone, and my business card says Maria Leone, so you can call me either! This is my second year racing triathlons so I’m still a newbie. My husband, Ryan, had been trying to talk me into doing them for years. I vowed instead be a professional sideline supporter with our two dogs. In the meantime I regularly ran, and did 5k’s here and there, spin classes, etc., but that was the extent of my workout life. Near the end of 2013 I was talking about how swimming is so good for you and next thing I knew Ryan had signed me up for Maumee Bay Try-a-Tri and a couple sprint triathlons. I already knew how to swim, but not competitively, and he said he would help me along the way. So in January 2014 we hopped in the pool at the gym and Ryan tediously started teaching me how to get from one side to the other and back; it wasn’t pretty but I was excited at being able to see myself improve. Plus I loved being able to eat so much after a good swim! While learning how to swim, we also started going to spin class regularly and continuing to run. Things were going well, I was feeling strong and in shape and getting a classy sports bra tan. One day, after a 2 ½ hour bike ride in the summer, this conversation happened:
Me- “Why are we riding so long? A sprint tri bike isn’t going to be this long!”
Ryan- “Well…I thought you would have picked up on it earlier but…you’ve actually been doing the Half-Ironman training plan (1.2 swim, 56 m bike, and 13 mi run)…”
Ryan-“…but you’re doing great! Now you can do a half in September!!”
Needless to say it was a bittersweet conversation that ultimately resulted in me not doing the half Ironman in the summer, and Ryan telling everyone the story of how he had duped me for about 6 months.
So race season started and Ryan had signed me up for the Maumee Bay try a tri, and 4 sprint tris lasting from June-August. Each race had its ups and downs which included anything from panicking in the open water swim to cramping in the run but crossing the finish line always resulted in feeling so accomplished and knowing that I had raced a triathlon before most people got up on a Sunday morning! My favorite part of the tri is the run part because I’m not the strongest swimmer or biker, but I flew past all those people that passed me during those events during the run. Somewhere deep inside me I had this competitive edge of me that laughed an evil laugh as I sprinted past all those people and “chicked” a lot of guys. The run is also what helped me place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in my age group in every race; it was a lucky and first year!
I think my favorite race was the Sylvania Triathlon in August; it was the first time that I felt really confident and comfortable, and didn’t panic in the open water and went “fast.” The bike was fine, and as usual, flew past a lot of people on the run. When I was done, I just felt so good! I didn’t think I would place because there were so many people there that year and competition was stiff but it turns out I placed 2nd in my age group so I was extremely proud!
I decided to join Team Elite, because being new to the sport, I have so many more improvements I could make and Alisha can definitely help me in my progress. After meeting with her and getting a running gait assessment she confirmed that my running isn’t the most efficient which just makes me think how much faster I will be after some minor adjustments. Then I can chick even more guys! This year, I’m signed up for my first Olympic distance triathlons so I need to be stronger, better, and faster and I’m confident that Alisha and the team can support me in this new athletic endeavor. My friends from high school still say, “No offense but I never pictured you doing triathlons.” I’m ok with proving them wrong!