Chicago Athlete: How did your triathlon journey begin?
Dawn Bartolini: I had a significant weight loss and life transformation; I released more than 100 pounds through nutritional cleansing and it gave me a different view on life. Then, a friend of mine suggested I do a triathlon because I already encouraged so many people through my journey. I thought it was crazy and I didn’t know how to swim, but I went ahead and did the Iron Girl Triathlon, and I made it alive. When I conquered the swim, I thought I could conquer anything and that kept me going.
CA: How did you come across Tri Right?
DB: Almost right after is when a friend recommended Coach MJ to me. Honestly, I was very intimidated by her because she was so good at what she does, but I soon learned she’s so normal like you and me. She really helped me learn to swim, and when I did Iron Girl again the next year, I took 27 minutes off my time.
CA: What is your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far?
DB: Finding the voice inside of me and not being afraid to share it. After all these years, I just really found out who I am with triathlon. With both my kids, I was the best team mom, I did everything, and I stood by my husband’s side in our business; I was always the right-hand man to so many but I didn’t cast my own vision so now I do, and help others to see their own light.
CA: What advice do you give to triathletes?
DB: Working with almost empty-nesters, I tell them that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, it just matters how you use it. I want other women in their 40’s to take time for themselves; go to bed early and wake up early for the 5 a.m. swim – if you don’t give yourself that time somebody else will take it.
Overall though, just never ever second guess yourself; live a life without doubt, because doubt is part of fear. It’s not just about exercising, it’s about the daily do and your vision for yourself.