Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little History

So here I go, adventuring into the world of blogging.  My husband has been encouraging me to start a blog for a couple years, it took me awhile to get here so now lets see what happens!

My name is Ginger Spansel and I've been a competitive triathlete since 1985.  I've always been involved in some type of athletics.  My Mom and Dad taught my sister and me how to swim when we were about 3 years old.  Dad swam on a swim team when he was younger and I've seen our home movies of me trying to imitate him swimming backstroke in our pool in California when I was little.  My parents were awesome, they let us try anything we wanted and were never disappointed if we changed our minds and decided to try something else.  So I took a little ballet, some tumbling and learned to play the guitar.

We moved to Mississippi in 1972 and I decided to try out for cheerleader when I was in 7th grade at Gautier Junior High.  (That's me on the far right).
I was on the team for three years and decided not to try out in high school and instead joined the Ocean Springs YMCA Swim Team.  What a great decision that turned out to be.  I swam for two years and even made it to the State swim meet.  

Ocean Springs YMCA Sea Serpents
When I got to college at the University of Southern Mississippi I changed directions again and took up running to try and keep off the dreaded "Freshman 15".  I  remember my first run in my Adidas Rom sneakers - I made it about a half mile before I walked.   The next time out I ran a little over a mile, then I went out and bought some real running shoes.  Through college I ran pretty consistently, I took a running Aerobics class for one of my required P.E. requirements.  One day I was running to gymnastics practice my Aerobics instructor drove by, stopped and told me, "I see you running everywhere, you don't have to come to class anymore".  

I entered my first 5K in 1984 - The Sawmill Square Classic in Laurel, MS.  I finished the race and went home to change to get ready for work.  I had no idea if I ran well or not until the store manager called me into his office to give me the medal that he'd picked up for me at the awards ceremony! 

First Tri - The Magnolia Triathlon
The next year I decided to enter The Magnolia Triathlon in Jackson, MS.  I hadn't done any swim training since high school and hadn't ridden my bike since commuting to class in college.  I was running and racing a lot, so I wasn't worried about the run.  One day a few weeks before the race I got out my Schwinn Varsity 10 Speed that my parents had given me as a 6th Grade graduation present, rode about 10 miles to the local track, jumped off my bike and ran a mile.  It was awful!  There were two transition areas, we laid our bikes on the grass for T1, and since I was riding in my running shoes I didn't have anything in T2, just laid my bike down on the ashphalt.  I had a good swim and was being passed like a fence post on the bike, people kept passing me saying "Good Swim", and one person told me to hold my knees in closer to the top tube - little did I know that this was my first triathlon tip.  I finished the race and placed 3rd in my age group - I was hooked!!