Friday Feature – Suzanne Rivest

Team Triumpher Suzanne Rivest

My interest in triathlons started in what seems like a long time ago. I had started running in 2001 but was injured in around 2006 (the timeline escapes me). The sports medicine people strongly suggested that I turn to cycling for recovery and since I already knew how to swim the natural progression was to turn to triathlon.

At the time, I joined the OAC who put me in touch with Julia and Team Triumph. It was through the team that I got through my first few years of training and racing and even got to a few of the longer distance races (4 Half Ironman from 2008-2010 ). Truly an exhilarating time in my life, especially since I never expected to get as far as I did.

I was never really in it for the competitive aspect (well, maybe at the sprint distance). I felt that at my age just getting through a race was achievement enough and it’s a sentiment that still resonates with to this day.

Unfortunately, sometimes life never goes as we would wish it. In December of 2016, I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. I was devastated. Here I thought I was doing the best that I could trying to live a healthy lifestyle filled with plenty of exercise and a good diet only to get sidelined with one of the worst forms of cancer. After the initial shock sort of wore off, I was determined not to let me get me down and keep training (or tried to). Julia and the team were an immense help and support during the nine months of surgery and chemotherapy. I tried to keep as active as possible during this time mainly because the side effects were better tolerated if I did try to keep up training. I think things might not have turned out as well as they did if I hadn’t been as active as I had been, continue to be, and will be in the future.

It’s been 15 months since the end of chemotherapy and while not 100% yet I did manage to do a couple of races this past summer and look forward to doing more this summer. I know I couldn’t have continued training without the encouragement of the team.