Last updated: Jun 03, 2010
Dont think Rachael Heitman looks like a triathlete? Think again. The 29-year-old mom has competed in eight races since July 2006—even a Half Ironman, which involves swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles. “You picture triathletes as tall, muscular. But they come in every shape, size, age, ability. Its very motivating,” she says. Its hard to believe that three years ago, in 2004, Rachael had gone to a doctor for thyroid trouble and weighed 238 pounds. “He said, ‘At that weight, youre at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes. Your thyroids the least of your problems.” So she cut back to 1,200 calories a day and started walking. Then, while watching the Half Ironman Florida, she caught the triathlon bug. She started running, swimming, and cycling, reaching her goal of 165 pounds in the process.

Her inspiration
“I put books all over my house—books on training plans, running, and sports nutrition. Having them out where I see them often keeps my goals on my mind. It drives my husband nuts, but theyre there for a purpose.” Her favorite? Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams.

Favorite gear
Rachael loves Asics Nimbus socks so much, she buys a new pair for every race she runs. “Im kinda superstitious about it,” she says. “If I didnt do as well as I wanted in the last race, it gives me a fresh start for the next.”

How she stays on track
Training for three sports means loads of workout time. Rachaels husband, Andy, takes care of the kids when shes exercising. He also clears the table so she doesnt graze on the leftovers.

Her passion
Rachael says shes addicted to racing events and plans vacations around triathlons now. To cheer her on, we arranged for her to get a pair of Sidi T2 Womens Triathlon Shoes and a Speedplay Light Action Titanium Pedal System.

Before Now
Pounds: 238 165
Size: 22 10
BMI: 38 25
Total lost: 73