Tanya Gesek

Tanya Gesek

Tell us about yourself. I am a psychologist who specializes in children and families. I have a private practice and also work part time for SUNY Upstate in the Pediatrics Department. I have lived in the Syracuse area since 2000 and am the mother of a 12-year-old son, Kai, who is a seventh grader at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School.

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? I signed up for my first triathlon a little over four years ago when I turned 40. Call it an early midlife crisis!

Who is your hero? That is a hard question. There are so many people that I have been impressed with over time, not always someone famous. The heroes are the unknowns that overcome such adversity to bounce back and be better than ever. No one person fits that bill for me. 

What is your athletic background? I started as a dancer and dabbled in soccer throughout high school and college. I never really saw myself as an athlete but was always active.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? It’s funny, when I started to get back into fitness after my son was born, I picked up running. Now I feel like my running sucks. I guess many triathletes feel that way. I only learned to swim after I signed up for Iron Girl so that should be my weakest link but it is the sport I have grown to love the most.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? Iron Girl 2011! Leading up to it I was terrified. Thanks to my first coach, Lisa Dolbear, what I remember most is feeling like I really belonged out there, like I had found my niche.

What is your favorite race and why? I have to say that Gillie Girl is my fave. Iron Girl was definitely my first and has a special place in my heart, but it feels good to do a truly local race for women that also supports a great cause. 

What was your worst race and why? All of them. . . just kidding. I guess my worst race ultimately has been the best learning moment for me. I had to DNF Du the Lakes one year due to a calf injury. Devastating but humbling at the same time.  I learned to listen to my body and let the smaller race go. I was registered for my 70.3 and I wanted to be whole for that. It ended up being a good call, but a rough moment.

What races are on your race calendar for 2015? I am registered for Ironman Lake Placid. Eek. Before that I hope to complete the Syracuse Half Marathon, Syracuse Springtime 10K, Triple T in Ohio, and Syracuse 70.3.  After that I will turn to zumba and hiking for a while.

What are this year’s goals? This year I am hoping to see just what I can push my body to do. Whereas I never would have thought it four years ago, finishing IMLP will be a truly amazing personal and fitness goal. I have a great coach in Jennifer Corona and great supporters in my friends, family and triathlon community. (Thanks, Joe!) Together, I think we got this.

In five years you hope to. . . In five years, I would love to have the fitness to realistically sign up for another Ironman.

Something most people don’t know about you. So maybe keep it to things people don’t know but want to know? I have two tattoos and have picked out my third, I danced on Club MTV in the 1980s and I love ABBA.

What triathlon has taught you. There is nothing you can’t do.


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