— Whitney lost 100 pounds and wanted to continue an exercise regimen to help keep the weight off.
Susan's husband told her she needed a goal.
Jane always told her kids they should try new things, so she decided to be a good example.
When Carrie LaSpada sent out an email to the Renbrook School community, asking other teachers if they would be interested in getting together and training for a triathlon, seven responded. Right away, seven women's lives changed a little for the better.
They have trained this summer. They are in better shape. They have bonded and become friends.
"[We'll be bonded] even more so on Sunday, when they are cursing me," said LaSpada, 39, of West Hartford, who teaches fourth grade.
The women, who range in age from 34 to 51, will be competing in the Women's Triathlon (1/2-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 5K run) Sunday morning at Winding Trails in Farmington.
Only two of them — LaSpada and Jean Kracke of Simsbury — have competed in triathlons before.
"It's been fun training this summer," said Jane Johansen, 44, of Avon, who teaches third grade. "I felt like a little kid, like 'This is how I spent my summer.' I rode my bike to swimming, went swimming, rode my bike home, maybe went for a run."
Johansen has run 5Ks and 10Ks, so she is not a complete newbie to competition. She and LaSpada have a running club for kids at the school, the Renbrook Road Runners.
But she said, "The biggest reason I'm doing it is because I have two children who are very wary of trying new things, so I've kind of made it my mission as their mother to try new things."
Susan Hild, 51, who calls herself the "matriarch of the group," said the same thing.
"You know, so many times, we ask our kids to go outside their comfort zone," said Hild, of West Hartford, who teaches fifth grade. "This is going out of my comfort zone."
Actually, Hild said she would be more likely cursing at her husband, who is a regular runner, on Sunday morning than she would at LaSpada.
"He said, 'You should set a goal; you should try a triathlon,' " Hild said. "I said, 'You. Are. Crazy. There is no way.' "
But the seed was planted.
"I started to look in the area," she said. "And I started to look at the participants [online]. And I saw Carrie's name. I said, 'Well, I'm going to talk to Carrie at school.' That was it. Before I knew it, I was roped in, we got a group together and it's like, OK, there's no stopping us now. It's been great."
The swim is usually the biggest impediment to people who want to compete in triathlons but choose not to. But the group swam together at the school, with the more experienced athletes (Kracke has done a half-Ironman) helping the not-so-experienced swimmers.
"I am probably most nervous about the swim," said Tracey Robbins, 49, of Windsor. "It's a little overwhelming. The first time I got in the pool this summer, I could hardly do anything. It was so scary. But I just kept going back every week. Little by little, I felt more comfortable. I've just decided I need to go slow and just make sure I finish."
Whitney Perrine, who lost 100 pounds since last year, doesn't love running.
"The running part is the thing I'm most nervous about," said Perrine, who lives in Farmington and teaches music at the school. "It's something I never did."
Hey, five years ago, LaSpada had never done a triathlon, either. But then her brother bet her she couldn't do one. She's done a number of triathlons since, including the one in Farmington. She's running the New York City Marathon in November with her brother in celebration of her 40th birthday that month.
So she showed him, right?
"No, actually, he kicked my butt, because he does Ironmans now," she said, laughing.