Jo Ann Rossi grew up participating in sports which concentrated on form: dance, diving, gymnastics, ice skating, and areal freestyle skiing. When a friend suggested she do a triathlon, Jo Ann thought she was crazy. After doing her first race at the 2018 RTC Sprint, she was hooked and resolved to do even better. Over the past year, she has come so far working with Endorphin Fitness and recently made the podium at the Patriot’s Sprint. Read about her journey in her own words below…
Tell us about your journey to endurance sports. How did you get started?
A long time ago, a friend of mine told me that I should do a triathlon… I quickly told her that she was crazy. I didn’t run, swim, or even own a bike. None of those sports even appealed to me. I grew up participating in sports which concentrated on form: dance, diving, gymnastics, ice skating, and areal freestyle skiing. I’ve always loved the mix of strength, technique, and style. I’ve also always appreciated the value of a great coach and what they can bring out of you. How I ended up deciding to give triathlon a try is a bit of a mystery, but I think that it could have been that I needed a new challenge.
When was your first race? Tell us about it.
My first race was the RTC Sprint in April of 2018. I was scared out of my mind. I had never done anything like this, but for some reason I registered for the race. It was a challenge, and sometimes the best way to find out what you can do, is to force yourself to do something a little outside of your comfort zone. This was definitely way outside of that zone for me. So, I started swimming at the YMCA in October, and hoped that I would eventually be able to swim more than a 50 before having to take a break. I had never actually run a 5k, although I had done many of the mud obstacle races over the years. I had my regular routine of cardio, strength, yoga, and cycle classes that I took at the gym 5 days a week but running wasn’t on that schedule. Since I didn’t own a bike, I bought one on Amazon. When race time rolled around, I had only ridden it outside a handful of times, and still didn’t really understand my gears. I completed the sprint, being sure to take my time and enjoy the race. It was a tough race for me and I was very proud to have finished, but the first thing I thought afterwards was, “I could have done better.”
What is your greatest accomplishment in the sport?
Just a few weeks ago in the Patriots Sprint, I placed 3rd in my age group!
What is your biggest goal right now?
I’d like to go to the USAT Age Group Nationals in a couple of years. I think that would be a great experience. I’ve never competed in a national sporting event.
What motivates you?
Improvement. I’m a competitive person by nature, and I think that I am most competitive with myself.
Outside of training and racing, what are other important things in your life?
My 3 kids and my husband of 21 years, my amazing friends, and my church community are the most important things in my life. I also like to spend my free time learning about nutrition, exercise biomechanics, and improving myself as a fitness instructor.
How has training and racing impacted the rest of your life?
It definitely takes a lot of time! I’ve enjoyed having a training schedule which pushes me to accomplish things that I might not feel I am up to doing. It’s great when my kids see me pushing myself and being active, and it inspires them to want to do the same.
Why did you choose to train with Endorphin Fitness?
That’s easy. It’s all about the people. Earlier this year, I participated in the training team that Endorphin ran for the RTC Sprint. This was the first time I had been a part of something like that. I really enjoyed training with a group, and the support that I received. Coach Kevin and Coach James were excellent with swim instruction, and I looked forward to Coach Erin’s bike and run sessions each week. Shortly after that, I took the swim technique clinic with Coach James. His coaching style really resonated with me, and the other swimmers in the group were really great people. I started to actually look forward to swimming, rather than dreading it. At the end of the clinic, James encouraged me to find out more about the Adult Team.
What do you love most about training with Endorphin Fitness?
Sorry to repeat myself, but… it’s the people. I love that at Endorphin I feel welcomed, encouraged, and part of a community. I love that I have teammates that will text me to ask if I’m coming to the next workout. The people here are proud of each other’s successes, interested in their challenges, and supportive to a fault. I love the knowledge and enthusiasm that all the coaches bring to each workout. They make me glad that I showed up, even when it might have been tough to get there. I love my EF family!