GLEN ELLYN – When Barone's Family Restaurant and Pizzeria owner Dena Colie isn't running around the restaurant making sure everything is running smoothly, she is running – as well as biking and swimming – as a triathlete.
Representing Team USA in the 50 to 54 age group, Colie placed 16th in the world in the ITU World triathlon Sept. 17 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She participated in a 1,500-meter swim, 25-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run.
Colie, 52, did better than she expected. This was only the second world triathlon in which she has competed.
"A triathlon is kind of a continually moving sport," she said. "Even if you do the same race year after year, it's always going to be different... I like to go in and do the best that I can. My goal is always to compete to the best of my ability, no matter which race."
There were 75 people in her age group in the ITU World triathlon, Colie said. She finished the competition with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 17 seconds.
"I did all right," Colie said, laughing.
She faced several challenges in the race, including the weather.
"The weather was not very good all week," Colie said. "We kind of got a break on race day, when the sun finally came out and it wasn't raining. It was pretty chilly, so you have to think about that coming out of the water, how are you going to stay hydrated and warm on the bike."
The Naperville resident has competed in triathlons for 12 years, starting when she was 40 years old. Colie, who has a swimming background, got into the sport through a friend who was involved in triathlons.
"I decided to try one, and kind of after trying one, it hooked me," Colie said. "I was to a level in my regular aerobics classes where it wasn't really pushing me anymore, and so a triathlon was another way to push myself both mentally and physically. The triathlon community is really a cool community. Everybody is really welcoming, no matter what your goals are."
She also is a USA triathlon-certified coach and a youth and junior coach. In her coaching duties, Colie said she tries to nurture that same love for the sport.
"You have to see what their goals are and teach them how to train and make sure they are resting well," Colie said. "I do a kids triathlon program at The Labs in Aurora. We're kind of nurturing them. We want to teach them the fundamentals of the sport. You teach them the fundamentals of being active and having fun. For the kids program, it's really about having fun."
Over the years, Colie has achieved five All-American rankings and three Team USA qualifications. But she is humble about her accomplishments.
"I do it because it's something I enjoy doing," she said. "I don't really do it for the prestige. It's nice to be representing your country."