Get inspired to start or expand your journey into fitness and the active life by listening to my story! I had the sincere pleasure of appearing on The Active Life, a weekly radio show produced by the Huntsman World Senior Games. I’ve known CEO and host Kyle Case for many years, and recently met co-host Lil Barron in May. We had a fun and engaging conversation on Thursday, June 16. We talked about how I got back into fitness via triathlon, how it led me to where I’m at today, and what keeps me going.
Heartfelt thanks to Kyle and Lil for having me on the show. Can’t wait to see you and all in October (if not sooner)!
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.
Click the play button on this simple audio player to listen to episode 390, “Are You a Slowpoke Diva?” My segment runs from 5:55 to 23:50.
The Active Life: Show Credits
The Active Life radio show is a production of the Huntsman World Senior Games. You’ll find many, many more informative and enjoyable episodes to listen to on their website at seniorgames.net. Be sure to check out their Living Your Best Life video web series for more inspiration and motivation to “live your best life.”
My Radio Segment Transcribed
[Interview starts about 5:55]
Host Kyle Case: Today’s guest has competed at the Huntsman World Senior Games for 12 years, and I looked and she’s already registered for all three events in race walking. So she’s set. She is the founder and publisher of the online magazine Slowpoke Divas. All while is been a little while, Bonnie is also a repeat guest on the Active Life. So we say welcome to Bonnie Parrish-Kell. How are you doing?
Bonnie Parrish-Kell: I’m just so happy to be here! It’s been, it’s been, it’s been too long.
Kyle: It’s been a little while since we’ve had a chance to visit on the radio show, but the thing I love about Bonnie is like she’s just everywhere. I run into her all over the place, at races, at events, everywhere we go, there’s Bonnie. It’s always fun.
Co-host Lil Barron: I didn’t even know her. And I ran into her—
Kyle: At the most recent IRONMAN here in St. George, Utah.
Bonnie: Getting inspired by all the IRONMAN athletes, and their dreams, and their goals, and how they started…it was really amazing stuff.
Kyle: It is amazing. So, Bonnie, we want to start off in that area. You’ve been an athlete for 12 years at the Huntsman World Senior Games. You’ve provided a little bit of inspiration yourself along the way, by the way. Thank you for that.
Bonnie: Thank you.
Kyle: Have you always been an athlete, or was it something you picked up later in life?
Bonnie: I thought I was an athlete back in high school. Then in my 20s, I got into the martial arts. I rode my bike to work. I joined a soccer team, and became a goalie. Loved playing goalie! But then there was this huge gap of, um, I would say almost 30 years, when I was going to be turning 50 I decided, “You know, I want to do something, I want get more active again. Oh, let me do a triathlon!” And no, it was not IRONMAN!
Lil: Go big or go home, right?
Bonnie: Right! And I did a beginner triathlon there in St. George that was put on by the city. And I discovered that I was not an athlete. I couldn’t run. I didn’t know how to ride my bike up a hill anymore. Swimming…I panicked. I kinda dog paddled. It was only like three laps in a pool.
But I didn’t give up.
I hired a coach here in Las Vegas where I live. I trained and trained and trained so when I did my first official sprint triathlon in British Columbia, I finished and was like “Wow, I did this!”
Ever since then, you know, whether it’s been a triathlon, cycling event there at the Games, I’ve gotten into power walking and race walking the last several years, I’m usually last. Definitely last in my age group, but I don’t care because I see other people older than I am passing me, and I’m like I wanna be like them when I grow up!
This particular lifestyle has just opened my world up to where I’ve met wonderful people, not just the two of you, but so many of the athletes, and the people who work and volunteer for the Games, and throughout the senior games universe. I had a great time at Nationals in Albuquerque a few years ago. This is just so enriching, and gives me a reason to stay active.
Kyle: Yeah, I love it. There’s so many things you said there, a couple things I think worth reiterating. Number one is everybody’s story is unique, and Bonnie you have a great story as well, but so many of our senior athletes kinda follow that pattern.
Kyle: They’re active as kids in school, then your life comes along. You start your family, start your career. It’s hard to find the time. You’ve got so many responsibilities. So, many people end up taking a break. Not everybody, but a lot of people take a break.
And then some of those responsibilities die down a little bit. The kids grow up. Life changes a bit. Then you start remembering your youth a little bit, and you start looking for opportunities. Let me just say that we here at the Huntsman World Senior Games, we just love being one of those opportunities. There are so many things in the world you can do – art, music, painting, photography, athletics, sports, theater – there are so many great things to do, and we love being one of the options.
Really, Bonnie, what you said is so true. What is just takes is a decision to go ahead and jump in. Right?
Bonnie: Right. And what I found, and why I started Slowpoke Divas, was that women younger and older than me saying they could never do a triathlon. I said “Um, it’s just a sprint”. A sprint is long enough, but people have this idea that every triathlon is an IRONMAN.
I suddenly realized that we women, especially as we mature and our bodies are changing, we have a tendency to think we can’t do something. It’s a false belief that somehow got ingrained in our brains. That’s why I focus on having fun. Because I can tell you right now if I focus on having to be first – I have a very competitive spirit – then I would have quit after that first little beginner triathlon. And where would I be now?
Bonnie: So we have to focus on the fun, because if we don’t have the fun, then we’re not going to be active, we not going to do the things for our [health] and our families, our mental [health], spiritual [health]. It’s all wrapped up into what I call life.
So I rather have fun than think of this as drudgery.
Lil: That’s my saying, “If it’s not fun, I’m not doing it.”
Lil: I think you have a great point there.
Bonnie: Thank you.
Kyle: Definitely a lesson there, and a great mantra to hold onto. And I love it in so many ways, and I also loved it when you said “I just didn’t quit.” And there may have been many reasons to [quit].
Kyle: But you decided, you made the decision, that’s not going to be you, it’s not what you’re going to do, and you mentioned and it is true – look at much richer now your life is because of the people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had, the journeys you’ve taken, the traveling you’ve done. It just comes down to a decision, right?
Bonnie: It is. You know, the cool thing about this whole senior games universe is that you can make any event a destination race. Coming to St. George there’s so many fun things to do without getting lost in a big city. When I look at the events I’d like to do during the year, they are a part of my vacation plans. Even if it’s only for a weekend getaway. Luckily, Vegas is only two hours away from St. George so it’s easy for me to come up and play. It’s one of the reasons I advocate for this lifestyle – it is just so much fun! And that’s what we want, we want the fun!
Lil: That’s right. That’s me!
Kyle: Speaking of the advocacy, I want to talk about Slowpoke Divas. Number one, tell us a little about what it is, and what does the name, Slowpoke Divas, mean?
Bonnie: I came up with the term, Slowpoke Divas, because [the focus is on having fun]. It’s not about being fast, because many women think, “Oh, if I’m gonna become a runner, or a cyclist, or whatever the sport is, I’m gonna have to be fast or be good.” This [effort] is supposed to be fun. The Divas part of it is that we bring our own personality to whatever the sport we want. As we know we have a couple race walkers, power walkers who love the glitter, the cute little [sparkly] skirts. Then there are gals like me who bring out their inner tomboy. We can be ourselves and should be able to have fun with it. That’s why I came up with the name, Slowpoke Divas.
I’m an advocate, I’m not a personal trainer. The information I share is [science-based from reputable sources]. It’s to encourage women primarily 40 [or older], over weight, out-of-shape, to do something they like even though I focus a lot on power walking, race walking, cycling, getting stronger, throwing weights around, and doing an occasional triathlon.
So that’s the whole point of Slowpoke Divas, to [encourage] women to pick up an activity they themselves will enjoy, and go out and do it. I use competitions for motivation, and also measure my progress. Have I gotten a little faster? A little better? A little stronger? Of course with races, you get the chance to enjoy the company with other like-minded people.
Lil: What I love about what you’re talking about is us women aren’t alone in this, we have someone to commiserate with, help each other, encourage each other. I love that!
Kyle: And be inspired by.
Lil: Yes! Yes! You know what? If you can do it, I can try too, you know. I love that!
Bonnie: Like I said it’s not about how fast [you are], or how you look. If you don’t want to wear Spandex or Lycra, you don’t have to.
Lil: No you don’t have to.
Bonnie: No. That clothing can make the activity easier and more comfortable, but it isn’t required.
Kyle: So if anything you’ve both said resonates with people, how do they find Slowpoke Divas, and talk about what it is?
Bonnie: Just like how you find me everywhere, Kyle, I’m all over the “interwebs.”
Bonnie: Of course there’s the website, Slowpoke Divas dot com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and personally on LinkedIn. If you don’t find Slowpoke Divas, you can find me, Bonnie Parrish hyphen Kell. I’m the only Parrish hyphen Kell in the entire world. You’ll be able to find me. I would love to meet other like-minded women so we can keep encouraging ourselves to live our best athletic lives. Yes, if you’re a walker, even if you’re slow, you’re still an athlete.
Lil: I love that!
Kyle: I’ve been to Slowpoke Divas [website] and there are some great articles.
Lil: I’m going to look it up.
Kyle: Just Bonnie’s experience. It’s a lot of fun. So check it out.
Bonnie: Oh, thank you!
Kyle: Slowpoke Divas dot com, right?
Kyle: Awesome. Now you’ve mentioned you’ve participated in a variety of different sports. From walking to triathlon, you played a little soccer. I’m wondering if there’s one that’s your favorite, or is that kinda like picking your favorite kid?
Bonnie: It’s like picking your favorite kid, because…
Bonnie: Each sport has its own challenges. I love bicycling. I can tell that the Huntsman World Senior Games’ cycling events are truly world-class. The hill climb? It’s only a 5K, three point one miles, right? But I walked [my bike] two miles up Snow Canyon…
Bonnie: And I was okay with that, because as people were passing me, I was encouraging them. Walking…there’s the challenge of keeping the race walking form. Power walking? Can I maintain this pace [without] worrying about my [race walk] form? What I love about triathlon is that even if you never do a race, it’s one of the best ways to get in shape, and avoid those over-use injuries. One day you swim. The next day you or walk [I walked all my triathlons, by the way]. Other day you bike, and some days you swim then walk or bike and walk. I love watching soccer. So, it’s hard!
Kyle: That is awesome. I love your description of triathlon. I’m not a triathlete but I’ve done a couple of triathlons. Initially I felt like everybody else, the only triathlon is the IRONMAN, and that’s a tough one, right? But the more I looked into the more I realized there are different distances, and you mentioned the sprint is more recreational, entry-level. Triathlons really are more accessible than you might think.
Kyle: I’m not saying they’re easy. I’m not saying that they’re simple. There’s definitely a challenge to them. And that multisport aspect that’s so good for you, because it’s cross-training across the board, can also be a part of challenge as well. But if you’ve never done a triathlon before, or never even imagined that you could, I’m with Bonnie on this one. I think it more accessible than most people think it is. So take a look at it.
Bonnie: And the triathlon the Games offers is probably one of the most accessible ones for most people. You have that pool swim so now you have the walls you can push off of, or if you need to stop, you don’t feel like you’re gonna drown because you’re not out in the middle of a lake. The bike course is fairly level, considering the terrain in St. George. The run is a 5K. To me it’s one of the triathlons that’s easiest for beginners, and if you’re a speed demon, it’s the one to do. You can really just hammer it out in the pool, run, the bike.
Kyle: Now we about a minute left but I want to ask one more question. You’ve had the opportunity to compete in a variety of different places, a lot of different settings. I’m wondering if you have a favorite competition memory that just stands out that says “That was a good day for me.”
Bonnie: That had to be the first sprint triathlon I ever did in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was in September, and after training in Lake Mead with temperatures of 85 degrees in the water, and 110,000 degrees in the summer—
Bonnie: …I was able to go to Vancouver in September. It was 62 degrees air temperature, and the water was like 50-something–
Kyle: Oh that’s cold—
Bonnie: And I was a happy clam because I didn’t die of heat stroke, and I completed it in a very gorgeous setting, beautiful place. That’s the event stands out the most because it also really kicked off this whole thing, my life in this sport.
Kyle: It was the one that showed you that “Yes, you can do it, it is possible.”
Kyle: Fantastic, I love it. Well, Bonnie, congratulations on everything that you’re working on.
Bonnie: Thank you!
Kyle: Like I said at the beginning, you really do provide your own level of inspiration. In the way you approach it, and the way you tell your story, and way you connect with other people so keep doing that.
Bonnie: Oh, thank you!
Kyle: We look forward to seeing you in October, and wish you the very best between now and then.
Bonnie: Thank you so much. I’m training for it!
Kyle: Awesome! We’ll make sure to look you up.
Bonnie: That would be great!
Kyle: Okay, was that good?
Lil: Oh yeah!
Kyle: So, are you going to try a triathlon?
Lil: I’m just going to say that I never thought about it, but when she said I could walk…I could do that.
Kyle: I don’t want to put you on the spot. That’s your decision —
Kyle: But it really is more accessible than you think.
Kyle: Especially a pool swim. Anyway, something to think about for anybody out there. Another thing to think about, it’s time to register—
[Show wraps up]