Timm trains with will of iron

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 24, 1999

At one time, Ashley Timm hated to run. Now the 16-year-old Natchezian loves it, especially when it comes after a long bicycle ride and swim. Timm entered her first triathlon last year and surprised everyone by coming in third in her 15-19 women’s group.

Timm began swimming at the age of nine.

&uot;It’s a fun activity and Tammy Whittington really helped me,&uot; said Timm, who is still a member of the Natchez Swim Team. &uot;I’m an average swimmer. I can do long distances.&uot;

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Next came the bike riding part.

&uot;At this time last year I was in a spinning class at MainStream Fitness with Betty Lou Smith and she talked me into riding bikes,&uot; Timm said. &uot;I got into it and my parents got me a road bike last Christmas. I started riding a lot in February when it wasn’t so cold.&uot;

With swimming and cycling down, running was the only thing left to compete in a triathlon.

&uot;I really didn’t want to run, but last summer I started,&uot; she said.

Timm’s first triathlon was in Sardis Lake last August. The triathlon consisted of an 800-meter swim, 18-mile bike ride and four-mile run. Each triathlon has different lengths.

&uot;The bike trail was a two-mile track and I think I hit everything that was marked in orange that I wasn’t supposed to hit,&uot; Timm said. &uot;But I loved it. It really gets your adrenaline pumping.&uot;

Timm, the daughter of Dr. David and Julie Timm, admits her training regimen is tough.

&uot;I ride with a large group because it’s not safe to ride by yourself,&uot; she said.

Timm swims at the senior citizens building with the swim team.

&uot;I knew I needed to do more than 800 meters, so I would work out four days a week, sometimes twice a day.&uot;

Timm would average 25-30 miles on her bike three times a week.

&uot;When I first started running it would be about five miles,&uot; she said. &uot;I&160;wasn’t necessarily going for speed. The most important thing is technique. If you can get your technique down in all three, the speed will come.&uot;

Timm finished second in a region meet in Lake Charles, La., last September She had a time of one hour and 48 minutes over a 1,000-meter swim, 20-mile bike race and 3.6-mile run.

&uot;The hardest part of training is doing everything for so long,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s tough doing it by yourself and keeping yourself motivated.&uot;

Timm has always been athletic. The 11th-grader is home schooled, so team sports were out of the question.

&uot;I’ve always loved to exercise and I never really got into sports like softball or tennis,&uot; she said. &uot;My favorite sport is swimming.&uot;

Timm said the triathlon is tough, but not as tough as she thought it would be.

&uot;Once I got off the bike, my legs felt like lead,&uot; she said. &uot;But I just kept on going. You use different muscles for each event. The main thing I do when I train is to try and keep my heart rate up.&uot;

Timm said she puts more in her swimming and cycling because she is not a strong runner.

&uot;I try to be the first out of the water,&uot; she said.

Timm took her athleticism to a new high last week, winning the balloon biathlon with pilot Bruce Bassey.

&uot;Curtis (Moroney) called and asked if I would like to do it, and I said, ‘sure,’&uot; she said. &uot;That was my first time up in a balloon and it was amazing. Everything looked so different.&uot;

Bussey had a close toss with his bean bag and Timm raced back 17 miles on the levee across the brige to the Natchez Visitors and Reception Center in enough time for the pair to claim first place.

&uot;I knew he had a good toss, so I didn’t want anyone to pull away from me,&uot; she said. &uot;I was able to stay with the front-runners.&uot;

Timm, the oldest of six children, said she would like to be a doctor.

She plans on entering the River City Classic 10K run in February and the Natchez Bicycle Classic next summer. And, of course, continue her triathlon schedule.

&uot;I even love running now,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;I just want to be the best I can be in everything I do.&uot;