TAMPA - Jill Kralovanec was watching the time slip away. A mother of two, she was becoming a little bit bored with her running routine.
She's not bored anymore. A longtime runner, she decided to expand her life. Those runs she took for fun became longer and led to her short run in a contest in St. Petersburg.
She and her husband noticed that some of her new friends also were competing in triathlons, long and grueling races that include swimming, biking and running.
Seemed like a great idea at the time, except for one thing: She had never been a competitive swimmer.
So eventually she learned to compete in swimming and now it's her best event.
She got her bike, entered her first mini triathlon and beat all other first-timers after swimming a half-mile, biking for 12, then running a 5K.
"I didn't know what to expect," Kralovanec said. "I was as surprised as anyone."
With her kids in school now, Kralovanec has more time to practice. She is up long before sunrise and has learned to push herself beyond her means. Later, in August, she will be running her 100th career triathlon, this one a full triathlon. And that might not be the biggest one she runs all year. She also wants to do the Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, which determines the best in the world.
She has had plenty of help along the way. She recently got her first sponsor, Team Refuel, and one of her teammates is former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward.
She also gets plenty of help from her family. Her son and daughter have both run triathlons and her husband refers to his wife as "a freak of nature."
At 46, Kralovanec said she knows she can't compete with the superstars, but she can compete in her age range, and won't stop anytime soon.