Lake Las Vegas, Nevada - It has been a long ten year racing journey for Rose (Touchin) Staciowski to the 70.3 Iron Man World Championships in Henderson, Nevada. A journey less traveled by many Native women, she may be the only Pueblo woman to make this journey.
A former 1991 high school graduate of Laguna-Acoma High School, Rose ran track and field; and competed in the 300m low hurdles, 800m run, mile relay and running long jump. So she knew about the hard work and perseverance it took to achieve her athletic goals.
In 1996 Rose moved to Claremont, Florida where she began running road races here and there, winning or finishing in the top five. It wasn’t until the year 2000 when the US National Tri Center in her hometown, posted a flyer for a “Beginners Triathlon Camp.” “I saw the flyer one day and thought, hmm this sounds like fun!” At the Tri Camp, Rose learned to swim, “Growing up in the desert there wasn’t a place to swim, so I learned proper technique to perfect my form and breathing. Running and biking are easy for me but the swimming can be tough,” she said.
In 2001, after a year of training with now best friend Leah Derman, “I didn’t have a bike, a proper bike, and Leah gave me one. She became my coach and training partner, she taught me biking techniques, how to transition from the bike to running, and we rode together,” said Rose. Leah thought she was ready to compete in her first triathlon, the Disney’s Dankskin Women’s Triathlon. “Because most of us were beginners it was chaos, they had Angel people. Angel people are those who watch us while we are swimming, they pull you from the water if they see you can’t make it, then your disqualified. This big lady panicked and used me as leverage, it scared me ’cause she wouldn’t let go of me. One of the Angel people took her as I proceeded to transition on the bike. It can be scary in the water, but after my first ‘tri’ I was addicted!” Before the race she asked, “How long would it take before someone is good?” she was told ten years. “After my first race I didn’t believe them, and it took me ten years to qualify for this race (2012 70.3 Worlds).
In between those years she competes in the Sprint Triathlons which consist of 400m Swim, 10/12 Bike and a 5k Run; Olympic Triathlons which consists of 1500m Swim, 25mi Bike and a 10k Run and the 70.3 Iron Man competitions throughout the country. Triathlon consist of 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking and half a marathon of 13.1 miles of running. To be in top form Rose competes in at least 30 races in one year. “Augusta Georgia’s Iron Man, Miami Florida’s and South Carolina’s Iron Man are my favorite ‘cause their flat or hilly,” Rose said.
2011 Miami Florida’s 70.3 Iron Man competition was a qualifying race for the 2012 70.3 Worlds competition in Henderson, Las Vegas. “Miami had a tropical storm, it was raining, with 60 mph winds but I did well on the running portion. Due to the weather I didn’t check the standings, went to the hotel and took a shower and changed my clothes. It was Bill, who checked the standings and said, ’You got second!’ “ she said. UK (United Kingdom) triathlon athlete, training partner and friend, Darrell Stopt competed in the 2010 event in Henderson and was overwhelmed with the news, and cried. “Everyone was happy for me, I made it to Worlds! “ she said smiling.
On Sept. 9 at 4 am, a hot grueling 100 degree weather day, Rose proceeded to prepare for an unforgettable race. With anticipation in the air, excitement coming from the hundreds of cheerleaders waiting to watch their love ones enter the water to begin the 70.3 miles of brutal, mind and body competition. Entering the water at Lake Las Vegas Resort, Rose waited in the water for her 35-45 age division to start swimming the 1.2 miles. Then 56 miles of bike riding up and down in the Lake Mead National Park then to transition to prepare for the 13.1 miles of running 3 loops through Paseo Verde Pkwy., S. Green Valley Pkwy., and finally to the finish.
Bill (Rose’s husband) began to get worried for his wife because she was off her time by 20 minutes, “Its not like her to be this late, I was hoping she didn’t get a flat tire,” he said. Rose finished 42nd out of the 1097 competing women, although her time ended at a 5:48, forty-three minutes off her normal time. “The heat, it was so hot, but the running is where I gained most of my time back,” she said out of breath. Her son Chris said, “She’s awesome, passionate and works hard at it.” Daughter Cora said,
“She’s a good role model, and I’m very proud of her.” Husband Bill remarks, “ She is awesome, very proud of her. I often ask her, ‘do you really want to do this?’ but is only on the hard races, sure I support her.” Mother Millie said, “She has the families support and I hope she gets gooder, I’m always proud of her! All the years of attending numerous sports events and seeing my child succeed in such an awesome event is wonderful.”
If you’d like to talk to Rose regarding her Iron Man role, you may contact her at rose_Stasiowski@yahoo.com. She also teaches cycling classes, Advanced Triple Threat, and Weigh Muscle Force military style work outs.