Orchestrating a New Track
“Carrie Holzman-Little - you are an Ironman!” Those are the words every athlete wants to hear at the end of a 13-hour triathlon - after a 2.5-mile swim, 114-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon. I did my first race two weeks shy of my 50th birthday, and 11 years later at the age of 61, I am still racing and still smiling.
But that hasn't always been the case. I am a professionally trained classical violist who has spent the last 30 years freelancing in Los Angeles as a studio musician, performing live soundtracks for movies, television, albums and video games. As I headed to the dreaded Big 5-0, I noticed that I was quickly being “aged out” of my studio work.
My husband and I (the handsome cellist in the blue shirt above) were raising two teenagers, but I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. Finding the sport of triathlon opened a whole new world for me - I was in charge of my own journey. I realized that through my hard work I was able to improve my skills and fitness and place at the top of my age group. I have done countless small races, 10 half-Ironman distance races (70.3 miles total), and am proud to be the survivor of three full Ironman races (140 miles total).
In the same way, I’ve pursued my musical career down several different tracks. While I continue to hold positions as Assistant Principal Viola of the Pasadena Symphony and a member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Crown City String Quartet, I am now on the faculty of the Verdugo Young Musician’s Association and I run a private teaching studio.
I’m also the Personnel Manager for the Long Beach Symphony and Orchestra Santa Monica and I contract with six churches where I play and organize and manage the musicians.
Triathlon life has given me a sense of validation and confidence that I didn’t have before. Even as I grow older I know I can get better and stronger, and no one can take that from me. I am proud to be a 61-year-old age grouper. I have enjoyed meeting other women of all ages who enjoy this crazy sport like I do. Come cold water, wind, rain, or heat… at the end you can always find something to smile about.
This past September, I qualified for the Boston Marathon and was placed on the race roster for this coming April 16. I am so excited to be a part of the world’s oldest and most iconic marathon race! I will also be doing both the half-Ironman distance and full-Ironman distance races this summer at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec, Canada.
Now when I look up at a huge video screen, it’s not to play along to a movie score, it’s to see myself running across the finish line as they announce my name and give me my Ironman medal, tee-shirt and hat. All in a day’s work!