Early Risers: Noga Ruttenberg is Cruising by Dawn

Though only 5’3”, Noga Ruttenberg is hard to miss. You may have seen the petite 38-year-old pounding the pavement, “dancing” on the pedals of her Guru Tri Bike at 20 mph, or doing timed intervals in the Rye Y pool with determination. When you see her and shout “hello”, her steely focus turns into a…

Published November 8, 2011 6:56 PM
3 min read

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nogathumbThough only 5’3”, Noga Ruttenberg is hard to miss. You may have seen the petite 38-year-old pounding the pavement, “dancing” on the pedals of her Guru Tri Bike at 20 mph, or doing timed intervals in the Rye Y pool with determination. When you see her and shout “hello”, her steely focus turns into a huge smile and wave.

 

By Nancy J. Rieger

Though only 5’3”, Noga Ruttenberg is hard to miss. You may have seen the petite 38-year-old pounding the pavement, “dancing” on the pedals of her Guru Tri Bike at 20 mph, or doing timed intervals in the Rye Y pool with determination. When you see her and shout “hello”, her steely focus turns into a huge smile and wave.

nogainsideHer training often begins at 5 a.m., as she puts in 14 to 26 hours a week. Weather is never a deterrent. Like a good mailman, Ruttenberg rarely misses a day. By the time most of us are sitting down to have our first cup of coffee, she’s finished her training.

 

Before triathlon life, she earned a B.S. in Economics at Middlebury College, where she also competed on the swim team, and an M.B.A. from NYU. Ruttenberg started out as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse and Deloitte Consulting for six years and then moved on to Operations and Product Development at American Express for three years.  

 

In May 2001, she got her first glimpse into the Triathlon world, while watching her brother complete his first Ironman. Six years later, when she and her family were at Playland, she stumbled upon the finishers at the Westchester Triathlon and the idea of competing in a triathlon began to germinate. With some reservation, she signed up for her first sprint triathlon. She arrived with trepidation at the 5:30 a.m. swim start, but her first official sprint triathlon was tempered, as the swim portion was cancelled due to thunder and lightning.

 

Harriman was her first foray into the tri world, and she placed second in her age group. She then followed someone’s basic training plan and tried to figure out how to best execute her goal — which was simply to finish her next race. When she finally competed in the Jarden Westchester Triathlon the following fall, she placed again, this time third in her age group. She continued to race and signed up for even longer distance races. This time, however, she hired a coach, Julio German.

 

While for many an Ironman distance race (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-run) is daunting, Ruttenberg says, “Just getting to the starting line is an accomplishment!” With the help of her coach, reading books on mental preparedness, proper nutrition, and the fortitude to stick with it, she was able to attain her dream – to compete in The World Championships in Kona.

 

After completing Ironman Lake Placid in July, with a time of 10:41, she qualified to compete in Kona, with a time of 10:56. Facing extremely hot temperatures, moderate wind gusts, running on pavements that radiated 103 degrees, and riding on remote highways through lava fields, Ruttenberg now has bragging rights for the rest of her life.

 

These days, when Nona Ruttenberg steps up for the start of a race, you’re likely to see her proud husband, Devon, children Ryder and Sage, and parents, Rachel and Joe Peled, cheering on the sidelines.

 

She’s now a certified spin instructor, a level-3 USA cycling coach, and level 1USAT triathlon coach. If you’re hoping to place in the next triathlon, you may want to give her a call.

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