A New York woman didn’t know how to swim when she turned 53 and is now running triathlons across the country.

She shared her inspiring story at a book signing in Sarasota Saturday. 

“I woke up and I was 48 and I said to myself you know what I need to change,” said author Hilary Topper.

In her book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, Topper describes how she began her journey without knowing how to swim, bike, or run. 

"I hired a personal trainer and the trainer said to me go warm up on the treadmill.  I go downstairs and I really didn’t know how to turn it on. I looked at it and I said I don’t know what to do," said Topper. 

She then tackled her fear of the ocean and learned how to swim.

"I felt a real sense of freedom and actually today swimming is probably my favorite of the three," said Topper. 

Running the New York City Marathon was next.

"I had on my arm with a marker every mile I dedicated to somebody that I love and the last mile I dedicated to all the people who say they can’t because you can. You think you may be too old, you think you may be too heavy, you think you may not be athletic enough - it doesn’t matter. What matters is you’re out there and you’re doing it," said Topper. 

She travels across the country, sharing her story to inspire those who think they can't.

"It’s not just a book to pitch triathlons. It’s a book to get out of your wheelhouse, to do something that you never really thought you could do. I never thought I could do this," said Topper. 

As one of the quotes in her book reads, your wings already exist, all you have to do is fly.

Topper was at the Barnes and Nobles in Sarasota on Tamiami Trail Saturday. She will be in Tampa for another book signing on Monday.

Details are here:

Barnes & Noble Carrollwood located at 11802 North Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, Fl 33618 on Monday, 1/9 at 5:00 pm.