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Texas State trio completes grueling triathlon event

Posted by University News Service
July 8, 2009


Texas State University-San Marcos Triathlon Club members Krista Betzing, Brian Jackson and Guinevere McDaid successfully completed the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman Triathlon 70.3 on June 28, the most difficult Ironman 70.3 in the Ironman circuit.

The BSLT is an international event that draws competitors from all over the world. It  consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run, all without rest.

Betzing, Jackson and McDaid prepared months in advance, training 10 to 15 hours per week in order to condition their bodies for the heightened amount of strain and endurance that the race demands.

“You definitely have to have character to be in such a committed sport,” Betzing said. “It is a whole other beast.”

The race opens with an open water lake swim. While intense heat is traditionally a primary concern in a race of this magnitude, Betzing recalled that this year added the surprising element of rain, making the waves choppy and difficult to swim through.

Contestants exited the swim on a cement boat dock within 20 yards of a transitional area, after which they entered the bike course containing eight hills .25 to 1.2 miles in length.

“I felt like I spent half of the bike course climbing these spiraled hills,” McDaid said, “all on very rough and bumpy asphalt. I got a flat about 10 miles into it, and that was discouraging.”

The final portion of the race was the run on asphalt, with three hills approximately 300 yards to 880 yards in length. For Jackson, the run was the most intense component.

“I hurt more on that run than any run I have ever done in my life,” Jackson said. “I could actually feel every muscle in my legs rioting against me. It was unpleasant, but I‘ll likely do it again.”

In spite of the strain, each of the triathletes emphasized that it is exactly that, the daunting and grueling challenge, which makes the race so appealing.

“Many triathletes are slightly masochistic,” Jackson said. “So a four to eight hour endurance event that completely drains you physically and mentally sounds almost too good to be true.”

In such a physically and mentally draining event as the BSLT, triathletes often rely on a “race mantra” to encourage them to keep them from “bonking,” a term meaning the moment when a triathlete loses all endurance.

Betzing’s race mantra depends on the power of positive thinking and putting aside those thoughts that can slowly consume a triathlete’s confidence.

“I just remind myself that I can do this.” Betzing said. “I’ve trained hard. I’m ready,”

McDaid’s race mantra is more focused on conceptualizing completion.

“Always finish the race,” McDaid said. “There is nothing worse than quitting because things don’t go exactly the way you want them to.”

And Jackson relies on the pure challenge of it all.

“I make deals with myself,” Jackson said. “I say to myself ‘Just keep killing it.’”

However, for all three triathletes, it was the support and camaraderie that ensued from working together toward the same, distinct goal that was as rewarding as crossing the finish line.

“This race brought the three of us closer together,” McDaid said. “We struggled through the toughest race of our lives that day, and in the end we stood side by side.”