Triathlon Talk: The View from the Other Side (of the cones)

I have a confession…I have worked out *almost* every day since the Triathlon.
Granted…that was just about three weeks ago…but, it’s true. Watching the competitors and being part of the spirit of this event was absolutely inspiring, and I think I can speak for many of the spectators when I say that this is what makes that annual event so awesome every year. The awesomeness lies not only in what it has been and what it will be next year, but also in what it has made so many of us imagine is possible not only of ourselves, but also of others. In short, the Triathlon is really a perfect event for Pass It Along to host, because it increases our positive expectations of ourselves while opening our minds to the great heights that others are capable of reaching, too.

That Saturday morning started early. Like…3:30 a.m. early. There was just enough time between going to sleep and the alarm to question when you woke up if you had actually slept at all. But, like when waking up the morning of a big vacation or other special occasion, it didn’t seem so early after a few minutes because of the excitement that took over shortly after the alarm went off. At 4:45, upon arrival to Lake Mohawk Country Club, things were definitely interesting. I had never experienced LMCC like this before. There was a chill to the July air, and not a person in sight…kind of eerie. I wandered around to familiarize myself with the venue, watched a skunk walking up a set of stairs, and quickly realized that I was in the wrong spot. Then, I downed most of my travel mug of coffee (I was afraid I had imagined the skunk!), and got to work.
While most of the work was already done before the event day, thanks to Eleanor and her Eleanor’s Angels (my moniker for her cadre of volunteers that makes Triathlon possible each year), there was still plenty to do. Event day pickups had to happen at registration. The registration area itself needed to be created. Our Pass It Along information table needed setting up. There were snacks and drinks to be picked up (and then set up) for our small army of volunteers. The participant food table had to be set, stocked, and manned. Needless to say, we were BUSY.
Then, the triathletes started showing up, slowly at first, then faster, to create a steadily increasing tide of Spandex, neoprene and swim caps. I was put in charge of keeping spectators clear of the swim start area. I was afraid I would have to put on my tough-talk voice, but everyone I asked nicely to move elsewhere was equally nice (phew).
Then, the groups of swimmers stopped anxiously (or coldly) shivering and hopping around for a few seconds…like a calm before a storm…and the air horn blasted the start of the first swim wave. It was 7:01 am, and the race was on.
By the time the race actually started, there wasn’t too much left to do, besides man the outreach table, monitor the participant food table, hand out water to racers at water stations, and patrol the race course to make sure spectators crossed safely (actually a much harder job than it seemed, I’ll tell you!). My favorite part of the day was watching the triathletes finish the course from my last post of the day at a course crossing—the pride, exhaustion and exhilaration on each of their faces as they pushed hard through the final timing mat was a testament to the hard work they did to train for the day, and the hard work Eleanor and Eleanor’s Angels did to make the event a possibility. (Thanks, participants and volunteers!)
Run1(Check out more Triathlon photos on the PIA FB page:
While I will be finished with my AmeriCorps service before next summer, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up on next year’s course…the only question now is which side of the registration table will I be on!
Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate

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