UNC Health Talk

My First Triathlon: Rodney Reflects

Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner
Rodney Jenkins

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system. Rodney, our ‘Garner Ironman,’ is helped first-time triathlete, Theresa, achieve her goal of completing our July 14th Sprint Triathlon. 

After spending 3 weeks in Europe with 38 very energetic high school students and 3 awesome teachers, I returned home Friday, July 12 just in time for Theresa’s big day. The following morning, Theresa met Angie and me at 6:00 am for an easy 2 hour bike ride followed by a run. I had a chance to see for myself how ready she was for the following day’s triathlon. Not that I had any doubts, because due to the magic of Wi-Fi, I was able to keep in touch with Theresa, Angie and other team members the entire time I was in Europe via voice, text and Facebook apps so I knew they were keeping her busy and on schedule.

Garner Triathletes
Garner Triathletes

When our Sunday morning race day rolled around, Angie and I met Theresa in an adjacent parking lot,  and we pumped up her tires and walked our bikes and triathlon gear over to the transition area. Our earlier mock triathlon and her personal observations from volunteering for the Two Town Triathlon and the Raleigh Ironman 70.3 had her very prepared. She knew exactly how to setup her bike and run transition equipment on her own.

After receiving our pre-race instructions from the FSSeries event spokesman, we were ready to go. A large number of Theresa’s support team members were participating or volunteering so she had a lot of supporters. The Rex Garner family is a close-knit and supportive group so it came as no surprise to me that so many of us were there. There are too many names to mention but they all know who they are.

As 7:00 am rolled around, we took a few pre-race pictures and were ready to go. Angie and I were in the pool early in the race so I did not see Theresa until I was half way through my run. She yelled at me as she rode by on her bike and was smiling so I knew that things were going well. When she completed her bike ride, she made a quick transition and was on the road for her 2 mile run. The brick training worked like a charm. As she approached the finish line, many of her team members were there to enthusiastically cheer her on.

Theresa crosses the finish line of her first sprint triathlon!
Theresa crosses the finish line of her first sprint triathlon!

I hope she enjoyed the hugs because she was smothered in them as soon as she crossed the finish line. I cannot with complete certainty say how she felt but the smile said it all. She did it and she is now a triathlete!

Is her journey complete? I doubt it. As Angie and I continue to prepare for our Iron Distance Triathlon in October, guess where Theresa is? She is still training with us. Last November, I wrote a blog entitled ‘Avoiding Post Race Doldrums’ and why you should sign up for another race before you complete your upcoming race. During the course of our training, I told Theresa that Angie and I would be celebrating our October Ironman by flying to Vegas to run the November 17, Las Vegas Marathon. Guess what? Teresa is coming with us to run the half-marathon!

I don’t foresee the doldrums in Theresa’s future. One of our training groups’ favorite slogans is ‘No Pretenders, Never Surrender.’ I think that slogan fit’s Theresa very well. Congratulations Theresa. Well done my friend.