UNC Health Care

Reaching the Finish Line: Beach2Battleship Half-Iron Distance Triathlon

After completing several sprints in 2013 and 2014, I decided 2015 would be the year I would tackle two two half-iron distance triathlons, the Raleigh Ironman 70.3 in May and the Beach2Battleship at Wrightsville Beach in October. Knowing that I had to prepare for two triathlons with several weeks of training, as well as having plans to travel overseas,I was looking forward to a busy yet exciting year for me.

Training for the Raleigh race began at the end of January, and went really well. The day of the race approached very quickly. During the swim course, I spent too much time, barely making the cut off time. I got through 50 miles on the bike before getting pulled off the course by race officials, at that point,  time was not on my side. After 22 weeks of training, I was left with heartbreak and disappointment. However, I had no choice other than get over it and move on.

The third week of training for B2B was starting the following week which would give me a new goal to focus on. In this race, I was part of the 70.3 training group at Rex led by Rodney Jenkins. After a couple of days off, I was right back at it for a few weeks before my trip to Europe. While traveling abroad, my friend, Angie Jenkins, and I managed to get in a few outside runs along with some indoor cycling. Once we got back to the U.S., we returned to our regular training schedule.

Theresa Pearce, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner running a Triathlon
Theresa Pearce, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner running in the Beach2Battleship Triathlon

All of a sudden, race day for the Beach2Battleship arrived and the weather conditions were nearly perfect. With a little help from the ocean current, my swim was faster in this race. This allowed me to get on the bike sooner. As I transitioned into the cycling course, I looked at my Garmin and realized the bike ride would be faster too. This meant that I would make it to the run and have a chance to finish. I didn’t expect to break any speed records on my run, my main goal was to just keep moving forward to get to the finish line.

Throughout the run I saw everyone from our training group at various stages of their runs as well as spectating friends from Rex who were there cheering us on. About mile 8 or 9 it started to hit me that I was going to make it. From that point on, tears would come and go all the way to the finish line. I was so happy to finish and get that medal because it really had been a long year of training and it finally paid off.

At the end, it was a exiting day for all, as everyone on our Garner Rex team finished. After a few hugs and some food, the group waited for fellow Rex members Liz and Jason to finish the full distance race before leaving for the night.

The next morning I awoke with tears in my eyes just thinking about what happened the night before. Though I didn’t get much sleep because I was too excited, I was on cloud nine. Some of us met for breakfast to talk about the race before leaving town. When we arrived home, Rodney and Angie presented me with a 70.3 magnet for my vehicle. I can’t thank them enough for the love and support they have showed me throughout this journey and beyond.

Teresa with half Ironman decal for her car
Teresa applying her 70.3 decal: she earned it!

Our entire B2B training team is much appreciative of the support the Rex Wellness family has showed us throughout this adventure. In 2013 the plan was for Rodney to coach me to finish what was to be my first sprint and only triathlon. Coach and his wife have long since become close personal friends of mine for life and now I’m a 70.3 finisher for life!! You could say there was a slight change of plans.

I am proof that if you commit to your training and don’t give up, it is not required that you be tall, lean, or super fast to accomplish something as great as finishing a 70.3 half-iron triathlon.

Post by Theresa Pearce, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her first triathlon sprint in 2013 with Rodney Jenkins, a group exercise instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. This year, Theresa shares her experience on the challenges and successes she faced while participating in two half-iron distance triathlons.