|Redbird Triathlon Club heads to Alabama for Nationals|
|Written by Julie Conrad, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 14:13|
The Illinois State Triathlon Club will be making its way to Tuscaloosa, Ala. this Saturday to compete in the three-sport competition against collegiate athletes from all over the country at the 2012 Collegiate National Championship.
Team members Kurt Erbach, Rosie Fasching, Nate Fillers, Billy Fuener, Adam Hart, Nate Holton, Katie Petravick, Zach Priestley, Jessica Ronnau, Andrew Sepiol, and Jacob White have all qualified and will be competing for ISU.
The triathletes have been training year-round for the 1500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, and 10 kilometer run. Training, along with healthy eating and hydration are critical in order to prepare for this event. Most of the athletes will train anywhere from 13 to 19 hours a week depending on where they are at in the season. Extensive amounts of training are required in each field.
“Anyone can swim, bike, or run, but training to do all three in a row requires a whole other level of focus and dedication,” Erbach said.
The team shares advice among each other and partakes in group rides that help them keep a striving pace. The team members give tips and guidance for improving their workouts as well.
“The team, in my case, has been the motivator to prepare for the event. There are some phenomenal athletes that I am surrounded by and that drive to be the fastest is huge,” Sepiol said.
Besides the physical aspect of being in top shape, maintaining focus mentally is a crucial part in succeeding at Nationals.
“I feel like triathlons are just as much physical as they are mental. If your mind is telling you no, but your feet are telling you go, more than likely you are going,” Petravick said.
“The most important thing for me is to just shut my mind off and keep moving. Your mind will try to quit on you before your body does,” Priestley said.
Many of these athletes try to come up with strategies to help gain distance against their opponents.
“I find that always looking ahead at whoever is the next person I am going to pass gets me through each event,” White said.
There are also a variety of outside factors that may weigh into the Tribirds’ performance. One of the greatest factors is the heat in Alabama compared to central Illinois at this time of year. It is much warmer in Alabama which may make it difficult for the Tribirds to adjust. Staying hydrated throughout the race will be important. Uncontrollable external factors will always be an obstacle, especially for triathletes.
“Essentially, the biggest factor for succeeding in a triathlon is to be the best overall rounded athlete,” Sepiol stated.
Some triathletes will be competing to beat a personal record, some are just trying to finish the race strong, while others have a goal of improving mental strength. Regardless of what the goal is, the Tribirds know that giving it 100 percent at Nationals is the most important thing to remember.