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Triathlon pushes limits

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --    On any given day, Erin Creighton barely ran 1.5 miles -- never mind knowing how to swim; but all that changed in January when the family readiness manager decided to participate in her first triathlon.
   "It was an ad hoc decision I had made after reading about a triathlon scheduled to take place in Falmouth," said Erin. Unfortunately, she had missed the deadline to sign up, so she performed a web search for local area triathlons and decided to do the Whaling City Triathlon in New Bedford. "Although the decision was spontaneous, a part of it was driven by the fact that I had a goal that didn't have anything to do with anyone else but me."
   Erin completed the triathlon, which took place in July, in one hour and 32 minutes. "This was such a great opportunity for me to push myself and learn from my experiences," she said. During the triathlon, she had to run over 400 yards after the swim to get to her bike. "I wish I had spent more time practicing running in a wet suit," said Erin jokingly. "It wasn't easy running with that thing on and it probably slowed me down a just a little bit."
   The triathlon consisted of a third-mile swim, an 11.5-mile bike ride and a 3.3-mile run. When she decided to do the triathlon, Erin didn't know how to swim and had not ridden a bike in more than five years. "I guess you could say I had some 'minor' obstacles to overcome before I would be ready for the triathlon," said Erin. "There were a few occasions where I had to find motivation; where I asked myself, 'why am I waking up at 5 a.m. to jump into the ocean'"
   Setting small goals for herself and having family and friends motivating her, were essential factors in Erin being able to stick to her training schedule and completing the triathlon. "Getting ready for this triathlon was a big deal for me," said Erin. "I really appreciated my family and friends pushing and encouraging me to keep going. It made me realize how much support I have around me."
   Now that Erin has entered a new realm of exercising with the completion of her first triathlon, she hasset her sights on competing in another triathlon this month. "What can I say - I'm hooked!"