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Stark truth: Training to be an iron woman

Staff writer

Misty Hett is pushing herself to new limits, training for an extreme event she has never done before: a triathlon.

“I’ve been running and doing 5K’s and stuff for a while,” Hett said. “I was one half of a half-marathon relay last year, but I’ve never done a triathlon before. I just wanted take my stuff to the next level and try something different.”

Hett, a Marion resident, is about four weeks into a training program event organizer Sarah Dye gave her to prepare for the race. Dye gives her a new schedule every two weeks. Each schedule features two days a week spent of running, two of biking, and two of swimming.

She’s preparing for the “Ready, Set, Tri!” event at 8 a.m. Sept. 10 at Marion County Park and Lake. It will include an open water 500-meter swim across the lake, an eight to nine mile bike ride into and out of Marion’s historic downtown, and a five-kilometer run around lake.

Hett gets up at 5:45 a.m. six days a week to train. She started running about 30 minutes, biking 15 to 30 minutes, and swimming 500 meters at USD 408 Sports and Aquatic Center, taking only 30-second breaks.

“The running has been going well, and the biking is going good, too, but it’s taken some adjustment,” Hett said. “I’m biking about an hour a day now. It builds up different muscles than what you use running. I feel it more in my upper legs.”

Friends and family have helped motivate her. Hett’s husband sometimes rides with her, her kids have encouraged her a lot, and a friend, Jennifer Frese, who Hett said also plans to compete in the triathlon, provides moral support.

“We encourage each other and make each other accountable for our workouts,” Hett said. “I’m excited she’s doing it, too.”

So far, swimming has proven most difficult.

“I’m struggling a little,” she said. “Today I was supposed to be able to swim 300 meters without stopping and then swim another 100 meters, but it didn’t go so well.

“Swimming takes your full body. I’m having trouble with my breathing, and my upper body strength isn’t where I’d like it to be.”

She has not yet trained at the lake, where open water can be more challenging.

“I’m not going to be the fastest swimmer but I feel like I can do it,” Hett said. “One fear I have though is if it’s windy that day the choppy water could make it much more difficult to swim.

“There will be enough people there in the water to make it safe, but I suppose if I have to stop, I can just flip over on my back, float there, and take a break.”

Despite aches and pains, training has been good, and the exercise seems to be getting easier, which is encouraging her.

“My ultimate goal is to finish the race without stopping,” Hett said, “but I just want to finish, and if I have to take a break that’s fine.”

More information about the triathlon is available from Dye at ps101202@hotmail.com or from Shawna Johnson at shawnajohnson315@gmail.com.

Last modified June 30, 2016

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