Fort Lewis College professor Steve Stovall planned to scarf down some unusual fare Saturday night.
After finishing his eighth consecutive Durango Parks and Recreation Triathlon on a warm and sunny Saturday morning at the recreation center, the 71-year-old Stovall had one two-course meal in mind:
Its beer and ibuprofen for dinner (Saturday night)! this years oldest competitor shouted in the parking lot.
Stovall, who teaches marketing in FLCs College of Business, has taken on the annual local triathlon every year since missing the first because of surgery. Along with about 80 people, Stovall pushed himself through the sprint triathlons 500-yard swim, 13-mile road bike and five-kilometer run a progression that goes from worse to good for Stovall, a self-labelled runner.
He finished Durangos in 1 hour, 34 minutes, 19 seconds.
Im feeling all my 71 years, Stovall said, mustache bristling with burdened breathing at the finish.
Oh man, I feel like Im 72 maybe.
Hey, to be 71 and to be able to say youre a triathlete, hey, Ill take it.
But if its a little-bit of can-do ego that pushes Stovall through the paces, Durangos Laura Shelton upped the ante Saturday and she did it for her kids.
With two daughters working through long-haul rehabilitation from damaging accidents and a baby born premature by emergency delivery two years ago, the Shelton family is no stranger to tragedy.
But its no stranger to perserverence, either, Shelton said, and watching her children labor through their personal challenges inspired her to take on one of her own: her first triathlon.
The power of perserverence, Shelton, a former DHS swimmer and FLC alumnus, said. I watched my kids persevere.
Im just doing it for my kids, she said before hopping into the recreation center pool.
Shelton, 33, finished in 1:49.25.
Just more than a half-hour earlier, it was 30-year-old Meagan Johnson who won the womens race, clocking a time of 1:11.26.
A local, this year was Johnsons first Durango Parks and Recreation Triathlon, but she said it wont be her last.
The combination of the competition and vocal, supportive community made the race fun, she said, and good training for her upcoming big event: Iroman Cozumel.
Just the transitions (between stages) and finding your flow is super important, Johnson said.
Lauren Taylor, last years winner, was second in 1:12.36, followed by Nicole Stone at 1:15.09.
Casey Taylor, Laurens sister, was fourth in 1:15.33 to meet their Taylor-sister, top-10 goal.
I couldnt make my goal first (place) because last year was ridiculous, Lauren Taylor said before Casey cruised in. Its just a fun goal to have.
Casey Taylor said it wasnt too hard to hit, either.
It just goes fast because youre (shifting) from one thing to the next, Casey Taylor said.
Mens winner Rob Gram made the most of those transitions, flying barefoot into the staging area to transition from cycling to running to shave off some time.
It sounds stupid, but a few seconds here or there sometimes makes the difference, Gram said.
On Saturday, the seconds didnt matter much for Gram, who won in 1:03.11, more than two minutes ahead of second place Graham Robinson, who finished in 1:05.22.
Paul Sanders was third in 1:10.99.
Saturdays race was the fourth triathlon of the summer for Gram, who said he likes the triathlon format because its not just a swimming race ... its nice, it evens it all out depending on which event is any given competitors forte.
And with dozens of friends and family crowding the pool edges and fences around the course, Shelton said the community should encourage anyone to give the short triathlon a try.
I think a lot of people are intimidated that you have to be really good at it, Shelton said.
But if they were to come and watch, theyd realize its just a good community workout.