Mighty Tri Girls triathlon training group swims around Key West in relay
An eight-hour day at work or school sometimes can seem like an eternity. Imagine spending that much time struggling to make headway while swimming more than a dozen miles in the Super Moon-enhanced surf around Key West.
That's precisely what a group of five women combined to do in June when they participated in the Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West.
The women, all members of the Mighty Tri Girls triathlon training group, completed the 12.5-mile relay around the southernmost tip of the continental United States on June 22 in 7 hours, 55 minutes and 33 seconds.
Mary Kay Biddle of New Florence swam in the event last year as part of a four-person relay and led the charge again in 2013.
“Swimming has always been the most difficult portion (of a triathlon) for me,” Biddle said. “It wasn't difficult for me physically. I was capable of swimming the distances, but mentally I just had trouble when I got in the water. It was just big and scary. I'm just stubborn enough that I won't let my head defeat me. And so if I was having trouble swimming in a lake, well, then let's try swimming in an ocean.”
After a minor panic attack on hitting the water for the first time in last year's event, Biddle enjoyed her experience enough to start planning a return trip.
“When I got done the first year, all I could think about was how powerful an event it was for me, and how big it would be for me to share that with some of these other women I've been friends with all along,” she said. “... In order for me to make them feel committed, I had to be over-committed myself. I had to make sure I knew I was going.”
Her enthusiasm persuaded Shirley Hauser of Latrobe, Debra Ward of Ligonier and Greensburg residents Kate Charley and Alexis Dillon to participate for the first time.
Biddle swam the first 30-minute shift of the relay while the rest of the team waited for her on a boat that carried the other four team members. After their initial 30-minute swims, the women cycled in and out of the water at 10-minute intervals.
“And thank goodness,” Hauser said. “Because with the water the way it was, I may not have gotten anywhere.”
Tough tides aside, the ladies had a blast.
“We had a great time,” Hauser said. “We didn't go there thinking that we would win. We knew that. We went just to say, ‘We can do this. Let's see if we can do this.' We had a pretty good time.”
And while Biddle is itching for another swim around Key West, the other swimmers in the group are not quite ready to commit to a repeat performance.
“That's to be decided,” Hauser said. “... It's like having a baby. You're not ready to have (another) one for a while. I said I'd have to think about it.”
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.