In it for the long run

Sophomore spends her summer training for triathlons


photo courtesy of Emily Gilbert

Flying past the competitors to take the lead sophomore Emily Gilbert races to the finish line in hopes of placing first. After making it through a 750-meter swim Gilbert hops on her bike and takes the lead in her final race of the summer in Iowa. ”You have to be really careful and pay close attention to where you’re going,” Gilbert said, “If you wipe out it could also affect the people behind you and seriously injure them.”

Kaden Roth, Staff Reporter

Endless hours in the sun may seem appealing to some high school students during the summer, but when those hours are spent running, biking and swimming, the idea can lose its appeal to some, but not all.

Sophomore Emily Gilbert spent the summer training tirelessly for her triathlon races located in Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington State, and Iowa. Gilbert joined Z3, a local triathlon team based out of Des Moines, around two or three years ago. Before joining, she had been competing in triathlons with her sisters non-competitively since elementary school.

“Competing with a team is a lot different than what I was used to,” Gilbert said. “It has allowed me to make great friendships and connect with other people that share the same love for the sport that I do.”

As Gilbert got older, she wanted to take her love for the sport to the next level. By joining Z3 she was entered into a more competitive atmosphere with competitors around the same age. Since joining, she has been put on a vigorous training regime that she followed throughout the summer.

Gilbert trains for a total of 18 hours a week starting with a three-mile run followed by a 20 to 50-mile bike ride and finishing with a two-mile swim. Along with that daily routine, Gilbert also rotates through other muscle-building exercises like underwater weights or pull-ups.

“Although the training is hard on my body it took some getting used to,” Gilbert said, “It is really rewarding to see the results and improvements during races.”

On top of training for her triathlon races, Gilbert is also involved in several school sports. Those sports include cross country, swimming, diving and track. She is also involved in the high school symphony orchestra.

Gilbert competed in a total of four races over the summer, starting in Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington State, and finishing in Iowa. Normally the races consist of swimming 750 meters, biking 12.4 miles and finally running a 5k.

Since turning 15 last year, Gilbert was able to move into an older girls division. Because she was slightly younger than most of the girls, it took some adapting to catch up with them. The rules also changed so because of this it took some time for Gilbert to adapt and start competing to the best of her ability.

Although the transition from light-hearted racing to competitive triathlons wasn’t easy, Gilbert pushed herself to become a better athlete which helped her grow as a person. The hard work and dedication she puts into her training have taught her important lessons she can incorporate into her life.