This week, and for the beginning of second quarter, we would like to highlight one of our members Joseph “JB” Covington! Last year he completed his FIRST triathlon during Rock Hall with an Olympic distance, and already into 2018, and he has completed his second triathlon race in Smithfield, VA at the Smithfield Sprint! JB had another life milestone last year when featured on the TV show “The Voice!” with his church choir for their talents in gospel music. Even with all of life’s successes, there were also hardships. JB’s 2017 did not closeout the way he intended, and yet he still pushes through! He is such an inspiration and added value to the team! Read below on how this NY native, and Tuskegee University graduate, got into triathlons and continues his courage to keep going!
“How District Tri has impacted my life:
I have always had a zest and zeal for physical competition from football to swimming in my youth to running marathons in adulthood. A couple years ago I wanted something more challenging, something that would push me beyond the limits that marathon training had done for me. So I came up with the idea of doing triathlons. I wasn’t all to sure how to train effectively for such a sport so I did some research. After continually training I never signed up for a race. Fast forward a couple years I mentioned interest for the sport to an acquaintance and he introduced me to District Tri. Instantly I was excited to join the movement. I started going to all the workouts to just become a better athlete overall. But being a part of this team meant you had to put your money where your mouth is. When racing season opened up everyone began signing up for races. I had always talked about doing a race but never carried out the plan. Mid season when the majority of the team had completed their first race ever or first race of the season they began to call out those who had not yet accomplished the goal of completing a race. Questions began to be asked like what race do you plan on doing? When will you sign up for your first race? So i signed up officially for Rock Hall Tri Olympic distance. Trained super hard leading up to the race and conquered it! While training I noticed slight health complications but didn’t think much of them. I ended up completing the race but at the finish line a teammate noticed me bleeding from my side and I quickly attributed it to chaffing. Fast forward a few weeks found out I actually had CANCER! Everything came to a screeching holt. I ended up being hospitalized from complications. I told a few members of the team that I trusted what was going on with my health and was immediately supported. I then decided to go public with my diagnosis in order to be transparent to help others that might be dealing the same or similar situation. I then informed my entire team and from that point forward it was an overwhelming outpouring of love. This summer I had to find a way to get back to a place where my body was in shape to basic daily activities. I knew I had to have the heart of a fighter to see the progress I desired to see. By me sharing my story it gave District Tri a way to support me in ways I never knew I needed. Calls texts prayers and well wishes began to flow my way. Everyone just wanted to be a blessing in my life. Visitor after visitor teammate after teammate. The questions began to be asked to what do we have to do to get you training again? My answer was I have to get my left leg under control and back down to size. I wanted to train and workout but had a fear of being far from home by myself for medical reasons. The teams response to that was SAY NO MORE, before I could think twice Eddie brought over a bike trainer so that I could train from the comfort of my home. Now I could only do 10-15 mins initially but it was a start. I kept up with convo in our group chat with everybody talk about workouts and races. This began to ignite a fire inside of me that could not be quenched. With me being able to do more riding I started riding outside again. Then went from riding to running again. I began to share this info with the team and they encouraged me every step of the way. Eddie told me that it was in the suffering that I would grow and eventually maximize on my potential so I kept working. I decided to show a more vulnerable side of my process thru showing me at a chemo session. My point was to show that although it seems extremely bad I’m still going to find the good in all of this, smile and take it in stride. The team got me a t shirt with everyone’s signature and get well soon cards that fired my passion all the more. What many don’t realize is that had I not been exercising my recovery would have been 100x’s slower than what it has been. But what DT didn’t realize is that my passion came from them my fire came from words of encouragement, my zest zeal and drive stemmed from their competitive spirit. So I owe my healing and recovery to District Tri I am forever grateful for their love and support. For the pushing me to be the best athlete I will forever love my tribe my squad DISTRICT TRI!” – Joseph “JB” Covington
Hey what’s up! My name is Carl Alleyne and this is my first season doing triathlons. The New Jersey State Tri is my third one so I wouldn’t consider myself a beginner but I’m definitely not a seasoned tri veteran either like some of my District Tri teammates.
A District Tri teammate of mine highly suggested the New Jersey State Triathlon so I chose it among the 4 that I registered for in the beginning of the year. He dubbed it as a flat course that was very ideal for fast times. Why the heck not! When I registered, I neglected to pay attention to the “pick race packet up on race day” option. It cost $15 but would’ve saved me some gas. I camped out in Philly at a family member’s house so it would’ve been nice not to have to drive to Trenton the day before the race. I don’t think I’ll be staying at a family member’s house the day before a race again haha. Nothing bad happened but they just don’t understand that I had an endurance race the next day. They “forced” me to eat bbq food which I’m sure wasn’t optimal for a triathlon haha. Furthermore, I had to pry myself away during late night catch up talk to get some sleep.
On flip side, picking up my race day packet on Friday made Saturday race a lot more smooth. I parked my car, placed my chip around my ankle, set up my bike/bike helmet stickers and was ready to head to the transition area. As soon as you walked into the marine park, they had volunteers ready to bib # body mark you on the way to transition. Very efficient! The transition area space for each racer was pretty standard although there was over 1370 sprint racers so the transition area itself was huge!! I did notice the lower number bibs were closer to the bike out exit which was preferable for me.
Onto the race conditions…They weren’t too bad considering it was an east coast race in July. The temperature was around 90 degrees but wasn’t too humid. The water was a non-legal wetsuit temperature of 88 degrees. The designated swim warm up area gave me a feel of just how warm doing a sprint in bath tub warm water would be.
The race day vibe was pretty incredible compared to the other two triathlons I did this year. They had a jumbotron with candid video of triathletes preparing for the race. Well-positioned loud speakers kept the music blasting before and during the race. The announcer was very upbeat and funny as well. The expo sold standard tri/endurance race items but was nothing to brag about.
For the actual race, the crowd and announcer got even more excitable than pre-race. As each race wave was called to the lake, volunteers blew out that Miami Hurricane football pre-game smoke to usher you into the water. Pretty cool! The course was very well marked with orange floats every 30 meters to pave the way. My wave had 60 racers in it so I already knew to get to the side as I’m not the fastest swimmer but also not the slowest. It didn’t actually matter because as soon as the horn blew for us to begin we all clumped up together. It was definitely my toughest open water swim. No exaggeration, I either hit someone or someone hit me every two strokes. There were few times that I remember being able to get into a smooth swimming groove. I had to catch myself and pause about 3 times. Not because I got tired but because my stroke was thrown off that much from physical contact with the other swimmers. It made for a difficult swim but I had still had fun. After the 500 meter swim, you exited onto a man-made sand strip leading to the transition area. That was great because that’s better than running barefoot on wet grass in my opinion. The swim-in transition distance wasn’t far at all. However, the transition area-to-bike out distance was pretty lengthy. I guessed the race organizers sacrificed the short swim-to-transition distance for the transition-to-bike mount distance. The bike course was short (11.5 miles) and relatively flat (it contained some false flats but nothing that I would remotely even call a hill even for a beginner biker). It was mostly flat which did make for several lengths of getting into good unabated sprints. Being my third triathlon and the fact I’ve been putting in some significant “saddle” time, I could see a false flat coming up and adjust my gears accordingly. Unlike other rides I’ve been on. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much the water temp and the 90 degree heat had on water loss and didn’t drink nearly as much as I should’ve during the bike portion. All in all, I felt good with a half mile to go on the bike and thought I could pull a good run time. The bike-to-transition distance was again, quite lengthy but not overwhelming. The only non-positive thing I noticed during the whole course was the amount of turns one had to make in order to get out of the transition area and onto the actual main running course. One of the volunteers even got turned around and directed me the wrong way which I wasn’t too happy about. However, they and my cheering teammate quickly got me on the right track. The running trail went through the park and also contained a couple false flats. Being the newbie I am, I went out a little too hard on the first mile and that made even the slightest rise in elevation very noticeable. I’d say about 60-70% of the sprint run course was shaded. Awesome because I didn’t feel like I was going to overheat. The enthusiastic water station volunteers were set up all along the course. They even had a sprinkler set up half way through which was optional to run through. The finish was great as it was very well attended by volunteers and spectators cheering on everybody. The loud speaker music and confetti from the volunteers gave me that extra push to finish hard the last .35 miles. In fact, I ran at such a fast pace during that last segment, it made me wonder if I wasn’t running as hard as I could’ve been during the rest of the course. I’ll chalk it up to the race finish adrenaline haha.
As soon as you finish, they have volunteers ready to take racing chip themselves, hand you your hard earned medal and direct you to the shower/sprinkler tent. Man, the sprinkler shower was God sent!! Best part of the race hahaha. Certainly, a much need cool down and got me in a relaxed state. Everyone was very friendly as several racers I “met” along the course spoke to me afterward. The food was pretty standard, except that caramel cookie. Delicious!! Although I didn’t hit my goals, I improved in terms of time/pace on each portion. I know that was, in part, due to the great race course set up. All in all, The New Jersey State Tri was a great race experience and I would definitely recommend it as a future team race.