Source: Sherman Publications

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Local near top in triathlon

by Ashley St. Aubin

August 10, 2011

Swim. Bike. Run.

This phrase sums up Melany Diaz's summer so far. Diaz, a Goodrich High School student trained, competed and finished her first triathlon this past weekend in Chicago. She received third place in her division of females 16 to 19 years old.

Diaz tackled the South Shore Triathlon in Lake Shore, Chicago while visiting her sister in the city this summer.

"My eldest sister Megan runs in marathons and my other sister Monica used to swim upriver so I wanted to do something equally impressive. A triathlon seemed natural since it involved both swimming and running."

Diaz credits her volunteer work this June for The Big Fish Triathlon in Hadley in persuading her to compete in the South Shore Triathlon.

"It was all the convincing I needed, its just something I always wanted to do."

The 17-year-old partook in a sprint triathlon that consisted of a 750-meter swim, a 20K bike ride, and a 5K run. Diaz is an avid runner and member of the Goodrich cross-country team. She trained for roughly three months, spending more time with biking and swimming as the weather became nicer.

"The day before the race I was a complete basket case," says a smiling Diaz. "Then on the day of the race I got so caught up with everything I didn't really have a chance to get nervous. It was so exciting."

Diaz says the overall race experience was incredible, yet crossing the finish line was a huge triumph that she couldn't stop smiling about. She even got to witness a proposal.

"Right as I crossed the finish line, the woman running behind me got proposed to by her boyfriend. It was really exciting to be part of that. I had a smile ear to ear the rest of the day."

Diaz's advice to those who are thinking about their first triathlon is to just do it!

"Don't let anyone stop you, they are so much fun, and not nearly as intimidating as you convince yourself they are. I didn't even notice how tired I was because I was having such a good time. If you want to do a triathlon, don't let anyone and most importantly yourself, talk you out of it. It's such an incredible experience. You really surprise yourself with how much you can do."

In the future, Diaz aspires to continue to do as many triathlons as possible.

"I am hooked," she laughs.

Although the season is winding down, she plans to continue to run for the cross-country team and hopes to race in several more triathlons in her lifetime. There is one thing Melany Diaz can be certain about.

"I know for sure that this wasn't my last."