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Friday, September 26, 2014

The "Nephew #268" Story

Foreword:  Carol and I visited with my brother Steve and sister-in-law Kathy during their fall vacation at Stone Harbor, NJ.  Only stayed for a few days, but had a wonderful time reminiscing about our family vacations when we were kids.  Also visiting with Steve and Kathy were their children, Kelly and Matt and their spouses as well as their three grandkids.


Atlantic City photo taken from the website of the AC Triathlon.

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting next to my nephew, Matt, asking him about his new tattoo.  Found out that the large black #29 on his upper right arm was actually placed on his arm by an official of the Atlantic City Triathlon and is his age.  He was going to compete the following day in the competition and the starting time for the first event, the one mile swim, is determined by your age.  Matt and I, as well as Carol, my brother and sister-in-law and Matt’s wife Katie as well as his sister and her family, are gathered in a rental along the Jersey coast in Stone Harbor.  My brother and his wife, Steve and Kathy, rented the beautiful home about 50 feet from the beach and invited their family as well as Carol and myself to stay for a few days with them.  Tomorrow Matt and Katie will have to rise about 4:00 am to make the trip up the coast to Atlantic City for the 6:30 am starting time for the first leg of the race, the swim. 
Matt and Katie at an earlier race at the shore.
Matt has been competing in triathlons for over seven years now and loves the competition, camaraderie and the feeling of achievement that he gets from pushing his body to it’s physical limits.  His toughest physical challenge has been in the Atlantic City Iron Man competition where he had to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. He trained for about six months in order to complete this grueling challenge. This past year he finished the race in 13 hours and 44 minutes.  The race he is entering today in Atlantic City features the one mile swim in the bay to the west of the city, a 20 mile bike ride along the Atlantic City Parkway and a 5 mile run on the historic Atlantic City Boardwalk.  1,300 people registered for the event with 477 entered in the full triathlon while the rest are entered in relays or a shorter course. 
Matt is the 5th from the right preparing for the swim.
When he and Katie arri
ved in AC the air tempera- ture was in the low 50s and the water tempera- ture was in the low 70s.  Participants of all ages from the 20s to the 70s lined up for the starting horn to sound.  Today Matt, competitor #268,  placed 203rd in the swim (his strongest event), 204 in the biking and 381 in the run.  Matt is in fantastic shape and this proved to his advantage by finishing in the top half in two of his three events.  He paid $100 to enter the triathlon and his reward was a neat t-shirt, a medal and the knowledge that he was able to complete this grueling event.  I thanked him for carrying the family name in his pursuits for there is no way I could or would ever be able to compete at the level that he does.  A true hero to the family!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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