Our September Triathlete of the Month, Megan Carney, works as a financial consultant and was nominated because of her great attitude on difficult workouts and, more importantly, her enjoyment of sports despite a lot of adversity. Megan grew up outside of Richmond, VA and moved to DC to work after graduating from James Madison University in 2004. Living in DC has allowed her to participate in all sorts of area sports including basketball, soccer, softball, flag football, and kickball teams. Not to mention triathlon, of course! In the winter, Megan enjoys coaching basketball and watching football and NCAA basketball. In her down time, Megan loves living in the city and trying out as many new restaurants and coffee shops as possible.
How long have you been a member of the DC Tri Club and why did you choose DC Tri?
I first joined the DC Tri Club when I moved to DC in 2004. This year only implies the first year I paid and received a t-shirt. It took another year for me to get in gear and come to an event (training tri) and another summer passed before I officially “trained” with the club and even posted on the forum (I had lots of support for this large step)! I wanted to join a triathlon club to meet people that I could workout and race with (it is more fun to be on a team!). I chose DC Tri because is there really any other triathlon club in the area?
What motivated/inspired you to get involved in triathlon?
My sister first motivated me to do a small hometown Richmond Sprint (now it’s a big race!) in 1998 to prepare for upcoming high school cross country and basketball seasons. I enjoyed the race, but I did not think more of it than something to do during the one month I had “off” between seasons. I did the race and went back to shooting hoops, continuing to play competitive basketball through college. Unfortunately, knee injuries plagued the latter days of my career. In-between five injuries and four surgeries, I started thinking about my “retirement” sport. What to compete in when I graduated from college that will not lead to quite as many injuries (only so much titanium will fit in my knees). I was told by my surgeon to cut back (or did he say cut out?) the running so I bought my first road bike. I quickly realized I am not exactly Lance on a bike; in fact, guys often pass me on Schwinns with no clips or kids over half my age in aero helmets. Triathlons then really appealed to me because all those years of summer swim team and basketball running could minimize the bike leg. I was also motivated in triathlon because it provides forced cross training (great for those of us with enduring “nagging” injuries) allowing for many more years racing. I am a competitive person and absolutely intend to win my age group, but if it takes 30 to 50 years to accomplish, that is okay! I love that everyone runs on the same course and accomplishes an equal athletic achievement no matter the time or place.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Well, I change my favorite movie about as much as I change my running shoes. I enjoy the great sports movies such as “Hoosiers” and good all around movies like “Good Will Hunting.” My current most watched movie is “Wedding Crashers” because it is flat out hilarious and has a great quote, “Rule number 76: No excuses, play like a champion.”
How has DC Tri helped you achieve your goals?
The DC Tri Club provides not only training, but also support and camaraderie that I miss in my post college/post basketball days. My friend Katie O’Neill and I started training for our first Olympic race this summer and through DC Tri we found a small training group. Our group included two Ironman athletes, which I take a lot of pride in saying I train with Ironman women (Julie Sternberg and Erin Harden). Having training friends pushes me to get out of bed before 6:00 am and adds laughter. The Tri Club played an even bigger role when Katie encouraged me to join the MC/NW “no drop” rides led by Gary and Kathy Dean. These rides gave me the confidence to stay on my bike for longer than 30 miles (without being left behind) and the leadership of Gary and Anathea Powell encouraged me to come to more DC Tri events.
What advice can you offer other Triathletes?
Just have fun! Even if you cannot afford the fancy bike, have no idea what a power meter is, or have no intention of ever competing in an Ironman, all participants in triathlons are triathletes. I know, because all of the above applies to me and yet I wear my DC Tri Club shirt with pride. In fact, I sport the entire uniform in races!
After a long workout, what is your favorite recovery food?
Great question! I do not really have a standard recovery food, but after a hard workout, I often enjoy my favorite food, ice cream. I am not sure this helps me recover any though. I do appreciate the food involved in triathlons (and I do not mean Gu or gel). My race reports tend to read more like a post-race buffet dining review than dialogue on swimming, biking, and running. On that note, might I recommend the Philly Women’s Triathlon, they had waffles and flavored water ice afterwards!
How did your experience in competitive sports help prepare you for the unique demands of triathlon?
I love sports (all of them really) and grew up playing almost every sport my parents could enroll me in. Though my favorites included running, soccer and swimming, I encountered the most success in basketball. I had the privilege of being captain on a high school team ranked 13 in the country and playing in national tournaments. In college, I opted not to play varsity and instead played club basketball at James Madison University. The highly competitive club required tryouts and those that played did so because they truly loved basketball. It gave me the opportunity to lead the organization, which included setting up and beating some varsity programs and an East Coast League. This experience helped tremendously with triathlon because I realized the benefit of any sport is not necessarily the number of accumulated wins, but small successes and experiences along the way. I realized this in college when I decided not to play varsity basketball. Competing in sports is not about the prestige of the team, media, or sponsors, but the satisfaction of pushing yourself mentally and physically. Admittedly, triathlon humbles me because I am far from being “at the top of the game,” so to speak. However, starting this new sport after about 15 years of competitive basketball provides new challenges. I will probably never enter an Ironman or some other super ultra race, but I still challenge myself constantly in this sport.
Do you have a particular race distance that you prefer?
I am a sprint or Olympic distance athlete now. My training buddies are convincing me to go for a Half Iron next year but I find the Olympic distance still provides plenty of physical exhaustion and sweat. My goal is not necessarily to increase distance, but to go to cool races (e.g., Alcatraz someday).
Are you involved in any community programs, youth activities or clubs outside of DC Tri?
During the fall and winter I coach basketball for Arlington County. I have been coaching the thirteen-year-old girls travel basketball team for the past few years. I also coached one season for Arlington Matrix AAU program’s eight-year-old team. Anyone who talks to me realizes how much I enjoy coaching - and not just because I get to yell at refs - but to give back to the athletic community that I receive so much from. There is really nothing more rewarding than helping others enjoy and benefit from sports! So in one month, with no more races on the schedule, I will use my bike pump on the twelve basketballs I carry around in my trunk and report to the court.
Racing, training or otherwise, what is your favorite triathlon moment?
My favorite triathlon moment was finishing my first Olympic race this summer. My friend Katie and I both finished the New Jersey State Triathlon. A close second, was completing the SavageMan bike course on the MC/NW training weekend. Everyone can read Gary’s report on the weekend, but for me I think it was the hardest athletic feat of my life (longest ride ever and up hill!). Good luck to those racing this one! These are my favorite to date, but ask me again after Annapolis when I get to finish on the Jumbotron in a stadium (okay, so a little glitz and glamour is fun)!