St. Mary’s Triathlon

St. Mary’s Triathlon


My first Triathlon for the year took place on June 17th in St. Mary’s, Maryland! This was the first annual St. Mary’s Triathlon located in a former colonial town that was Maryland’s first colonial settlement and capital. This race sold out pretty early, so I was lucky to get a spot when I signed up for the waiting list!

Over 600 athletes competed in this race for both the international and sprint triathlon (a sprint is half the distance of the international).

Housing was very affordable for this race and I was able to get a dorm room for the night for only $35 which made the location and price very convenient.

The race started at 8:30am. It has been about a year since my last triathlon so I was a little scatterbrained that morning and kept forgetting things. I left my towel in my car and forgot to get my race tracker, then decided to put my phone back in my car and so on. I felt like I had already burned off my breakfast running back and forth trying to get ready for this race. I felt like such an anxious worry wart and boy were my nerves getting to me.

The swim took place along St. Mary’s College waterfront along the St. Mary’s River. The swim portion always stresses me out since I don’t swim very often and usually bike and run more. Man, were we in for a treat… 

I am always nervous before a start of a race. It has been about a year since my last triathlon so my thoughts were really getting to me. As I walked up to the dock to prepare for my swim, I looked down to notice dozens of jellyfish in the water below. My heart skipped a beat as my thoughts only started to race more. I had never been stung by a jellyfish before so I paced up and down the dock trying to find the least amount of jellyfish in the water. I only had a couple minutes until the start of my race. I said to myself, “You’ve got this Ashley, you’re strong!” so I took a deep breath and jumped. The water was a nice warm temperature, but as I waded in the water waiting for the start of the race, I could feel the jellyfish wrapping around my legs and arms. Once the race finally started, it only got worse from there. A horrific moment I won’t ever forget. It took me everything to not freak out in the water. I could feel the jellyfish in every stroke I took. My neck and shoulders went numb during the swim and I could just feel the stings and tentacles on my legs, arms and back. They even got my face! A girl next to me freaked out and got pulled out of the water, but so many others continued to press on so I knew I could too. The power of your thoughts can make the biggest difference in the world. Despite everything trying to bring me down I had the power to convince myself that I could get through this and I did just that. Remember “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do” Shout out to @roadrunnersports for hooking me up with these awesome spandex shorts for me to race in! 😆
#triathlon #swimbikerun #trilife #triathlete

A post shared by Ashley Barlow (@adventurewith_ashley) on

After the swim, my body was still tingling all over with jellyfish stings.

The transition station was a bit of a jog away and I was so thankful to be out of the water from the stinging jellyfish. 
After the swim came the bike ride!I transitioned as best I could and was still a bit overwhelmed from the jellyfish. Thankfully they had people ready with vinegar to spray us so I made sure to get some to help with the stinging. 

Now to bike 14 miles!

The bike ride was a nice loop that was mostly flat. The roads weren’t closed, but we were mostly on large shoulders. The only thing that really bothered me was the jellyfish stings on my skin and my right toe from cutting my foot open on an oyster shell. Other than that it was a smooth ride!


After the bike ride, I was transitioning to get ready for the run when my hair tie broke! Thankfully someone heard my distress and was able to offer me one! It was pretty hot and humid out and I needed to tie my hair back before the run.

The last stretch of the race was a 5k run. This run was an out and back course which was about half shaded and half in the sun. It was very hot and humid out and I remember just counting down the distance until the finish. I threw some water on my face and head during the run to help cool off. My body had been through so much that it was ready to be done.

After a 750m swim, 14 mile bike ride and 5k run, I was done! boy was I pooped! I was glad they had cold wash cloths to help cool us off because I was exhausted!

I finished the race in 1:47:49. I couldn’t believe what I just went through with the jellyfish and told myself I don’t ever want to have to swim in that ever again. Definitely an experience I won’t ever forget, but a nice accomplishment to say the least!

Here’s hoping to no Jellyfish in the next one!


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