MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA --
An equipment specialist here was recently selected to be a member of the All-Marine Triathlon Team for the fifth consecutive year.
Robert W. Webster will go to the Armed Forces National Triathlon Championship May 2 to June 2 at the Naval Base Ventura County, Calif. Webster, who is a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps has been serving his country for the past 15 years.
He will join 11 other men and six women from throughout the Marine Corps to compete against some of the best triathletes the military has to offer. The championship will be an Olympic level triathlon, to include a .9-mile swim, a 24.8-mile bicycle ride and a 6.2-mile run.
Even though this level of competition is nothing new for Webster, he still stays focused on the challenge that awaits him, he said. Even though Webster wasn't told of his selection to the All-Marine Team until May 2, he still prepared for the possibility of being selected prior to then.
"You have two options," said Webster. You can plan as if you were going to get selected and be ready or wait for the selection and not be prepared. If you are selected, it keeps you from getting blindsided."
To prepare himself for the Armed Forces Championship, Webster recently competed in the St. Anthony's Triathlon at St. Petersburg, Fla. Webster won the military division of the St. Anthony's Triathlon and finished 27th of 2000 participants overall.
Webster's 10-year-old son Carleton also competed in the St. Anthony's Triathlon. This was his first triathlon competition.
As a result of competing here, Webster is more prepared to face the challenge of the Armed Forces Championship, he said.
"That, for, me was a tune-up race," said Webster. "I used this race to fine tune and correct certain things about my performance."
He realized improvements are still needed, such as strengthening his swimming and improving his transitions from different aspects of the triathlon. These transitions can include completing a swim and then preparing to ride the bicycle. Webster knows it is important to have smooth transitions and to stay calm.
Webster also enjoyed the chance to share the competition experience with his son.
"He seemed to have a good time," said Webster smiling. "I think he realized it was a lot more work than he thought."
As Webster looks ahead to the Armed Forces Championship, he reflects on his progress in the sport.
"As you get more experience and reach that level of competition, you become more comfortable," said Webster. "It is easier to relax."
Webster knows how important it is for him to be relaxed because he performs better when he is. Even though he is a senior member of the team, he does not take any competition for granted. He knows fresh competitors come into the sport of triathlon daily.
Last year Webster was the second Marine to finish the Armed Forces Championship Triathlon and came in second place overall. His goal for 2002 is to top last year's performance and be one of the top six men and six women to be selected for competition in the Military World Championships in Estonia July 17-22.
In 2001, the Marine Corps made a strong showing when Webster and two women triathletes were selected for the Armed Forces Team.
Webster will continue to prepare for the championship in the upcoming weeks. Whether it's tapering his workouts or changing his diet and getting more rest, he will be prepared to represent the Marine Corps and MCLB Albany in the Armed Forces Triathlon Championships.