By Dana MacCorquodale
I arrived at the Wavy TV studio a bit early to shoot a segment on the Hampton Roads Show about the In and Out Express Care Triathlon Racing Team. I had invited two of our phenomenal sponsored triathletes to join me on the show. Christopher Stock was unable to attend but our female triathlete Carolyn Rader Menker agreed to be on the show. I’d not had the pleasure of meeting her yet. As I chatted with the receptionist, in strode a tall, confident blonde with the broad shoulders of a lifelong competitive swimmer. I knew it was her before she spoke. We quickly exchanged pleasantries then had a seat in the Green room to wait. I felt like I had known Carolyn for years.
There is a familiarity between swimmers. A camaraderie forged by concrete swimming pools, chlorinated water, hours swimming together and swim meets too numerous to count. Some of my best memories are of my friend, Barb, when we swam on the Joliet Jets Swim Team. She was my best friend; my swimming partner in crime.
Our parents were friends; her dad, Norm, being a running buddy of my Mom and Dad. Barb’s mom Shirley was a joy to be around – happy, funny and went above and beyond treating Barb’s friends like her own. She was the first person to introduce me to chocolate chip pancakes. Need I say more? She often drove us to swim practice and I remember vividly this game she used to play when driving. As we approached a stop light, she would start talking to the light, telling it to turn, literally it seemed, trying to will the light to turn before we reached it. I know that’s going to sound very bazaar but quite often by the time we reached the light, it would turn. And Shirley would laugh with glee.
Barb and I were very close and still stay in contact today. She will forever be my bestie even though life has forced a bit of distance between us. I digress…
Sitting in the green room with Carolyn, conversation flowed easily. I am a very introverted person, suited to swimming for hours at a time with my face in the pool. But sitting with Carolyn I felt as if I had known her for years. We chatted about her triathlon training, swim background and dedication to her awesome family. She is a mom deeply engaged with her children. I saw in a recent Facebook post that she recently baked 6 dozen cupcakes for one of her kids. Her training time is often cut short due to soccer practices, work and home; and she loves it. The posts in which she writes about her kids are ones of pure love and pride in her children’s accomplishments.
Carolyn has too many commendations to count. She has been competing for most of her life and was an All-American swimmer and competitor at the 2000 Olympic Trials. Like many collegiate swimmers, swimming in college burnt her out. It was years before she went to a pool to swim. She still rarely gets to the pool, crushing the swim in her races with good stroke mechanics, a feel for the water and raw talent.
This uber-talented swimmer manages to dominate the age group triathlon scene in Hampton Roads. She told me most weeks, she’s lucky to get in 5 hours of training. That is unheard of in the triathlon world. Ironman triathletes often train 20-25 hours a week. She excels on minimal training. That speaks volumes about her talent. It is also an example of the less is more philosophy that is starting to take hold in sport. Gone are the days of 100+ mile running weeks, 60k swimming weeks, and 800+ miles on the bike. Those high mileage weeks often lead to lifelong injuries and athletes are training smarter, not harder. Carolyn is on the cusp of a triathlon movement.
She has had a fantastic year of racing for the In and Out Express Care Racing Team. Winning her age group in most races and finishing top 3 overall in others. We are thrilled to have such an exceptional woman represent us. Her passion, dedication and character represent everything that In and Out Express Care stands for.
We are looking for an additional 2 triathletes to sponsor for next year. If you’re FAST and interested, please email DanaM@InAndOutExpressCare.com and let me know your sports background. Maybe you will be the next to be invited to join the In and Out Express Care Racing Team!
Dana MacCorquodale is Executive Clinical Director, Health & Lifestyle Specialist at Hawaii Blue Medical Aesthetics in Virginia Beach. She is also a top 10% Ironman Finisher, marathon open water swimmer & ultra runner.