My USMES Season in Review: from March’s Clermont ITU Pan Am Cup to October’s Army 10 Miler

October 24th, 2014

The Driveway Series

First, let’s start off by talking briefly about the team I race for: United States Military Endurance Sports (USMES). USMES was founded by military athletes for military athletes. I was proud and honored to be part of such a wonderful organization that supports athletes who aspire to compete against the nation’s best endurance athletes.  I was a member of their triathlon team but there are many other sports that fall under the organization too.  Besides promoting health and fitness amongst other military athletes through sports, the organization allows me to focus on my training and racing. Speaking of racing…

Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon

…the year started off with two ITU triathlon sprint races in Florida. I was a little overconfident, so I did not take my first race in Clermont seriously, swam conservatively and spent the rest of the day racing alone and chasing the entire field. I was not going to let that happen again, and so I swam my butt off in Sarasota the following weekend, made the main pack and was in the running for a top finish. However, due to a silly mistake, I left my shoe forms in my shoes and lost a lot of time in T2 fooling with that unexpected situation. With a lot of people running fast that day, a half a minute decided who placed in the top 10 and who placed in the top 25. I found myself in the latter and learned a very valuable lesson.

Best cycling shoes ever!

The next day, I was on plane to Tucson, AZ for the Annual USMES training camp.  I focused mainly on cycling; in fact, I rode more in one day than I usually ride during a typical week. Not surprisingly, I rediscovered that I am a solid climber and can hang with the best of USMES’ cycling team on the mountains.  I left training camp proud of my cycling, so the next few months I raced in Austin’s Driveway cycling series and participated in a few running races.

LTF Austin Triathlon

By the time May had come and gone I had raced in 3 triathlons and 1 Splash N’ Dash in Austin and California. At the beginning of May, I was feeling fast placing 4th in The Wildflower Triathlon Festival but by the end of the month I was feeling sluggish. In less than one week’s time, I raced in Austin’s Lifetime Fitness Triathlon and The Armed Forces Triathlon National Championships.

4th of July with Heather

The most important race of my year was the Armed Forces Triathlon National Championships and it was unfortunately at the end of the month during the time I was feeling sluggish. My swimming was solid, but I did not have the biking legs I needed so I was dropped from the bike pack. I ran okay and finished 6th overall.  Good finish, but being the defending champion, I expected much more from myself.  Nevertheless, I learned my lesson not to race two races in one week!

Hanging with my buddy Nick "Race" Chase

Needing a little summer breather, I took June and July to rest and recover, regain my fire, and get ready for the fall season.  I did one triathlon, a few more driveway series races and a 5k road race. I ran the fastest I have ever run for that distance – 14:42. After a personal let down in California at the military championships, I felt the need to prove to myself that I was still the athlete that won the year before.

Got engaged halfway through the year!

A winning streak was good enough to do just that. The streak started at Rev3 Williamsburg in June, followed by some races that were  part of the Texas Tri Series, put on by Jack & Adams. This included: Jack’s Generic Tri in August, TriRock Austin in early September and the Kerrville Triathlon later that month.

Always on the hunt for the perfect donuts...

In August, I raced in an ITU sprint triathlon in British Colombia, Canada where I placed 13th. I also placed 5th overall in an 8k road race in Cedar Park, TX, taking home in a personal best of 24:42.

Rev3 Williamsburg

Finally, I ended my racing season with the Army 10 Miler in Washington, D.C.  With much improvement in my running this year from beginning to end, I placed 46th overall, ran a personal best of 53:17 and helped Fort Hood place 2nd overall in Active Duty Men’s team division. I had the same problem as I did in 2012: I ran out of gas toward the end of the run and was unable to hold my pace for the last two miles, briefly missing a sub 53.

TriRock Austin

NONETHELESS, let’s not forget the most important event of my year (and so far in my life) has yet to occur – October 26th, my wedding to my soon-to-be wife, Heather Christina [Cox] Sterghos in Austin, TX.

Army 10 Miler with a brother from another mother: Justin Marburger

This year has been incredible: we’re having our wedding, we bought a house, got two new cars, Heather got a job she loves at the Department of Agriculture and I am almost done with my first Army Command at Fort Hood, TX.  In total I have raced 22 times this year including 10 triathlons, and 12 single and double sporting events.

Together Forever w/ Heather

I am fortunate and honored to represent the US Army and race for the US Military Elite Triathlon Team, part of US Military Endurance Sports. Racing and training is effortless and made possible by the following USMES sponsors: BoeingSnappleScottSRAMPrimalAmerican ClassicOsmo Nutrition,Honey Stinger,HeadsweatsRudy ProjectsXterra Wetsuits Orange Seal CyclingKlean Athlete and Schwalbe. I’m thankful to be serviced by and involved with my local bike shop, Jack and Adams Bikes. Team Sterghos also includes VasaSable Water Optics, and Total Immersion. I’m coached and trained by Tim Crowley of TC2 coaching. I eat and promote a plant-based diet for maximum performance and recovery. Finally and most importantly, at the end of the day my heart, mind, body and soul belongs to my wife Heather.