May, 2003 Fit to be Tied Column
From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi
Triathletes Like Sasha Melito Represent Spirit of Ordinary Mortals
Its competitors like Sasha Melito that represent the true spirit of the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon.
Sure, the event draws its share of its share of superstars with their ultra-light titanium frames who can fly up the west side of McCullough Road in Pueblo West on the 12-mile bike course. It also has some swimmers who make the 525-meter swim seem like a quick sprint and runners who can tame the difficult and hilly three-mile running course rather than vice-versa.
But the Ordinary Mortals was created to cater to the everyday athlete looking for a new experience and a reasonable challenge in a do-able distance. In this triathlon, mountain bikes are common, swimmers seeded by times can compete with others of like ability and first-timers are probably more the rule than the exception.
Sasha Melito fits perfectly into this mold.
The 30-year-old Pueblo massage therapist and yoga instructor (certified in both) has never competed in a road or bike race or swam in competition. She got started in running by borrowing an old pair of shoes from a friend, Kathy Stommel, who also lent her a road bike recently for training.
But next Saturday (May 17), Sasha will be in the starting field in the womens division of the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon at the Pueblo Regional Center in Pueblo West. And she wont be there to prove anything to anyone but herself.
Its a personal thing for me, Melito said of her reason for entering. I dont want to compete against anyone or even against myself. I just want to complete it. Its all about follow through for me.
Although on the surface Melito wouldnt appear to have much of a background for triathloning, her lifestyle actually prepared her very well to get into the training mode of a multi-sport athlete. In fact, she realized late in her high school years at Pueblo East (1991 graduate) that she had some natural athletic talent, and that ability has carried over into her adult life.
While leading somewhat of a nomadic life during her 20s, Sasha got plenty of physical exercise along the way. Although much of this period was devoted to a singing and songwriting career, she was an avid snowboarder, pumped some iron while living in Alaska and commuted six miles on her mountain bike to a job in which she helped manage a spa outside Boulder.
But it was after the birth of her son, Elijah, who is now 4, that Sasha began thinking seriously about making a lifelong commitment to being fit. In the past year, shes taken that thinking to a proactive mode, especially after fatiguing fast while mountain hiking last year.
I realized then that I needed to get in better shape, Melito explained.
She has become a regular at the YMCA of Pueblo in the noon to 2 p.m. time frame, when she swims laps, rides the stationary bikes and runs on the treadmill. A natural biker, she said she likes to ride hard when training outdoors, and she has gotten quite fond of running, even though she admits she is not a natural runner.
I love the dynamics of going to a higher level, she said. It is amazing how fast you can improve.
While completing the Ordinary Mortals is important to Sasha, she says the most important thing is for her and her son to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Still, the triathlon also represents one of many goals she is striving to achieve in her life.
Another centers around her singing, and she currently is on the verge of putting together a CD of her own songs with a local group. Music (singing and songwriting) is probably her main passion, and she noted that she has performed in small towns throughout the country and once sang a couple of numbers with the band Phish at a benefit concert at Red Rocks. She also wrote and sang a number in an independent film titled Eldora.
Sashas spirit for life and its many splendors cannot be disguised, and it is this spirit that she will bring with her to the Ordinary Mortals. In more ways than one, she truly represents what this event is all about.
Melito will be part of a record field of 270 women triathletes in the Ordinary Mortals. Because of overwhelming demand, Race Director Ben Valdez added three heats to the event, giving it 15, and moved up the starting time to 6:45 a.m. As of early this week, the mens field the following day had 185 entries and is expected to have 12 full heats as planned.
Because it takes approximately 40 volunteers each day to conduct the triathlon, Valdez could use some help. Please call him at 543-5151 if you can assist.
The Y-Bi Class Duathlon had excellent warm weather last month that helped it lure a record 130 entries. It also contributed to a fast winning time of 58 minutes and 24 seconds by 30-year-old Seef LeRoux of Colorado Springs. Race distances were a 2.5-mile run, 11.2-mile bike and a 3-mile run. The first four finishers were from Colorado Springs. The top local finisiher was Martin Appenzeller, 40, of Pueblo West with a 1:06:41 clocking. The top local female finisher was Candice Creecy, 20, of Pueblo in 1:21:47.
Vicki Williams of Cañon City did not let the large Boston Marathon field of 17,567 runners nor the 70-degree starting temperature slow her. Running her first Boston and third marathon overall, Williams finished the 26.2-mile distance in a time of 3 hours, 45 minutes and 58 seconds. She was the only runner from southeast Colorado in the race field.
As noted last month, both waves of the Pikes Peak Ascent are now full and closed. The PP Marathonwill be full soon, too, since it was 89 percent as of early this week. Registration is available online.
The fifth annual Buena Vista Bike Fest will take place on May 17, and riders have their choice of three distances 40 miles, 62 miles or 100 (century) miles. It will be conducted by the Colorado Springs Cycling Club.
Upcoming Area Races
- May 10 Panoramic Run, 4M, 8 a.m., Bear Creek Park, Colorado Springs (719-392-6191).
- May 17-18 Ordinary Mortals Triathlon (women 17th, men 18th), 525Mtr, 12M, 3M, 6:45 a.m. for women, 7 a.m. for men, Pueblo West (543-5151).
- May 17 Freedom Run, 10K, 8 a.m., Fort Carson (719-635-3303).
- May 24 Run in the Valley, 6.25K run and 1M walk, 8:15 a.m., Westcliffe (719-783-3170).
- May 31 Run for Rio, 5K run/walk, 8 a.m., Rye High School (719-859-5136).
- June 8 Garden of the Gods 10M Run, 7 a.m., Colorado Springs (719-473-2625).
- June 14 City 5K, 8 a.m., Colorado Springs (719-265-6161).
- June 21 Sailin Shoes, 5K & 10K, 7 a.m., Colorado Springs (719-596-3507).
- June 28 Little Run on the Prairie, 5K run, 2K walk, 8 a.m., Lovell Park in Pueblo West (547-9273).
On the Net
- Pikes Peak Marathon: www.pikespeakmarathon.org
- Ordinary Mortals Triathlon: www.active.com
- Buena Vista Bike Fest: www.bikeskprings.org
Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at email@example.com.
Return to Gary Franchi’s running and fitness writings index page.