Trey Waltman, Mac Hendrix, Will Wanninger - Class of 2018
Hey guys! We heard you all recently completed a triathlon. What does a triathlon consist of?
This triathlon consisted of a 750-meter swim, 16-mile bike, and a 3-mile run.
What was your reasoning in tackling such as large goal while in dental school?
Trey: The triathlon was something that we all believed would be a lot of fun to participate in. We are all very competitive and enjoy hanging out together outside of school, so it just made sense to do this triathlon.
Mac: Every man needs a challenge. Having something like this prevents being stagnant in personal progress. Whether it be a triathlon, amount of books you want to read in a year, giving more time volunteering, etc., personal challenges like this makes us better people. Also, Wanninger laughed at the idea of me doing a triathlon, and so consequently I signed up within 5 minutes. Trey and Will followed shortly.
Will: I was looking for opportunities to stay fit and competitive, and I thought this would be a fun way to do that.
Training for a triathlon seems tough. How did you physically and mentally prepare yourself while juggling the demands of dental school?
Trey: We decided to participate in the triathlon 4 months prior to the race. The training was not that tough because we are all really active individuals and enjoy being challenged. We decided to meet twice a week in the mornings to train for the swimming portion of the triathlon. We would often meet on the weekends to practice the run and biking portion of the race. My wife also chose to do the race, so she and I would train during the week after school and work. Tackling something like this during dental school was really beneficial, because this allowed us to get our minds off of whatever was going on in school or clinic.
Mac: If you know the three of us well enough, you know we try to manage dental school in a way that it is minimally demanding. We don’t get very worked up about many things. That being said, our schedule this semester was conducive to training. We had every Tuesday and Thursday morning off from class, so we would meet then to run and swim at the rec. On the weekends, Trey and I would often meet to bike and run. Wanninger normally slept in those days. Trey’s wife also signed up to race so the fear of being beat by a (athletic and very competitive) girl was enough mental preparation.
Will: I had to make time for training, whether it was waking up early before school or going to the gym after school. It also helped to do it with a couple of friends. That helped me stay motivated.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
Trey: This is an event that I will always remember because it was my first triathlon. Being able to tackle this triathlon with my wife and best friends was my favorite part by far.
Mac: The comrade from spending so much time together training and competing. There was a lot of trash talking and competition that went on, but we were always sharing training tips and ideas that we would either read about or discover from our own training. It was healthy, friendly, competition and we had a great time. The race itself was a lot of fun because Wanninger shot about 5x the normal dose of pre-workout before the race and we found him zonked out in a gutter about half a mile into the bike leg.
Will: When it was over and knew that my training had paid off.
What advice would you give to other students who are interested in incorporating physical fitness into their dental school life and for those interested in training for a triathlon?
Trey: I believe that it is essential to find something that you enjoy doing outside of dental school. Dental school is great, but it can easily take over your life if you let it. If you have an opportunity to participate is something like this, then I would encourage you to accept the challenge.
Mac: Make exercise a personal priority. Never sacrifice your personal health (whether it be fitness, sleeping, or eating well) for studying, not having enough time, etc. You are not your best self if you aren’t taking care of your body. As far as the triathlon goes specifically, practice joining multiple legs of the race together. Running a 5k or biking 16 miles by itself isn’t that bad, but doing it after you swim 800 m is difficult. However, swimming 750 m by itself is that bad. It sucks. Spend most of your time getting that in shape. And swimming in open water is MUCH different than swimming in a pool. A good bike makes a lot of difference. Either rent a good one or invest in one if triathlons are something you want to do more often.
Will: You can always make excuses as to why this isn’t a good time. You just need a little effort to be motivated to get started. Once you’ve made it a habit, it makes it a lot easier to keep going. This also helps make school a little easier to tackle as it’s a great was to de-stress.