The third time was a charm for Carson City native Barbara Perkins.
The 26-year-old Perkins, a 2007 Carson High graduate and a current Bloomington, Ind., resident, competed at the 70.3 New Orleans Half-Ironman Triathlon on April 19. It was her third such event, which consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run, and her first victory.
Perkins, who competed in the 25-29 age group, covered the swim in 22-minutes 54-seconds, the bike ride in 2-hours 45-minutes 58-seconds and the run in 1-hour 45-minutes and 25-seconds. Her finishing time was 4:58.47.
“It was great,” said Perkins, who’s working as a volunteer coach with the University of Indiana men’s and women’s swim teams. “It rained a couple of days before the event, several inches, and they told us it might be canceled. It was overcast the morning of the race, but it started to warm up. It was about 80 while we were running. It was a little different from being in Nevada (humidity). They had ice at the aid stations, and I would grab some and put it on my suit.
“I was the first woman out of the water (Lake Ponchtrain) and there were two girls ahead of me (not in same division) after the bike ride. There was a girl who I was nine mnutes ahead of at the start of the run, and she caught up by seven minutes, but I was able to hold her off and win by two minutes.”
Perkins will compete in another half-ironman in May in Tennessee, and she’s using that to get ready for her first full ironman in June in Coeur d’Alene (Idaho). A good finish in that race will qualify her for the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Perkins got involved in the sport of triathlon back in 2011. “I met Heather Bryan, who was part of a training group that was going to Hawaii,” Perkins said. “She said it would be a lot of fun and she wanted me to be on the team.”
Perkins has been hooked ever since, though she’s now being coached by Craig Paiement, who’s a trainer for a local trathlon club.
Perkins enjoys the sport, but if you think it’s fun, you’re a sadist.
Perkins trains 17 to 20 hours a week, which includes biking 200 miles a week, running 35 miles a week and swimming 15,000 yards a week. Certainly a regimen not for the faint of heart.
It’s not surprising Perkins gravitated toward triathlons.
Perkins, the daughter of judge Tom Perkins and Carson City attorney Allison Joffee, swam for four years for Monica Weaver at Carson High School, specializing in the 200 and 500 free events.
She attended Saint Mary’s College in the Bay Area, but the Gaels didn’t field a swim team.
“I had kind of burned out on swimming by then,” said Perkins, who also swam for 10 years in the Tigersharks program. “They (SMC) had club water polo, so I started to play that to stay active.”
Perkins worked in a couple of different law offices, took the LSAT and applied to law schools.
She opted, instead, to concentrate on her triathlon training and coaching swimming at IU.
“They were disappointed when I decided I didn’t want to practice law,” Perkins said. “They’ve been very supportive, and have been helping me financially.”
That support enabled Perkins to take a non-paying job at IU.
“I’d always thought about coaching,” Perkins said.
“I talked to the swim coach at IU. He said he had a position open. I came out for an interview and he offered me the job. It is a great opportunity, and I think it can work into something.
“Bloomington is very much a college town. It’s the most liberal place in the Midwest. It has a lot of culture and good restaurants.”
And, now it’s home for one determined young athlete.