CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It’s been a long time coming for a local triathlete.
Tuesday morning, Dawn Prebula arrived in Netherlands for the 2021 World Triathlon Long Distance Championships Almere-Amsterdam.
Prebula of Corpus Christi qualified for the title race in 2019, but the COVID-19 Pandemic delayed things.
“You get going and get in a groove and then with it getting canceled, it’s hard for your body to kind of maintain a certain level," she said.
Preparation began in 2020, stuttered after the postponement. Using a 24 week plan, she picked it back up early in 2021, with some friends from the Corpus Christi Triathlon Club and She Runs This Town Club.
“Even though I'm the one competing, really, they’re the ones who kind of get me through all the training," said Prebula. "It’s the events that you don’t ever do any of the stuff alone. You have the support of your family and your friends, the clubs and all that. It would really mean a lot to just bring home the finishing medal, but yes, certainly if I could get on a podium that’s even better.”
Krista Heideman is one of those friends who has helped her train much of the way.
"The training just wears on you right?" Heideman said. "So, if you got somebody to train with you you can have some good conversations, you got somebody to kind of push you a little bit or say hey you are doing good, you’re in the right spot. Or, hey we got to get up and do this because this is what was on the schedule today.”
Prebula's race consists of 2.4 miles swimming, biking 112 miles, and running a full marathon, 26.2 miles.
Preparing for that has been no walk in the park. She still has worked her day job and cared for her family. She's dealt with some two-a-day training sessions, recovery and body aches. Training in South Texas weather was a hurdle in itself. Netherlands changed their COVID-19 protocols just days before she was set to leave. A piece of her bike broke upon arrival to Europe.
"When you are training in Texas, just overcoming the heat and humidity and trying to get your sessions in," Prebula said. "You get those sessions in as early as you possibly can, especially biking on the road and trying to stay off the road with the cars and all that stuff.”
"Even if you get up at 4 or 5 a.m. a lot of times around here that’s still a heat index of 90 and you got how many hours of training?" said Heideman. "So hydration, your electrolytes so you don’t cramp. Just making sure you get enough water. All that stuff can be a real hurdle in training in general. Just trying to get that right because everybody’s body’s different. Some people take gels, IV fruit cup, IV little fruit packets.”
Prebula said she hopes the cooler weather in Netherlands helps improve her overall time. She said she has a goal of finishing in under 13 hours.
"You never get bored with it," said Prebula. "It’s always challenging and it’s great to be able to push yourself. And you always feel good at the end of the race, crossing that finish line.”
"Through all the things they’ve thrown and Covid and up and down, if it’s going to happen, not happen, all that stuff back and forth. I’m proud of her for putting in the training putting in the hours and making it happen," Heideman said.
World triathlon is the international governing body of triathlons. Prebula previously competed at two world championships, both being the Ironman race in 2016 and 2019.
Prebula will compete Sunday Sept. 12, 2021 in the female 45-49 age group.