U.S. Army spouse achieves 2011 goal to finish ½ triathlon, full triathlon planned for 2012
Lisa McCombs, U.S. Army spouse and former engineer officer, stands proudly at the U.S.S. Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., after completing her first half triathlon in October 2011. McCombs is signed up to participate in a full Ironman Triathlon in May 2012.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Dec. 27, 2011) -- Many people would consider the idea of completing a half triathlon common place, especially near a military installation. For Lisa McCombs, a former U.S. Army engineer officer with the 62nd Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, it was truly a thrill to add the PPD Beach2Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon to her list of accomplishments in 2011.

The event was held Oct. 29, 2011, in the port city of Wilmington, N.C.

With an overall time of 6 hours, 41 minutes and 14 seconds, McCombs exceeded the requirements for the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. While the course stayed open for the full marathon until midnight, McCombs completed the event by 3 p.m.

"We had 1 hour, 30 minutes to finish the swim; 5 hours, 45 minutes for biking; and 9 hours to complete the run," McCombs said.

McCombs swam the event in 34:33, biked the course in 3:30:07, and ran with a time of 2:26:24.

"My husband always makes me proud and he was very supportive," McCombs said. "I also have an aunt who's a triathlete. She's competed and placed in the Kona Ironman seven times. That's inspiring, but honestly, my own determination inspires me."

"I've never been really good at anything like a sport or music, or art. The triathlon is something that I can push myself in, feel good doing, and I'm actually good at it. I prefer to be the inspiration for other people," McCombs said.

She attributed her time in the Army as key to her success in sticking to her four-month training regime, which took place over an overwhelmingly hot and humid Mississippi summer.

To add to the complexity of her training schedule, McComb's husband was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood for three of the four months that she prepared to overcome her fear of water and drowning, bike ride and beat the pavement. She managed the household in between training, completed her master's in business administration and graduated, worked part time, and managed her Family Readiness Group duties.

"It was exhausting to say the least, but so worth all the time and effort," McCombs stated with enthusiasm.

McCombs admits that she has never been athletic.

"I was one of only two in junior high school to get cut from softball tryouts," she explained. "In the military I passed the PT test but with no score to brag about. After high school I was always somewhat overweight."

"When I got out of the Army in November 2009, I was worried about my physical fitness so I took up running," she said. "I got heavily involved with the running community here in Gulfport, Mississippi, which led to triathlons. Running is a gateway. I made a huge lifestyle change and now encourage others to do the same. This half Ironman was the finale to my first year of being a healthy triathlete."

McCombs served in the Army for nearly six years and was an engineer officer with the 62nd Engineer Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. Currently, her husband is a staff sergeant with Company C 169th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood. McCombs is the FRG leader for her husband's unit and stays very involved by attending monthly FRG meetings, managing fundraisers, organizing barbecues and family gatherings, publishing a monthly newsletter and meeting with the unit's command regularly.

To her credit, McCombs received the Essayons Award through the unit along with the Angel Award for her contributions and volunteer efforts.

McCombs is signed up to participate in a full Ironman Triathlon in Texas in May 2012.

Page last updated Tue December 27th, 2011 at 00:00