By Sharon Coy
Blade Staff Writer
Amber Rogers, Concordia, competed in the Spring Migration Triathlon April 14 at Emporia State University and placed third in her age division.
Completing a level 1 Triathlon might not seem like too big of a feat to some people, but to Rogers it was a major milestone.
For more than 10 years, the 24-year-old, best known for being half of the talented musical duo, "Scenic Roots," had experienced severe joint pain, something that was described to her as a strep throat virus settled in the joints. After visits to eight or nine specialists, diet changes, taking antifungal medication and finally a surgery to fix a nerve, Rogers became pain free.
"This is why I decided to enter a triathlon," Rogers said. "It's amazing to be well, I had to prove to myself that I can move. It's been a long journey."
Rogers chose the Emporia contest because it came at a time that fit in with her performing schedule. As Scenic Roots, she and her sister Erin tour the country giving concerts.
Triathlons have three levels. Since Emporia's contest was the shortest level, no requirements were necessary to qualify.
However, Rogers had one qualification she had to meet on her own. The race began with a 400 meter swim and swimming was something she didn't know how to do.
With the help of Sarah Fleming, Concordia, a former lifeguard, she learned to swim at the Nazareth Motherhouse pool. During her nine month training period for the triathlon, she was often on the road, but managed to find pools at YMCA's and motels where she could practice.
In addition to the swim, Spring Migration participants had to bike 12.4 miles on a flat highway and run 3.11 miles in the rolling hills of Emporia.
Rogers said she did a lot of research online to learn how to best prepare for the race, often consulting her mother, Marci, a physical therapist at Cloud County Health Center.
Her training schedule included running four days a week, swimming and weight training three days a week and biking whenever weather permitted.
The triathlon had 167 participants, ranging in age from 9-73. Rogers wore the same outfit throughout the event. Made of a quick dry material, it has a tank style top, shorts with pockets, elastic at the legs and padding at the hips for more comfortable bike riding.
Competitors wore GPS trackers on their ankles to enable officials to determine their time or find anyone who might get lost.
The swimming portion of the event was done at the college's indoor pool. One thing Rogers was not aware of in the race is that when someone wants to pass you, as a courtesy they tug on your ankle. "This happened to me a lot and I kept thinking 'why are you pulling on my ankle?' "
However, this did not hinder Rogers' performance in the event, as she said her shortest time was in the swim competition.
Rogers said the event had support teams all along the way as well as police officers watching out for everyone. When she proudly crossed the finish line of the 5K run, her parents, Marci and Doug Rogers, and sister Erin were there to meet her. "There were hugs all around," she said.
Rogers said the most difficult part of being in the triathlon was the training leading up to it, but she would definitely do it again.
"I made it!"
Amber Rogers smiles triumphantly after finishing the last event of the Spring Migration Triathlon at Emporia State University, where she placed third in her age division.