Some 800 of the hardiest souls from around the country will be in action tomorrow, competing in the Azalea Festival Triathlon. By this time tomorrow Tom Clifford will be recovering from a 300-yard swim, a 12.4-mile bike ride, and a 5-kilometer run. Clifford says to be successful, "it is all about positive thinking. You need to stay positive throughout the entire race, once you start thinking negatively you will hit the wall.” Along with that positive thinking, he says, he carries water at all times to stay hydrated and keeps re-fueling. Tom says "when we're riding we have food on us at all times and are consistently taking in nutrition at all times." Local tri-athletes have been preparing for months to make sure they are able to reach the finish line." Tom describes preparing as "it's a lot of time and once you put the time in, you start getting into the nitty gritty of it and really start practicing hard with different types of workouts for each event.” Despite the intense long-term preparation, the day before the event, athletes take a break. Clifford says, "Today I'm just going to bike the course and get used to it. I’m going to take it nice and easy then do some sprints afterwards to get my legs nice and loose. Tonight I’ll have a nice big dinner…probably pizza." This is Tom Clifford's first triathlon and already he says it won't be his last. The triathlon begins at 8 in the morning and the funds raised will benefit the local chapter of the leukemia and lymphoma society.
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