Guest post by Joe Salter

Most didn’t think it’s possible. I mean, how would you swim and juggle? How about biking and juggling? Well, I’ll explain briefly how I got to this goal of juggling while competing in a triathlon. I am a runner, juggler, and joggler.

Joggling (running and juggling) has been around for at least 30 years. I have joggled many marathons in the last 4 years. In juggling, or any endeavor, it’s always a human curiosity to see what’s possible (See this video of demonstrating some joggling tricks). To explore the unknown. To attempt to be the first to “tri” something. I finally decided to embark on the journey of figuring out how this could be done. And to do it safely, efficiently, and gracefully. The Triathlon I am running is the Flora-Bama Mullet Man Triathlon on April 21, 2012.

I’ll be sporting my KSO Vibram FiveFingers for the biking and running legs of the race. They seem to do well on the bike and they are my favorite for running. I just need to practice putting them on fast, so I can save time. Believe it or not, a little fear of mine is how do you get off all of that Florida Beach sand on your feet after the swim and before the biking and running? I guess a bucket of water and a towel should do the trick?

While that question may be dogging me, what your probably wondering is more fundamental: how do I juggle while swimming? Biking? Running? So glad you asked!

SWUGGLING (Swimming and Juggling)

It was a Eureka moment when I figured out how to juggle and swim (swuggle). Jugglers and non-jugglers could never fathom how juggling could ever go with swimming. I was determined to figure it out. I experimented with different techniques, and then finally polished up a method that was the most efficient. Swuggling in the Gulf of Mexico for the race I am doing will be extra difficult, considering the possibility of rough surf and other water factors. But, I trust my plan and I am confident I know how to mitigate any factors that may come into play that morning. And, just like the life saying, “you can’t control the waves, but you can learn to surf.” I plan to “juggle” and maneuver with the ocean water, and go with the flow. It will be a good life lesson.

BUGGLING or BIGGLING (Biking and Juggling)

The biking and juggling approach works very well once you get used to it. It has all kinds of little quarks as well that you have to learn to manage. I really look forward to the biking part of the race, because I believe I can control it more than the Gulf of Mexico! I just hope I don’t get a flat tire… I have a back up plan for that scenario, too.

JOGGLING (Jogging and Juggling)

Aw, home sweet home. Joggling is what has steered me to this unique goal and challenge. It’s second nature to me by now (I literally can do it with my eyes closed). Joggling teaches you to be aware, relaxed, graceful, and efficient. Out of curiosity, it was only natural to see if you could combine juggling with the other two disciplines of a triathlon. Joggling is the leg I look forward to, yet it will be the one my legs will be screaming the most in due to the fatigue of the bike and swim. Luckily, I’ll have the ground feedback and soft landing in my VFF KSO’s to help guide my final 4 mile stretch to the finish line. I sure think I’ll need it, because who knows if I’ll even be able to feel my legs by that time!

Some video goodness!

All of this talk about joggling, swuggling, and buggling with no visual? No good! Here is a video I put together demonstrating the various techniques:

Why?!?

To do something no one has ever done before was appealing to me. The training and challenge of figuring out what will work in the race is another fun part for me. Creativity is something I enjoy. It’s been 10 months of training, problem solving, experimenting, and interesting experiences. The road to get to the race has been chock full of life lessons and learning opportunities. I enjoy the process of preparing for different problems I may encounter in the race, and I like the thrill of knowing that there’s always going to be something unpredictable that life will throw at you. On race day, I’ll keep them “in the air” and move forward. What more can you do? Oh, and, I’ll enjoy myself too, while going for the fastest time I can possibly do.

How you can help!

While many consider juggling to be difficult (or even impossible), families whose children are undergoing medical treatment perform even more amazing juggling acts! Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida serves as a “Home-Away-From-Home” for families in need of support during challenging times. Support Ronald McDonald House Charities and help give these families the “Home” they need to balance their juggling acts. I hope you can support this local charity by visiting my fundraising webpage and donating online.

Note from Justin to encourage you to donate: To support Joe in his efforts to raise money for his … Triuggling … and set a world record, BirthdayShoes.com will send anyone who donates $10 to Joe’s race a BirthdayShoes sticker. Just make a donation via the link above and send me the donation confirmation email you get along with your mailing address. I’ll extend this offer for the first 10 donors (or anyone who donates today, PI DAY, March 14, 2012!).