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Going for a World Record: Juggling an entire Triathlon

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 a…

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:


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, 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!).

By BdayShoes

BdayShoes is the "guest blogger" everyman (or woman!) of Periodically, we feature original posts from non-regular writers on the blog here. Those posts get published under this user! If you're interested in contributing a one-off post to BirthdayShoes, contact us!

15 replies on “Going for a World Record: Juggling an entire Triathlon”

I run triathlons in my Komodos. I wear clip shoes for the bike portion, though.

It’s super easy to get them on fast though – apply a lot of talc/baby powder to the inside of your vibrams, it really helps. As far as sand, keep a spare water bottle (some people use a water bin to just dunk their feet). have a towel handy if you want to get a little water off to help get your shoes on.

Good luck!

Very cool – and impressive. Thanks for posting the video. As I was reading, I was having trouble conceptualizing the swuggling component. Your legs are going to burn after the swim.

Good luck!

That looks HARD!! Especially the swim – WOW!

I’ve run a couple triathlons in my KSOs, and I have to say my favorite part is the bike-run transition, where I pick up a minute on everybody else who has to stop to change shoes. 😉

Good luck, Joe.

Thanks, Justin for the great post. And good idea about the sticker incentive to get more donations… I really hope to get more donations in the next 5 weeks.

@Kent: Thanks for the transition tips, I’ll definitely use them!

Thanks everyone for the support!
I feel great about the race. I just hope the Gulf of Mexico decides to be somewhat calm that day! I can handle it being rough, but if it’s super rough and a monster then that’ll be a definite curve ball to handle.

Vibram Five Fingers are innovative, jugglers are always innovating-I think it’s a nice combo! It’s always fun to see what people can do with their VFF’s, determination, and creativity.

I don’t think I could do that. I would have a hard time running and chewing gum at the same time! I don’t think I could juggle at all while moving.

I will kick you a few bucks when I get my next paycheck. I can’t wait to find out how it turns out.

I’m not good in juggling. I really struggle to do it. Sometimes i wonder how other people could possibly do it. Maybe its a gift.

@Robert: thanks for the donation that you will make to the charity cause! You might get a kick out of knowing that the joggling marathon record was set by a Canadian joggler… (and he chewed one piece of gum the whole race, too)! If that’s ever a trivia question on a game show, now you’ll get it right 🙂

@Ice Chests: juggling is all about dedication and practice. Anyone can do it. You just have to get used to failing, once you do, you’ll experience intermittent rewards because you start learning and getting the desired outcomes you want.

@Onge: Thanks 🙂 Good to hear from another juggler. The “swuggling” seems to have the most alluring quality to it for jugglers and non-jugglers. It’s something that most didn’t think could go together. See my new video “Swuggling in the Pool” for more swuggling tricks.

@Nathaniel: I hear you on the tiredness. Even doing two balls in one hand for over an hour takes some endurance. Plus, throw in biking at the same time and the two other legs of the triathlon… and you got a lot of juggling throws! Luckily, for the biking part I’ve developed techniques to switch hands and juggle with my left hand, to switch bike gears while going up hills and give my right hand a rest if I need it.

Sounds great! Regarding getting sand off your feet – liberal amounts of baby powder work really well. Towel dry your feet and then apply baby powder. It absorbs the water and the sand falls off very easily. Good luck! I am planning to run a marathon in Tel Aviv next week and blow up balloons and make balloon shapes along the way, but I think juggling is harder…

@Avraham: thanks for the tips on drying off the feet and getting sand off. Anything helps this tri newbie 🙂

The balloon sculpting during the marathon sounds very cool. Go for it! My Dad used to make balloon animals, and I have an old book on it. You should hand them out to kids when you finish them in the race! I have a friend who wants to try to see how many rubic cubes he can solve while doing a marathon.

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