All kinds of folks sacrifice and work their way to the start line of a triathlon - most of them get gratefully and triumphantly to the finish line with the expected list of challenges - balancing time, injuries, anxieties, etc.. 

The triathletes of Team Ostomy United bring an unexpected challenge few of us realize  or are aware of.    An ostomy refers to a surgically created opening in the body to discharge waste -  certainly not the  easiest condition to talk about much less live with.  But the members of Team Ostomy United are dealing with the delicate nature of their physical challenge while tackling triathlon. 

Team Ostomy United was envisioned and created by Ted Vosk, half-marathoner, trial attorney,  and ostomate.  Read Ted's Story below.  The Team will participate in the Lake Meridian Triathlon on Sunday,  August 23.   To date, over a dozen people have committed to the team, with a  goal of recruiting at least a dozen more. Participation is open to all, with at least half of the  team consisting of people who have had ostomy or continent diversion surgery.

To raise awareness of the condition and funding for education, many team members are fundraising as part of their race experience.   They will create awareness and support two worthy 501(c)(3) organizations: The United Ostomy Associations of America and Youth Rally

Surviving and Thriving - Ted Vosk


A few years ago severe Crohn’s disease caused my small intestine to begin scarring up and blocking food from passing through me. Unable to eat, I lost over 60 pounds, becoming so weak and frail that my doctor told me that I would need surgery and an ileostomy or I would likely die. I told him that I would rather die than have an ileostomy. My wife vetoed that decision and I ended up getting surgery the summer of 2012. 

After a month in the hospital with repeated complications, I returned home looking like a concentration camp survivor. I was so weak that my legs trembled when I stood and I could barely walk 50 yards down the sidewalk in front of my home. Things seemed so bleak that I cried myself to sleep every night feeling hopeless, scared and wishing that I had simply died on the operating table.

 My wife stood by me, however, and helped me to fight my way back. She shared with me stories of others who had been forced to get ostomies but yet refused to quit on life. Their rise to greater heights than I thought possible was the inspiration I needed. So I used the strength I had and walked the 50 yards down the sidewalk in from of my house with the goal that I would one day again be able to run. And within 6 months I was able to fully run two half-marathons on back to back weekends to help raise money and awareness for those with Crohn’s and Colitis. 

Today, a little over 2 years following my surgery, I run 7 miles every morning, try cases in courts around the State of Washington and speak internationally on matters of science and law…and few who meet me even realize that I have an ileostomy. While I don’t “love” my ostomy, as I’ve heard some other comment, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything that I want to and I hardly notice it anymore. There are many struggling with, or facing the prospect of getting, an ostomy who feel the same way I did: stigmatized, less than human, helpless and, frankly, look to the future with a sense of hopelessness. But there are also many of us who have fought through the darkness and learned that the only limits on us are the ones that we place on ourselves. 

There is nothing that anyone else can achieve that our ostomies can stop us from achieving. Most of us had help traversing the night, either from family, friends or, in many cases, a favorite ostomy nurse. And as others helped us to reclaim our lives, we want to empower those who follow behind us to do the same…to rise above the fear, pain and loneliness…and soar. 

When Laurie & Kris Paschal’s son Sam, now 12, was diagnosed with Duchenne just before his 3rd birthday, it changed their lives in unimaginable ways. “We were happily planning a 'normal' future for all of our children. All that went out the window with Sam's diagnosis. We didn't know how much of a future Sam would have. Now planning went into finding the best care for him.”

When Sam was 8½ years old, the Paschals uprooted themselves from Texas and moved to England so Sam could participate in a clinical trial that was not available in the US. They stayed there for 17 before moving back to the US to continue with the same trial near Seattle. “Moving has been difficult on all of us, including our other children. Going to new schools and making new friends can be scary for a teenage girl and two young boys. Plus there is the stress of needing to find and set up new doctors and work with new schools on Sam’s needs.”

“A rare disease is difficult and expensive,” says Laurie. “It’s exhausting both physically and mentally, and the daily care, worry and expense weighs heavily on all of us. But we try to get out and do things as much as possible – to be a normal family like everyone else.”

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy is helping boys like Sam and their families to gain access to treatments and connecting them to resources to ease some of the burdens of living with Duchenne. “PPMD was the first organization I found that offered real, personal help. I found a whole community of parents, grandparents, friends, physicians, and therapists that knew exactly what we were facing, what our day-to-day lives entailed. Sam's care and our lives are far better than they could have been without the assistance and knowledge we've found through PPMD.”

The lake Meridian Triathlon  is happy to help Sam , his family, and a host of other families and their sons who are faced with the challenge and fight of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  We are encouraging our athletes to donate during online registration .  The race will be donating a portion of all entries to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

Athletes - please consider making a donation when you REGISTER HERE 
  The Lake Meridian Tri is proud to partner with the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit organization in the United States focused on ending Duchenne muscular dystrophy-Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD).

Duchenne is a fatal genetic disorder that slowly robs young men of their muscle strength.    As the athletes prepare for the triathlons, they'll have the opportunity to support PPMD's efforts to help those with Duchenne live stronger, longer lives by making donations at the time of registration or collecting donations through personal fundraising pages.   

The Lake Meridian Tri will also be donating a portion of all race entries to PPMD.    

To learn more about PPMD's powerful & inspiring athletic community of supporters, RUN FOR OUR SONS, Click Here

To create your own fundraising page, Click Here

Sure it's hard to beat the orange snow fencing and laminated numbers, but upon closer inspection, It's the Medical Tent.   It took a few years to come up with this concept, but we've done it now for our  last 3 races and it's a GREAT change from the typical  detached First Aid Station.

Why did we  put the aid tent in transition?  More than a few times at our races we've seen athletes in medical after their finish with an issue that was minor when it began and not-as-minor at the finish.  If we had been able to offer a bandage, help retrieve an inhaler, apply a sling, or remove a little embedded gravel earlier in the race, it would have made for a better, safer, or more comfortable finish line experience.  

As athletes  enter the transition area from the swim, you'll easily see the medical tent on the left with a big red + on the side of it.   Most often you'll find Val Newell  or Michelle Murphy inside (see right) .    They keep an  eye on you as you come and go anyhow and can quickly address  any minor issues while you're still competing in the race.  They might approach you and ask if you need some help - or you could seek them out, of course.    They'll quickly assess and discuss what your options are and work with you to get you across the finish line.

All the staff and  volunteers  at Raise the Bar   keep your finish line experience as the  big priority on race day.  Our Medical staff and location is a powerful tool to that end.   Val and Michelle are experienced athletes - just like many of you - and they know how important finishing is. They'll be making sure you get across the line safely and in one piece. (or a few pieces professionally patched together if necessary).  And  while we hope you don't have the occasion to warrant their expertise on race day, please remember they're close by...and they're watching you.
Val Newell
Fellow triathlete with over 20 years of emergency and trauma nursing experience. Has worked as a trauma, burn trauma and pediatric trauma ICU nurse at Harborview Medical Center since 1988. ACLS , ENPC, and ATCN certified. 
Family board certified ARNP sub specialty in sports medicine and preventive cardiology.  She was as an orthopedic trauma nurse in a previous life and currently runs an independent family medicine practice with focus on prevention and wellness. 
Find Michelle at 
Murphy Health & Wellness
253 200 2144
According to the voting readers of Competitor magazine, the Lake Meridian Triathlon won Best Triathlon in the Pacific Northwest in 2014.  

The secret to a great race is people....the athletes, the volunteers, the staff.. We are very fortunate at RTB to be surrounded by great people who love a challenge.  Thanks to all of you!   We'll be working hard to be worthy of this title in 2015 

The dates of the 2015 Lake Meridian Triathlons will be Sunday, June 21 and Sunday, August 23rd.  These weekends are unchanged from the 2014 races. and registration is open.

Other things not changing for the Lake Meridian Triathlons are 
  • Thousands of dollars in prizes given away during the Awards celebration thanks to our sponsors
  • Beer glasses awarded  5-deep for our age groupers (5-year increments for Sprint & Olympic, 10-year increments for the Super Sprint)
  • A hot breakfast, Medals & Technical T-shirts for all finishers
  • A unpredictably extroverted Race Announcer imported from Walla Walla
  • An army of over 140 volunteers; some of which are overly demonstrative &  highly enthusiastic....all of which are well-trained and committed to getting you safely to the finish (via the shortest distance).

What's changing in 2015 is that the Olympic distance will be added to the race in June making the races identical in their distances and courses.  You can see the courses HERE.

Registration is now open for the 2015 races.  Click the links below to register.   To keep the  courses as safe as possible, registration will be limited to 600  entries at each of the events  (individuals and relays each count as 1 entry). This decision was made with the helpful feedback of the City of Kent Police, our staff,  and our course directors who over the years have learned what the swim, bike, and run courses can handle.  

The LMT is produced by Raise the Bar - who have done so since 2010.  Raise the Bar also produces the Friday Night Swim Races, Trains & Coaches a team of 200+ athletes at every level , and helps produce and time other events in the Pacific Northwest.  Visit us at
PictureDisco lady...she's ready
A change has been made to the run course for the first Lake Meridian Triathlon on 6/22.
There will now be a bit of trail running as the participants exit the park on 152nd way. It will join up with the Soos Creek trail shortly after the trailhead.  Because runners will return on the traditional route, we anticipate this will alleviate quite a bit of congestion at the beginning and end of the course.

Another change is at the 256th St. crossing of the Soos Creek Trail. Participants will now turn right onto 256th St and run along the shoulder, turning right again on 152nd Ave SE to a turnaround point and doubling back on the same route.  As participants near the south end of the trail, they'll run to the trailhead, through the parking lot, pass the Disco lady, and turn left on 148th Ave SE.   Keeping runners from crossing 256th Street will have a much lower impact on the vehicular traffic that needs to travel east/west. 

Find a link to the Run course HERE.

Find a map below.  Forward any course questions to Patty or Toby.

Raise the Bar Events is excited to announce that they are partnering with Athletepath. Athletepath is both a registration  and social platform. It allows athletes to register for events and connect with their friends and family before, during and after events. 

Athletes will see changes in how the events are priced on the Athletepath registration site. Instead of being hit with the tax and fees at the end of the registration process, Athletepath wraps all of those things into the listed fee. They call this policy the "True Price Policy". This policy states "
We don't feel that "convenience charges" are in any way convenient. At Athletepath, the price you see is the price you pay." This will be a change for athletes registering for Raise the Bar Events but in the end, the pricing is comparable to past pricing but without any hidden registration fees.

Some of the benefits to our athletes:

* With Athletepath, results come to you. Receive free text and email notifications the instant they become available. You’ll never waste another afternoon searching the web, waiting for results.

* Follow all of your racing friends, family and teammates to receive their results on race day, too. Be alerted when they register for events, wish them luck and get inspired to race.

* Keep track of every race, each stat and all of your personal records, all in one place.

* Share signups, results and stats via Facebook, Twitter and email.

To find out more about Athletepath check out these recent articles:

Thursday, April 3rd ONLY
Register for the June Lake Meridian Triathlon
presented by Outpatient Physical Therapy
Save $30 on the August race
In addition to presenting our August race for a 5th year, 2014 marks the first year of the June edition of the Lake Meridian Triathlon presented by Outpatient PT.  Athletes can expect the same prolific prize giveaways, hot breakfast, tech t's, and medals at the finish line celebration.  You can also look forward to the same enthusiastic army of volunteers (including the nearly-famous DiscoShaun at the Soos Creek Trailhead), an accurately measured and marked course, and great race announcing by the Dangerously-extroverted Brian Hope of Walla Walla, WA.

Take the opportunity to experience 2 great races on the PNW Triathlon calendar. Sprint and Super Sprint only in June, Olympic distance added back in August.

This discount applies to individual entries for the same person only.  It doesn't apply to relay entries.