Melissa Hallmark put her body and soul into last Sunday's Baltimore Bud Light Triathlon. In fact, the Severna Park graduate said, "I think I left a lot of skin on the pavement."

Shortly after completing the 1.5-kilometer swim (.93 miles) in the Gunpowder River, she crashed hard against a roadway while cycling her way to the Inner Harbor.

"It was about an eighth of a mile after the transition when my tire hit these vertical ruts in the road. I was between two other guys,and one guy wiped out with me," said Hallmark, who is training for Hawaii's annual Iron Man Triathlon on Oct. 19.

"The accident was right in front of a lot of spectators, who cheered us on. So I just gotback up and got back into it."

Slightly bloodied but undaunted, Hallmark, 23, regrouped to cover the rest of the course -- the 40-kilometer bike portion and the 10-kilometer run. She finished in 2 hours,28 minutes and 25 seconds, taking third place in the 20-24 age groupand 20th overall.

"I had just had a horrible swim -- four minutesslower than usual," Hallmark said. "It was raining, the water was wavy and very rough and I couldn't see anything. It seemed like every time you went to take a breath, you got a wave in your face instead."

Hallmark qualified for the Iron Man with her first-place finish inher age group in the June 2 Cambridge Triathlon, covering a 1.6-mileswim, 13.1-mile run and 55-mile bike trek in just over five hours.

The Bud Light was part of her preparation for the Iron Man, which involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile run.

As further training, Hallmark will compete in either the Colonial Beach or New York triathlon as well as a biathlon in Cambridge in late July.

She plans to cycle the 110-mile distance from her Round Bay community in Severna Park to 64th Street in Ocean City before anothertriathlon in early September gets her primed for the October grand finale.

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