Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Thankful

Note: Written on November 27


On a plane back from Minneapolis looking down on snow capped mountains somewhere over the rockies I can think of many things to give thanks for as we leave Thanksgiving week. I have a wonderful support crew from Jamie, to my parents to my great friends. 

Jamie has been at just about every race I have ever ran from that first duathlon to my last half-ironman. My parents are always so supportive that I can't wait to call them after a race to tell them how I did. To top it off I have great friends like Blair and Tom in San Diego that have come to races. I couldn't be more thankful. 

As I go into this Ironman I think of the things I am thankful for and the things I will need to do to complete Ironman. Eating well and doing all the training is even more important than before. Building a sound foundation for the bike, good swim technique and getting faster on my feet is becoming clearer and clearer the more my thoughts lean toward that far off race.

This will all mean a lot of long hours on the bike, working on my swim more than I want and actually doing speed work for my run. This all comes with visualization, believing how well the race can go. "You're only as fast as you think you are" as prominent triathlon and cycling coach Joe Friel writes. No negative thoughts, only positive ones.

Coach Hartman taught me a valuable lesson this weekend, "you have to put yourself in the pain zone long before you experience it in the race". For Ironman this is as much mental as it physical. His son Steven (an excellent speed skater) told me about the crazy off season squat workouts he has been doing, sets as high as 30-some reps. "The first ten are always fine, then my legs start to shake, after that my back hurts then you want to fall to pieces" he told me. 

But Steven got through it. Surely his skating times this winter will reflect the price paid. Put a dime in, get a dollar out. Thank you for the lesson Steven. Before any real training begins that is exactly what I needed to hear.

Next Thanksgiving I hope to have even more to be thankful for with many lessons learned and my wonderful support system mentioned above to thank for joining in the journey. 

"I think I learned to appreciate and treasure each day because you don't know how many you're going to be given."
-US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor


Monday, November 21, 2011

Let the Journey Begin

Wait how far is it? You want to do what? You have to volunteer to even get a spot in a race a year away? 

Yup, I've heard it all in the last month when I told people I was going to drive to Phoenix, volunteer on Sunday then get up early to wait in line to sign up for an Ironman that is a year away. After having anxiety about getting a spot, I was able to sign up with the golden ticket, a bright green volunteer t-shirt. (The other spots sold out in less than ten minutes online.) 

Despite being nuts and wanting to do an Ironman (2.4mile swim, 112mile bike, 26.2mile run) I still had to volunteer to get "priority" sign up because it sells out so fast online. 

Jamie and I volunteered at Bike Aid Station #1 early Sunday morning after cruising over to Tempe, AZ on Saturday. (Jamie was kind enough to go over to Arizona for the weekend with me.) Volunteering turned out to be an excellent time, seeing the pro's whizz by and having a few laughs with other people starting their Ironman journey. Having gained Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket (the bright green shirt) we woke up early to stand in line before the sun rose and signed up. 

As we entered the registration tent Jamie almost broke and signed up with me. She didn't end up pulling the trigger, wanting to get a few more races under her own belt. We will get her though, St. George May 2013. 


Peter and Blair (co-workers at Insulindependence, Peter the founder) also came over to Arizona to volunteer at a different aid station. Over the last few months Peter and I have been asking Blair to race with us, she finally broke and signed up. All three of us Type 1 Diabetics will have a great experience on the journey together, not to mention the other people at Insulindependence that signed up including current captain Jeff Temple and club manager Gary Schmidt. 

Time to build that bike and swim base. Let the journey begin!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost