Here's What Happened in 2012 (Part I)...

This past summer, 2012, my goal was to finish my first Olympic distance triathlon. I’ve always wanted to race the Memphis in May Triathlon. I heard a lot of good things about it and wanted to do it while we were living there. However, I never felt prepared for it. At the time I had a hokey-pokey, slow hybrid bicycle and no tri gear whatsoever. Needless to say, I signed up for the triathlon because I actually got my first road bike for my birthday. It was time to celebrate and start learning to ride with the roadies. I started the journey pretty much on my own using a free training plan off Beginner Triathlete. I don’t really set goal times for new distances so I guestimate when I’d cross the finish line and told family and friends to be on the look out for me on the live feed. Despite the 90+ degree heat in Tunica, MS, I crossed the finish line with a burst of excitement around 3:09:53! I was so energetic afterward, you would have thought I just finished some big race or even placed! After all, it was the furthest I’ve gone in a race and it finally happened after a couple years.

I joined a local triathlon club in early 2012 (since I was new to the longer distance tris) and made new friends, received lots of mentoring and social support and learned a wealth of information each time we met up. Prior to my first Olympic race, there was a vibe circling the club about some Club Nationals in Oklahoma City where all the clubs in the U.S. come to compete in a collage of races: sprint, Olympic, half-ironman, and ironman. To get more points athletes can participate in more than one race since it’s a 2-day span. My goal for 2013 was to finish a half-ironman race. I began investigating, reading up on some forums and doing my usual research and kept hearing that Redman is great for the first half. It has a Flat course, lots of team spirit, spectator friendly, camaraderie and all the things I was looking for in a race.  Needless to say, I wanted to see how I felt after I raced Memphis.  Even though Memphis was pretty tough in the heat with no shade and I had less than 20 weeks to get ready for my first half, I felt pretty good about pushing my goal ahead a year! I got caught up in the contagious vibe…this club is feisty!

During summer training, I had a buddy who also joined me for the first half experience. We trained all summer together.  Club members organized long group rides out in the country of Missouri and Illinois. It was also nice when local bike shops and organizations held weekly, no drop (meaning they don’t leave anyone behind) bike rides. St. Louis has an amazing bike organization, Trailnet, that holds bike rides of all distances for families and has vans that drive around to check on people, help out with flats, and host water stops or rest stops and sometimes ends with a festival. I have to admit it took me a while to get comfortable biking on the road. I grew up in the country on windy, hilly roads and roads that you’d never attempt to bike or run! In addition, I had a bad crash or wipeout, per se, on the way to school in the spring so my turns would create quite some tension. Towards the end of the summer, I loosened up after lots of butt-kicking pep talks, hills of the furry and started to enjoy the rides more (except during 20mph headwind on flat rides – now that did not generate a pleasant attitude).  Needless to say, as my buddy and I would ride and train together we’d ask each other about those ironman members in training, “Do those people even have a life?!”

Actually...they do.

Quote of the day: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bible verse of the day: "...your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action."  
~2 Corinthians 9:2


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