8/26/09

It takes a team

Karel is packing up my bike in the bike box, my mom is calling to remind me not to forget x,y and z and I am smiling from all the facebook comments and emails from friends I have met and those who I know by a blogger account.
When a triathlete signs up for an Ironman, it takes more than high volume training for 3-4 months. After signing up for a M-dot Ironman, you have a year to prepare yourself and others for the decision you made to train for a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. Then you prepare yourself and others for your mood/attitude after a hot and long brick workout or an intense interval workout. You come home glycogen depleted some days and on other days you want to tell everyone you know about your fantastic workout. Sure, you talk in "tri" lingo and you get deer-in-headlight stares from people when you talk about power, HR, zones, hypoxic sets or pace...but because this person cares about you, he/she listens and pretends he/she understands. On the week before the race, you prepare yourself and others for the big day. You first apologize for acting stressed because there aren't enough hours in the day on the days leading up to the Ironman race and then you feel horrible after complaining how tired, bloated and unmotivated you are to do an Ironman on the first week of taper, only to wait a few days later to have more energy in the world to know what to do with. Then, you arrive at the race site and all your fears, worries and negative thoughts disappear because your team is there to support you because they believe in you. And, while some of your team is with you at the race site, you have the rest of your team at their computers waiting for you to cross the finish line. Throughout the entire Ironman race, it is hard to not think about all the people that helped you get to the starting line. Sure, you did the hard workout and put in the long, grueling hours but you couldn't have done without a few special people.
I'd like to thank my team....

My family
My brother is a NCAA All-American for gymnastics and Big Ten high bar champion. Although he is now a business man at PPG in Pittsburgh, PA while studying to earn his masters at Carnegie Mellon, we have a lot in common when it comes to athletics. We both love being competitive. In order to be good athletes, we both applied our hard-working philosophy's to our education.
If it wasn't for our parents, who have been our #1 supporters and biggest fans, both my brother Aaron and myself would not be who we are today.
My parents aren't the type of parents to push us and tell us we "have to" do a sport. However, with the support of our parents, we were lucky enough to have a sport to do most of our life. I choose swimming and my brother choose gymnastics. My parents loved going to our meets and looking back, I know it wasn't easy on them to pay for hotel rooms, travel, gear, food, etc. I am so grateful for all that my parents have given me (without asking) and I strive to be the best I can be because I have two loving parents who believe in me.
My parents love going to my triathlons. You would think an Ironman would be way too long to spectate but my mom is quick to book hotel rooms and settle travel arrangements before I even sign up for the race. My mom is the best travel agent ever and she takes a lot of stress off my shoulders, especially since I tend to be super type-A when it comes to traveling. As for my dad, the first thing he tells me when I tell him about an Ironman is "oh, I will take great pictures!" I guess I got my love for pictures from my dad.
Mom and Dad (and Aaron), thank you for being part of my team.


My local friends
Libby, Laura and Katrine. You girls keep me sane, put up with me when I stressed with school (was stressed :) and always reminded me how much I love the sport of triathlons. Katrine, thank you for all the Tues and Thurs workouts, you made bike riding so much more enjoyable. Thank you for adding a little more estrogen to the Sunday morning group rides with all the boys and thank you for making a 14 mile run...after a sprint triathlon, go by so quickly. Laura, thank you for keeping me excited to continuing with my education to become a registered dietitian. You have given me such great advice and I have loved guiding you as you finish up your first ever season of triathlons. Besides the fact that our dogs are BFF's, you always make me smile and I love your care-free attitude. Libby, I wouldn't be here today (somewhat injury-free) if you did not give up your time after you finished work to give me some PT tough-love on my butt. Who gives away Free services??? You are amazing and what you do. As a phenomenal triathlete who loves suffering a bit more than I do (you are one tough chick!) you are going to go far no matter what you choose to do in life. Thank you girls for being a part of my team and thank you to your hubby's for letting me steal you for a few hours every week.






Coach Shawn
You qualified for Ironman Kona at Ironman Arizona. You raced the Ironman in Kona in 2008, you did IMFL less than a month later and re-qualified for Kona for 2009. I lucked out to have a coach who knows what he is talking about.
I hesitated putting aside the HR training and focusing on my power on the bike but I could not thank you enough for making me the best cyclist I could be coming into this Ironman. My bike times have improved drastically this year and most of all, I love riding my bike. You gave me workouts that made me confident with my bike skills and biking abilities. Alongside cycling, my running times improved and I PR'd in a number of races this year. Most of all, I loved having a schedule that allowed me to grow as an athlete (get stronger, faster and more powerful) but balanced me out in my normal life. There were no two-a-days and no crazy workouts which demanded a bulk of my time. Each workout focused on quality. Considering that you have coached Karel for the best few years, and he continues to improve as a cyclist, I think we are in great hands. Thank you for being part of my team.

My blogger/facebook friends
My passion is educating athletes on proper nutrition to improve health while improving success as an athlete/fitness enthusiast. Since we all need to exercise for cardio health to improve our quality of life, I could not have found a better career path than to devote my entire life to helping individuals understand a how to eat for fuel. I have received countless emails and blog comments from people who I have never met and emails from people who know me well. Among those who have read my articles/blogs, I get motivated and inspired by people who have applied my sports nutrition tips/recipes to their life and have noticed dramatic results. Thank you to everyone out there who has encouraged me to continue reaching my goals of becoming a well-known sports nutritionist and for reminding me why I have decided to go back to school (well, finished that part...time for the internship!) to become a registered dietitian. Thank you for being part of my team.

Karel
I saved the best for last. I don't know where to begin. At IMFL you were my boyfriend. During the last 10K of the IM run you ran next to me and told me I was going to Kona. I told you I loved you for the very first time. Not sure if it was the best time to tell you that I love you for the first time but I felt it and I knew we were meant to be.
We were recently engaged when I went to the Ironman World Championships with my mom and dad. Now, we are married and as my husband, I couldn't be more excited that you will be there with me to help me get to the finish line.
You have been with me during my best times and you have seen me at some of my worst times. You know my strengths and weakness's and you know my breaking points (things that I can't control = stress. However, you also know how to be a great husband. I have never let my triathlon training get in the way of our relationship and you have never let your love for cycling interfere with our time together. Perhaps we are so good together because we support each other's passions. Although we love different sports, we both live a similar lifestyle of healthy eating and lots of physical activity. Thank you for loving me and for making it so easy for me to love you and to love being your wife. Even with managing two Trek stores in Jacksonville and putting in 200+ miles a week of cycling, you always make sure my bike is in great condition and you always have a great appetite to try all of my dinner creations.
Karel, words can't describe how much you mean to me and how lucky I am to have my best friend by my side for the rest of my life. Can't wait til we are 80 years old together, riding our bikes over mountain passes and eating tofu and alfalfa sprout sandwiches for a picnic lunch. Love you Karel....we make a great team!!




Campy
Oh, how could I forget my little one. My little buddy. My little Campy, Camp. Campy, you made my life complete 10 months ago. After my last dog passed away from bladder cancer in 2006, I felt like there was an empty space in my heart. I have always loved animals but I never knew that a dog like you could make my days 100% better. I love seeing your little face in the window of our 3rd floor apartment and I love hearing your little bark as I walk up the stairs to our place. I love how you greet me when I walk in the door, regardless if I was gone for 15 minutes or 4 hours. You are never short of giving kisses and you are the best cuddler. It doesn't matter how good/bad my day may seem, you have a special puppy-dog way of making my life worth living to the fullest every day. Karel and I are so happy that we got you off the street and we know you are loving the life of luxury. You wouldn't care if we lived in a box or in a house, so long as we had a blanket for you to snuggle under. Campy, you make running warm-up and warm-down so much fun, even after running 18 miles. You never complain if we are running in the cold, rain or heat and you always put a huge smile on my face when we are together. Thank you Campy for being part of my team...and for making sure my camera gets lots of use!