Likely, the most sedentary day of the past year, after a 45 min run + 2 hour group ride, I was glued to my computer from noon until 10pm. Then, I woke up at 4:10am to head to Amelia Island to support Karel (who was working pre-race bike support for Trek jax) and I was stuck to my iphone to watch the final finishers.
Karel saved the day for many triathletes this morning at the DRC Atlantic Coast Triathlon. Flat tires, cassette issues, brake issues, saddle issues, etc. You name it, Karel was there to solve the problem and relieve the worries from many newbie triathletes.
Someone was a bit tired due to missing his morning nap. He struggled to keep his eyes open but made sure to give a few barks to cheer for the athletes.
We had a big crew from Jacksonville, FL participating in the Ironman World Championships yesterday and everyone finished! Watching and cheering for friends (many who I have never met) from around the globe was so motivating and inspiring. I had chills when the gun went off for the age group mass start, I had tears in my eyes for almost every Kona Inspired story, I was celebrating with Pete Jacobs as soaked up his first place finish for over 2 miles (loved his post race speech about "love") and I was on the edge of my seat, rooting for Leanda Cave as she was relentless out on the course - focused and determined. She is the first female to win the 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman World Championships in the same year and she gave a dramatic effort out on the run course.
From the young to the old, to the nail-biting performances and to those who made it look easy. I have watched this race year after year and I have been given the opportunity to cross two World Championship finishing lines, alongside 3 other Ironman finishing lines. Amazingly, I am still having so much fun as a triathlete - learning more about the sport and learning more about myself. I continue to dream big and I absolutely love the journey that I get to go on with my body and mind as I prepare for the bigday.The Ironman is a distance is far from normal. Ironically, those who choose to race/participate in an Ironman consider it a lifestyle. Work, sleep, eat.....140.6 miles in less than 17 hours - all for a medal and t-shirt. For the majority of us, we choose to do this voluntarily and we pay a lot of money to do the race and prepare for the race.....long before we actually get to the starting line. But with that confirmation of registering for an Ironman, your life suddenly changes. You start the process of building endurance, mental strength and of course, overcoming obstacles as they pop up and interfere with the commitment to train for an Ironman.
From my first IM finish in 2006 at Ironman Florida, to my last Ironman finish in Kona in 2011, I can't stop smiling when I race in triathlons.
I can't stress the importance of balance when it comes to training for a long distance event. It's not about the miles, being lean or bragging about past performances.What does it take to feel successful (regardless of finishing time) as an endurance athlete?
-Sport nutrition - understanding individual needs before, during and post training
-Daily diet - learning how to eat for fuel and for health, throughout the year.
-Off-season - importance of resting the mind and body
-Periodized training - understanding the importance of long "steady" miles in the base phase and building in order to peak at the right time-Mental training - learning how to stay focused,be confident and to trust yourself
-Sleep and stress management
-Recovery - train hard, recover harder
-Training smart - knowing when to push and when to back off and how to train for quality
-Strength and skill training - year round training (specifically in the off season) to work on weaknesses and to build off strengths
-Massage, stretching - keeping the body in an anti-inflammatory, relaxed state as much as possible
I could go on and on but my focus for this blog is to remind you that "fitness" (however you choose to do it - at the gym or training for a race), should be fun. Sure, there will be downs but you will remember those downs on race day....and how you pushed your way through those walls. But above all, do not feel pressue when it comes to training or living like others, who also do endurance events. There are no pre reqs as to how long it takes to reach your starting line and surely there is no age for retirement. Whether you are hoping to do an endurance event or feel inspired to jog your first 5K or join a gym, never stop having fun and DON'T rush the journey. Be patient. Sure, you may want to "get healthy", change body composition or improve risk for disease. Those things will likely happen so long as you are consistent and you are respecting your body. Consistency is your best friend when you are training for a long distance event but more important than putting in the work, you have to love what you are doing, know where you are going, be kind to your body and reflect along the way.