Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why do I race?

This is a topic that is posted on our team forum and I thought that I would share my response with the general public! Enjoy...

I think that for me it grew into a personal challenge that stemmed from a competitive background in baseball and pretty much everything else that I did.  First to show that I could, then to show I could do more, then to win. 

For me, this is a theme I carry throughout my life and those who know me well, see it.  

- Growing up it was baseball. I lived and breathed the sport.  Through hard work and after about 6yrs, I made it onto team Wisconsin.

- In high school it was baseball, weightlifting and marketing through a program called DECA, where I reached the National level.  

- In college it started as baseball, but switched over as triathlon grabbed my interest. It was taking on a 30/hr week job, training 30-40(yes too many)hrs per week, being very social Wink and taking 15-18 credits, while getting into the school of Ed.  I wasn't a genius, but it was a good challenge.

- Post college it started as being a great athlete at the professional level.  Something that I am still working toward and am now almost through year 10 in the sport.  Like most of you, this sport did NOT come easy to me.  People look at me and say, WOW you race so fast, you are so gifted.  While I realize that I am not limited by my genes (except my right leg Tongue), most of my success has come through 10yrs of 45wks per year, dedicated to excellence... that's 450 weeks of consistent training.  Take that times an average of 25hrs per week and you have over 11,000hrs of training. Put that into anyone in our sport and they will be doing just fine.

- It has now shifted to being great, while being balanced.  Growing the amazing team that I have a vision for.  This will likely take 3-4 years.  Winning Ironman races, starting in 12 days. Buying a house, in the spring of 2013...and being a great partner to someone...add in family down the road a little ways.

I have done a lot of reflecting in my experiences and all I can say is that I feel that I do have it pretty well. Yes, I have created everything by myself (with support, of course), but it gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and reward.  I get to REALLY experience life; to travel, meet amazing people and get follow and do what makes me genuinely feel happy.

I am still very young, as most of you will agree, but I am realizing that life flies by.  I am 30 in just about a month and my body, though strong, does not do what it did at 25, or at 20...however, my mind does so much more.  I have realized that life is short and we are not entitled to tomorrow. We can justify almost anything with a thousand excuses. I have also realized that life is a series of choices and it is up to us to choose.  This is the best and worst part of it.

When it comes down to why I race, why I live the life that I do, it's because I love it and I know just how rare (and hard) it is for people to find that. Life is an ongoing process and journey and I may move on or even shift my focus, who knows. The one thing I do know is that I'll welcome it as I pursue the challenge of really living!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Taper Time

Around this time every year for the past decade, I start to get a little more excited than I typically do for my Ironman taper.  There is something special about Ironman Wisconsin.  Most people say it's because I know people out there on course, or because I grew up here.  I think that is part of it, but I also think that this race is something special for me because it was my first...and we all know about what that means!

I train on this course every day.  Each time out there I gather more and more energy, visualizing the race that I believe is possible, learning every up and downhill and figuring out what I am going to do in every scenario that could possibly arise.  Even then, being open to expecting the unexpected.

I have had some of my best training sessions on these roads.  Breakthrough days when I set the pavement on fire.  THESE are the days that I will be drawing from.

Then there is the support.

My family, who never once wavered in their belief of what was and is possible. They have been amazing and something that I will use when I am the supporter.

My friends.  From those who I haven't seen in 10 years and send me good luck messages, to those who I regularly interact with in this sport. They are the ones on bike throughout the day, yelling their heads off, giving encouragement and letting me know what is going on around me.

My team. This group inspires me every day!  From those who are upbeat and peppy when I am not, to those who show determination and make breakthroughs that they never thought possible.  They keep things in perspective for me.

Bib #2

#2, #2, # there is only one way to go from here!  I am motivated, excited and we all can relate to the analogy of the carrot and the rabbit.  I am not the carrot, I am the rabbit...and I am very hungry to get where I know I belong and to get what I know is mine!

See you all out there!!