Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's Not About The Race

I have been training for the Vineman Full Distance Triathlon now for 9 months- I can't believe how the time has flown by. This has been the most amazing journey of my life, and while I am excited about the race coming up in less than 2 weeks, I almost don't even care about how well it goes. I have already learned and accomplished so much, met and worked alongside so many amazing people- that the race is just the cherry on top of the biggest and best ice cream sundae ever (please excuse my food-analogies, I am training after all).

Brining it in for a "Go Team!" at Vineman Training Weekend
 Each of my teammates on IronTEAM has brought their own unique perspective and story to the melting pot of the group. It has been so inspiring to hear all of the individual reasons why each of us signed up: to honor a friend, to fight the disease effecting their family, to meet new people, to accomplish a personal goal- there are so many stories, and I am thankful to all of my teammates for sharing them, because they are something that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I will carry with me these examples of personal strength, growth, love, loss, kindness, compassion, and determination to draw from for years to come in my times of weakness, or to share with others when they need inspiration.
Karen (Bad-ass, and Fundraiser Extraordinaire), and me at Wildflower

We have trained so hard for so long, this has really become a lifestyle- and I wouldn't have it any other way. We are not just triathletes, we are ironman triathletes, and still more, we are athletes working hard to support a cause greater than ourselves, and pooling all of our individual unique talents to get the job done, and support each other along the way. This is so much more than an athletic club, so much more than a hobby, this has become a family. I am thankful every day for all of the people that I have met and all of the amazing experiences that we've shared.
Ice bath with Zoey the Zebra
If I had been told 2 years ago that in 2011 I would ride a bicycle from Anaheim to San Diego in one day, swim mile-long laps in the Pacific Ocean every Sunday, consume nearly 300 oz of fluids in 24hrs, wear head-to-toe spandex in public, and look forward to jumping into a bathtub filled with ice, I would not have believed it. These past 9 months have changed my perspective in so many ways, and I have pushed my physical limits to where I feel stronger now than I have ever felt before.  They say this sport is half physical and half mental, and I completely agree. I have pushed myself mentally and emotionally past any limits I might have thought I had- and for me, that is even more rewarding than knowing that I can "easily" swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, or run a marathon. We IronTEAM-ers can do anything. We make a plan, we follow through, and we love every last second of it.

And so, while I am giddy with the anticipation of my race coming up, and the culmination of all of the time, energy, money, blood, sweat, and tears that has gone into preparing for it, I know that whatever happens on raceday, it's not about the race. It's about this incredible journey to get there. It's about the people we are raising money to help, the people who's struggles and memory we want to honor, the people we have met who have indelibly touched our lives... and its about the people we have become in the process.

A special thank you to our coaches- Brad, Jason, Arkady, Rob, and Andie: It may be true that without us, you might be "five idiots in a room telling people what to do", but without you, we would be 70+ people without a mission or a plan, an orchestra with no conductor, a herd of mini-goats with no shepherd. Thank you for all you do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Everything I need to know in life I learned from IronTEAM...

-Go Team! Never underestimate the amount of help you can be to someone by just being there.

-Manage expectations. Always under-promise and over-deliver

-DNF is not an option.  Regardless of who you pass, or who passes you, in the end you are really only competing with yourself.

-Avoid the tramp stamp: Always wear sunscreen.

-Ride the glide. Don't make things harder than they need to be.

-Self-SAG. Always do your best to be self-sufficient.

-In-N-Out. You get out what you put in. No sandbagging, no excuses.

-Love your torture devices. Listen to your body, but do not fear pain. Respect what it tells you about yourself, and take steps to fix the problem- whether that means something internal or external.

-VMTW. Stay hydrated.

-Tower 26. When the water gets rough, just keep swimming.

-PCH. Take a moment to look around once in a while, appreciate your surroundings, and enjoy the view. Even in the worst moments [John Tyler hill] there is something to appreciate.

-It's just another day at the office. Don’t panic, make a good plan and sick to it.

-Swim buddies. It is much easier to be fearless when you need to be strong for someone else.

-Sharktopus. Don't avoid something that scares you. Do it because it scares you. Asses the risks, don't be reckless, and then push your limits. It is always worth it.

-Body marking. Despite all evidence to the contrary, most things get better with time. Youth is valuable, but fleeting- and no match for wisdom, preparation, and experience.

-Heat 101. Plan for the worst, expect the best.

-Sighting. Take the long view- this moment, this week, this season are not all that matters. Keep it in perspective.

-The Injured List. Be patient, some things just take time.

-Recovery. Get enough sleep. Respect your need for downtime.

-Mission. Don't do anything for purely selfish reasons.

-WFTW. Take nothing for granted. Every day, every single moment is a gift- even the bad ones. Revel in how good you feel and how lucky you are.

-WWBD? He would do another loop, add another mile, be cautiously optimistic, get uncomfortable, then order it protein style. Why? Because he loves us.

-If it were easy, we'd call it marathon. The things most worth accomplishing are often the most difficult.

-IronTEAM gets *it done! You are incredible, and you can do anything you set your mind to.