I’m a Believer – My Journey to Border Wars 70.3
by Dick J.
Ok, so have you really ever eaten crow, or had a huge helping of humble pie???? Well this past year I am happy to say that I had a huge helping of both! You see, about a year ago I decided that I wanted to do a 70.3 half Ironman in honor of my 70th birthday. I had done half marathons, marathons, sprint and Olympic triathlons, but nothing like a 70.3 and knew I would need some help. I had been a member of the Experience Triathlon Club for a couple of years and decided that I needed to hire a coach to train me and Coach Joe undertook that daunting challenge. At this point it is important to know that for the prior nine years I had been a participant and marathon coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training and learned their style of training and used that method to train others. This system always included at least one workout a week with the entire team and coaches. That was how I was trained and how I thought training should be. So when Coach Joe and I first sat down to discuss training and his approach to it, I was more than a little doubtful; it was unlike everything I had learned! In his calm, even way he just said, “Trust me, it works!” I told him that I wasn’t quite sure, but that I would give it a try.
Here’s where the crow and pie come in! I couldn’t have been any more wrong!!!!!! In just a matter of weeks, I could feel a difference. Gone was my trusted “run/walk” strategy; no longer needed it. Each week I could feel myself getting better, stronger, faster, more confident. I gladly had to admit to Coach Joe that everything he said was right! It does work!!!!
My first half marathon this year was in Door County, Wisconsin. Guess what… Door County has hills, lots of them! Well, I set a new PR on the hilliest course I have ever run. At the Naperville Sprint Tri, I saw swim, bike and run times that I never dreamed of! Something was definitely working!!!!
Now came the 70.3 Border Wars Tri, which quickly morphed into a duathlon because of water quality. This is what all the training was about. I felt confident going into the race; I knew what I wanted to do and how to do it. As race day approached, the race conditions continued to change; it was going to be extremely hot and humid. So I changed my plans accordingly, added more hydration on both the runs and the ride, added more nutrition and resolved to take the first 5K a little slower than normal and to ease myself into the bike and keep a little in reserve for the half marathon. Remember what they say about the best laid plans???? Well, the 5K and the bike went about as well as I could have hoped, unfortunately the heat, humidity and the wind really took more out of me than I had expected and I went into the half marathon almost in survival mode. I started out with a run/walk strategy, stopping at every water station and re-filling my bottles. After about the first five miles I was reduced to almost completely walking the course, but I was going to finish. I think that I started to get a little dehydrated about mile 9-10; I could feel that I had stopped sweating, so I slowed down even more, made sure I drank what I could at the water stops and by the time I hit mile 12 I was starting to sweat again and was actually able to run (uphill of course) the last quarter mile or so to the finish. I completed the course in 7:22:17 and was not the last runner in. I achieved my goal: I FINISHED! I do believe without a doubt there is no way that I could have finished this race without Coach Joe and the other outstanding ET Coaches: Suzy, Drew, Cathy, Jim and especially Sarah, whose one simple tip during Compu-Training made all the difference in the world to my riding.
So to paraphrase the Monkees (kids, ask your parents about the Monkees): “I’m a Believer”!!! The ET Personal Coaching system works, believe it, use it, work it. The results will amaze you!