Currently viewing the category: "Athlete Stories"

jeff and max boston medalsby Jeff P.

The life of an endurance athlete is filled with brief moments of exhilarating highs spaced by long periods of tedium, self doubt, misery and a never ending quest to find enough sleep. Throw in regular doses of life with work, kids, and house maintenance and it’s enough to make even the most seasoned athlete a mental mess. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The highs have been beyond belief. Yet, I have discovered more about myself stumbling through my bedroom in the darkness of the early winter morning hours then hobbling across the finish line of the greatest races. The journey never begins at the start line of a race watching the countdown of the digital race clock. It begins months before staring at the digital alarm clock bargaining for five more minutes of sleep.

Six months prior to the start of the Boston Marathon, I was at the start of the Naperville Half Marathon. It was my last race prior to a welcomed respite before I started the long off season of run training to get me to Boston. It had been a long race season of extended training with my “A” race being Ironman Mont Tremblant early in August.

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Jim at Circular Logic Marathonby Jim R.

It was an interesting road training and running a spring marathon this year and for a time it looked like it would never happen. It started with the Cowtown Marathon in sunny warm Dallas on March 1st, or so Bob H. and I thought. The Cowtown Marathon actually was turned into a half marathon thanks to a major ice and snowstorm to hit Dallas two days before our race. We ended up racing in West Lafayette, IN, in record cold. Through it all, we kept the Experience Triathlon motto in mind: “Sunny and 80.”

A little bit about Dallas before I get into the real reason for the blog title. Flying into Dallas in the ice and snow storm was interesting but paled in comparison to the 25 mile drive to our Ft. Worth hotel with the roads covered with an inch of ice. Now we Chicagoans are a tough breed and scoff at a little snow but trying to drive on ice with the people from Dallas was a trip in and of itself! Driving on ice is nothing we were prepared for and it took us over two and a half hours to drive the distance to the Expo. When we got there, we walked into a 200,000 square foot convention center completely by ourselves with the exception of about seven volunteers. It was really starting to get a little freaky. We got our race packages and went to the hotel room and all the while the snow and ice were still coming down. With the weather being what it was, we opted for dinner in the hotel and a good night’s sleep.

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“Occasionally in life you meet someone that you somehow know will make a difference in the lives of so many people” – Coach Joe

 

 

Shamrock shuffle 2by Nancy A.

There’s nothing like the first running event of spring. For me, it’s usually the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. But the Shamrock Shuffle usually kicks off something else: the end of my Chi-bernation. Typically, my workouts fall off, and my eating ramps up somewhere around the holidays and doesn’t end until the Shamrock Shuffle. Each year just a few days before the race, I have to find—and then dust off—my running shoes. Then I have to actually go in my crawl space to dig out the windbreaker, fleece running tights and all the other stuff I intended to use on my wintery runs. Finding my gear is about all I do to prepare to run five miles. The morning of the race, I feel pretty good about myself, because I ran a mile the day before without dying, and didn’t drink all weekend long—not even a glass of wine. On race day, I suffer through it and come in around the hour mark, pleased with myself that I only walked once and didn’t stop at the port-o-potty mid run. That’s good start to the season, right?

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alyse at tri rockby Alyse K.

Athletes train and compete for many reasons – the sheer love of competition, the satisfaction of achieving a personal best, or the feeling of pushing their bodies to the limits of their minds. Team camaraderie, coaches who inspire and motivate, and group workouts filled with laughter that infiltrates our souls all feed athletes’ fuel tanks.

But the one reason that tops my list of why I train and compete is that of stress relief. We all have demands on our time and lives. We all have stressful situations we can control, and those we can’t. Through sage advice we learn we can’t control race day weather – was that Coach Joe I just heard? Learning what I can and can’t control is a triathlon and life lesson I need to practice again, and again, and again. The more I run during cold weather outside, the more I bike on the those windy days when my hands are numb, and my back is sore, and well, let’s just leave out the rest of the uncomfortable body parts, and the more open water swims I take on will prepare me for whatever conditions race day brings. Life lesson = don’t take the path of least resistance now. Embracing the discomfort in the present will pave the path for better tolerance of future stressors. I need to practice, practice, practice this in life.  :-)

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Naperville based Experience Triathlon is a leader in the endurance services industry. Our tag line, “Where being a winner is as important as being the winner,” highlights our belief that training, racing and life are about the journey, not just the end results. We provide endurance coaching services, classes, clinics, clubs, camps, race events, nutrition coaching, massage therapy and performance testing to athletes in the Chicago area and around the world. MORE

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