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Beating the Demons – Chapter 8

coach joe bio IMW 2013by Coach Joe

Life. It’s funny. Sometimes we can’t figure it out and sometimes we think we got it nailed. Most of us spend our whole lives trying to figure it all out. One of the things I love about our sport is how it provides the perfect sandbox to find ourselves. To push ourselves to places that we just don’t want to go. To open up our soul to its deepest level.   Sometimes beating us down to where we can’t even think because the pain is too difficult to process. Where there is just no place to hide. Right to the edge of existence as we know it. It’s there, at this edge, where we must decide to play or fold. The inflection point to either find the courage to push through to the other side, to things we don’t know that we don’t know about ourselves, and become a better us. Or to fold and continue to carry our current demons that keep us from true success.

“On occasion I have crossed the threshold of my potential, and standing there, have seen ten-thousand places where I have not yet been. Therefore, I will not look back. I will not question and I will not doubt. I have nothing to fear on this side of it, and here again at the edge of it I will take a deep breath, and I will go forward.” – Iron Wil

As many times as I’ve walked over this edge, I’m still amazed at how powerful it is and how much I learn each time I go over it. Recently, at Ironman Arizona, I was surprised how quickly the opportunity for growth surfaced. I thought I knew what was going to happen that day.

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heather runningby Heather G.

It was the Saturday before Ironman Wisconsin and things were starting to get real. The months of early morning swims, six hour bike rides (sometimes with drinks after), followed by brick after brick, were finally coming to a head. This goal of an Ironman, something I couldn’t have imagined a few years back when I did my first sprint triathlon, was finally right in front of me. I have done my fair share of marathons and in 2013 did my first 70.3, but what I was about to embark on was huge! I was definitely ready but definitely very anxious.

Maybe if my knee didn’t start hurting three weeks before the race (giving me no running practice leading up to the race), I would have felt a lot better, but I just had no idea what was about to happen.

Being a planner, I had a game plan for my time for the Ironman. I wanted to finish, first of all, but I would love to finish in under 13:30. In my pre-race talk with Coach Joe, I told him I was consistent in my swim with 1:20, figured my bike time would be 6:15-6:30 and then my run would be 5:00 plus transition times. Now, I know he thought my bike time was aggressive and he said that a five hour marathon is considered great in an IM. But, even knowing this, it was still my first time and with my knee I had no idea what to expect.

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Marathon Coaching and TrainingBy Amy H.

October 12, 2014 … How did I ever get to this day? Seems like a simple question at first, since it’s just a date on a calendar and just 150 days after April 14, 2014. Why are these dates of any significance to anyone? They are the dates that I signed up for the journey that lay ahead and the day I ran my first Chicago Marathon.

I truly believe that a marathon is not a race, it is a journey that completes on Race Day. When you talk to others who have completed the 26.2 miles, you will find some who relish in the day alone and don’t love the training but do it because it gets them to their goal of Race Day. For me Race Day approached and it was bittersweet, for I have truly loved every one of the last 150 days of final preparation. Because everyone knows that the start of preparing for your first marathon starts long before you sign up for it. It starts with the dream, the possibility of a marathon. I called it my impossible dream.

Seriously, 26.2 miles is a long way and at times can seem impossible to accomplish. But Coach Suzy was there, as my Personal Coach, guiding and reassuring, with her training plan built for me and my journey.

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laura and suzy at finishby Laura C.

After a year of preparation, 4am wake-up calls, long rides on the weekend away from my family, and numerous other sacrifices, the week of Ironman Wisconsin had finally come! I spent the week leading up to the race meeting with Coach Suzy, packing, double checking my bike, eating as healthy as possible, and staying hydrated. My family, friends, and neighbors showered me with support through signs on my door and in my yard, well wishes, and good luck cards. I was excited in a nervous way!

Friday – I headed up to Madison, went to packet pick-up and got checked into our hotel. After my time at Monona Terrace, I went back to the hotel and starting packing all of my gear bags before my family arrived. Friday was Mike’s 40th birthday, so we went out for dinner with my Mom and sister and kids. I felt bad that after he had sacrificed so much this year in support of my Ironman dream, his 40th birthday also fell on this weekend. But Mike is such a good sport, always putting others first and he took it in stride like the rock he is!

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Pat and Coach Suzy at Chicago Triby Pat C.

I’ve often wondered if I would write a blog for this space and if I did, what would I say and where would I start?

Start at the beginning, I guess. No, not that beginning as that’s a long time ago, but the beginning of my personal triathlon journey.

What I knew about triathlon was what I remembered from watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I would watch in awe as mostly male athletes swam in the ocean waves, rode their bikes over hot as coal roads and then ran a full marathon. They were amazing athletes, but were they nuts?

My journey with triathlon began about three years ago. At that point I was an over 50, overweight, once widowed grandma who could barely keep up with a very cute two year old grandson. I did not want to be that grandma. I was sick and tired of carrying around all the extra mourning weight. It was time to live as I had much to be grateful for and it was time to lose weight.

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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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