Currently viewing the category: "Athlete Stories"

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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white river marathonby Bob H.

2014 seems to be the year of the destination race! In April, Pat and I travelled to California with Drew and Laurie for the world famous (and extremely tough) Big Sur Marathon. In June, Pat and I drove to Duluth, Minnesota for Grandma’s Marathon (also world famous).

For our third marathon, we chose…Cotter, Arkansas?? OK, so it isn’t exactly a destination race, but the White River Marathon for Kenya is an excellent race. The race is well run with a mostly flat course. It’s a great place to set a PR or qualify for Boston.

Unfortunately for me, neither of those things happened, but it was my best marathon of the year and I was able to slay a couple of demons. I have had trouble for a couple of years running a good, strong race and I have psyched myself out at the last few marathon attempts. At this marathon, I ran strong most of the way and felt like I was in control of my physiological and psychological states throughout the weekend.

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jada and russ at finish lineby Jada B.

It’s dawn on Thanksgiving morning. There is already a bit of snow on the ground and apparently this Thanksgiving in Chicago will be one of the coldest in 58 years so they say … but sitting with a cup of coffee and sweet potatoes cooking for the meal later in the day, I am grateful.

This is supposed to be my race report from Ironman Wisconsin 2014 but already I can tell this report has a deeper meaning for me. It is not about my splits or the logistics of the race so much as it is an attempt to capture the essence of Ironman. I have been a runner since high school and I have had that desire to compete in my bones ever since I can remember. My father was a collegiate athlete and coach and I guess some things rubbed off. And I learned early of the life lessons to be gained by competing in sports.

My first Ironman was a story of survival. I was unsure of my ability to even complete the race, intensifying the emotions and basically scaring the poo out of me. I was a nervous wreck. The day brought amazing highs and painful lows filled with pain and exhaustion, but I finished, which was the goal. In preparation for this, my second IM, there was a different plan and a different set of reasons for signing up to once again meet my demons.

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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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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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