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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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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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