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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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vicky at nationals with medalby Vicky T.

This was going to be “my” year. Having qualified for Nationals by winning my age category last September, I was exceedingly excited to be able to race the course in Milwaukee for the 2nd time. I had high aspirations to try and beat my Personal Best from 2007. If I could do that, based on the times from last year’s Nationals results, there was a slight possibility that I could qualify for the World Championship and represent Team USA. I set my sights on a red white and blue kit.

Pre-race, everything went as smooth as could be. My closest friends were there to cheer me on. My wonderful, supportive husband transported m and my equipment to the start. I had my beautiful Shiv waiting for me in transition and fully expected to have my best bike split ever. I was ready for this swim. More ready than I’ve ever been thanks to Coach Joe.

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Bob at naperville triathlon presented by experience triathlonby Bob H.

Last year, I ended my triathlon season with the Pleasant Prairie Olympic distance triathlon. In that race, my plan was to swim and bike fairly easy and concentrate on the run, using the pace at which I was going to run my upcoming marathon. That race didn’t exactly come off as planned and I ended up struggling on the run, walking a lot and generally ruining my psyche for marathon season.

This year, I decided to run Big Sur and Grandma’s Marathons about 6 weeks apart. Neither race went quite as planned and I came out of the early season with serious doubts about ever being able to run well again.

Next on my plan was the Naperville Sprint Triathlon presented by Experience Triathlon. I had no specific pacing plan for the race. I just wanted to have fun with the race and try to work the run pretty hard. Mission accomplished!!

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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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