Thank you 2012! You’ve Been Good To Me!!

Thank you 2012! You’ve Been Good To Me!!

by Cathy O.

You’re probably wondering why I’m thanking the year already when the year isn’t even over yet, right?  While some of my colleagues are continuing on their racing season with the Naperville Triathlon in August or even the HyVee Triathlon in September, I, on the other hand, am done with my racing season.  I’ve had a full load this year and I topped it off with the Racine Half Ironman on July 15th.  I wanted to take this time to reflect on my year and thank all the people who made my season a complete success!

My training year began last October when I began training for the Disney Marathon in January.  This was a very fun race and I learned something new about myself that day.  I learned that I’m very focused when I run.  I’m so focused that I guess I don’t pay any attention to my surroundings.  My buddy, Jim Riga, who also ran the race, kept asking me afterwards how I liked going through a tunnel where you could see people making clothes.  I didn’t know what he was talking about.  I never recalled going through any tunnel other than the Cinderella Castle.  Thanks for making me laugh, Jim, every time you tell me that story!

Next on my race list was participating at the Ft. Worth, TX Cowtown Challenge with my brother and his work colleagues.   We raced a half marathon and ran through the Stockyards and other parts of Ft Worth.  This race had some of the best post race foods:  hot chicken noodle soup and soft serve ice cream.  YUM!!!  The soup hit the spot since it was cold that day and the ice cream is a given.  I’ll eat ice cream anytime of the day.  I had so much fun racing with my brother.  We ran together for the first 9 miles until I decided the let the legs fly. But I will always remember those 9 miles with my bro!

The month of March brought the St Paddy’s Day 5k race in Naperville.  I was able to test my limits with my speed that day.  I was fortunate to be able to race with my friends, Steve M. and Stephanie L.  They also had good runs.

Then came the month of May.  The Mini Marathon in Indianapolis was scheduled two weeks prior to the Galena Triathlon.  Oh boy!  That was a busy month for me since I really try not to book races too close together, but I couldn’t resist signing up for the Mini Marathon since my sister was participating as well.  She did the 5K walk and I ran the half marathon.  Another fun race!  All participants ran one lap of the Indy 500 Speedway.  Awesome!  The entire speedway was blaring with loud, upbeat music so I couldn’t resist running fast.

Galena was hot!  Holy cow!  The run was brutal but knowing that there were a large number of Experience Triathlon folks representing made it all worth the pain and sweat.  And how about those hills?   That’s what makes Galena so special and challenging!

Next up:  Pleasant Prairie.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  The water was great and the weather was fabulous.  I was a little disappointed that the Olympic distance bike portion was shortened a few miles, but my attitude quickly changed as I realized I could just power it out on the bike and see what was left for the run.  It all came together and I had a good race.

Then there was Racine!  This is one of my favorite race venues and it’s not just because 5 time world champion, Craig Alexander races here. 🙂  The swim in Lake Michigan, at least in the past two years, has been perfect conditions for racing.  Smooth as glass and 69 degrees!  Woot!  My fear of swimming in choppy waters was alleviated that day.  The bike portion is fun and fast.  I still vividly remember seeing Crowie cycling towards home and as he passed me, I yelled, “GO CROWIE!” as loud as I could.  I hope he heard me!  I wish I could stop here but I have to mention the darn run portion.  I mentioned that Galena was hot earlier, but there is just no comparison at Racine.  My run portion began around 11am or so, at which the temperature was already near the mid 80’s, and after a 56-mile bike ride, I was hot!  But I have to remember that it’s all about finishing.  As a team, we all accomplished getting to that finish line.  So I must say, “Congratulations to all the ET Racine finishers!!”  It was tough but worth every second!

Here’s a fun fact:  All my races were PR’s!  It pays tribute to my coach, Joe LoPresto.  Without him, I would not be where I am today.  He inspired me from the very beginning.  I still remember our run together, Joe, where I was struggling with work and exercise and you popped me right out of it.  You inspire me everyday to improve and to challenge myself and for that I’m grateful.  I can’t believe the improvements I’ve made mentally and physically just within the past year of racing. How many times have we heard people say they don’t think they could ever race or participate in a triathlon?  But here I am racing in Half Ironman races like it’s part of my routine.  I love it!!!  It just proves how good you are!  Thanks Joe!

Thanks also to our Team Dietitian, Laurie Schubert, who always gives me the confidence I need in order to succeed on race day.  My race nutrition plans were perfect, Laurie!  Everything went as planned and I always appreciate your help and guidance.

Sarah Wangerin, ET’s massage therapist, did wonders on my legs.  Thanks for putting up with my stubborn, tight quads, Sarah!  I’m looking forward to my next appointment.

I could never write a blog story without thanking the entire coaching staff at Experience Triathlon, my many colleagues and friends, and the world famous ET cheering crew, who will argue that the racers have it harder than they do.  I beg to differ.  Remember, the racers have it easy since they only need to focus on themselves all day long.  The ET cheering crew has to focus on ALL the racers all day long.  That’s much harder!  Thanks everyone for a great 2012!

Next stop:  Ironman Wisconsin 2013… Bring it on!!!

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