Becoming 140.6 Mile Suzy
Two weeks from today, after many months of training through blood, sweat and tears, I will toe up to the starting line at Ironman Wisconsin. This is a tribute to my Coach and the love of my life, Coach Joe LoPresto, for getting me ready to start and finish 140.6 miles in one day.
My journey began about 16 years ago. I started running for weight loss in between the birth of my 2 beautiful daughters. I joined a local running club and began my regiment of running about 3 miles 3 times per week. Over time, I became proficient in the art of talking while running, which eventually earned me the position of Social Director of the running club. I made lots of new friends, including a guy named Joe. Joe used to affectionately refer to me as “3 mile Suzy”.
During our runs and socials events, I remember listening to the stories the other athletes told about their marathons and triathlons. I thought it all sounded crazy and like something that I would never even consider doing in a million years. I thought, “I’ll stick with my 5K’s, thank you very much.”
In the early dawn hours of September 11, 2005, I found myself in a car heading north to Madison, WI to watch this guy named Joe compete in this race called the Ironman. Other than knowing that I’d see Joe and the other athletes swim, bike, and run (a lot!), I had absolutely no idea what was involved. What I saw that day changed my life forever.
I saw smiles, I saw tears, I saw determination and I saw pain. The emotion of the day was completely overwhelming. I knew I didn’t even begin to completely understand what was going on that illustrious day in Madison, yet something deep inside me told me that I needed to pay attention. Something deep inside me told me that I needed to follow this path called triathlon and this leader who came to be known as Coach Joe.
What an amazing ride it has been since that illustrious day back in 2005 when I watched Coach Joe compete in the same race that I will embark upon in 2 weeks time. What an amazing ride it has been since I crossed the finish line in Racine 2 short years ago. He can’t call me “3 mile Suzy” anymore, and I have him to thank for that.
Thank you, Joe. Thank you for pushing me out of bed (literally!) when I didn’t want to do that morning workout. Thank you for pushing me to keep up my pace when I was getting fatigued after 5 hours of riding. Thank you for shuttling my kids around so I could get my training in. Thank you for knowing exactly what to do when I tweaked this or that during my training. Thank you for everything.
“Push” by Madonna
You push me to go the extra mile
You push me when it’s difficult to smile
You push me, a better version of myself
You push me, only you and no one else
You push me
All I wanna do is cry
You push me
When it’s hard for me to try
You push me
When I do it for myself
You push me
Without you, I would not be the athlete, the coach, or the person that I have become. Without you, I would never have had the courage to begin this journey of preparing myself for one of the greatest endurance events in the world. Without you, I would never have been able to break out of my “3 Mile Suzy” mold and Become “140.6 Mile Suzy”.
Borrowing from one of your favorite lines when you talk about me, “I couldn’t have done it without you, Baby, and I wouldn’t want to!” 🙂
My 2013 Ironman Journey Articles by Coach Suzy:
Suzy Cerra is a USAT certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Suzy and the Experience Triathlon staff help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Suzy and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.