Triathletes are born

(pic above taken at MIM- keith, lauri, melanee, sandy, amanda, emily, bevan, karen, steve, summer, stephanie, star, grace, jeremy, brandy, niel, ashley, stacey, henry, katie, teresa, brad, mimi ; teammates missing from pic: katherine, lindsey, laura, dave, steven, penny)

Wow!  What an interesting couple of months.  It seems like just yesterday that we were starting our triathlon training group and now it’s already over.  I’m actually sad to see it go.  I really thought that after 3 months of 7-day work weeks and keeping up with 3 disciplines for 30 people instead of 1, I would be ready to move on to something else but I’m not!  I’m really going to miss this group.  The past few months have been a ton of fun.

I sat down with the group on Day 1 and told them I would be expecting a lot out of them; that we’re no longer training for one discipline, but for three.  I was honestly concerned about how this would go over with everyone.  Although I understand that everyone has a life outside of the tri group, I also know that in order to be successful, you have to put in the time.  This meant I was going to have to really stay on everyone about their workouts.  (trust me, i hate having to feel like a nag just as much as they hate me being a nag)

This group was used to 3-4 runs per week and here I was expecting them to have 2 swims per week, 3 bikes per week, and 3 runs per week….at a minimum.  This is a lot!  Our weekends were going to have to be our time to get some long workouts in so our Saturday’s were dedicated to running or bricks and our Sunday’s became our time to do our long bike rides.  Everyone in the group has a job and lots of people have kids but they made it work!  I can happily report, they were pretty dedicated to their workouts….which makes my job a lot easier (and more fun!)!

I have been impressed every single week with this group.  I’ve witnessed people go from not being able to swim half the length of a pool to swimming hundreds of yards at a time.  I’ve seen people progress on the bike in ways they didn’t know they could.  I’ve watched their running improve as we’ve tackled bridge repeats, speed work, and bricks on a regular basis.  I’ve noticed leaner and more muscular bodies.  But, most importantly of all, I’ve been so proud to watch the group really become a team.  They’ve been so incredibly supportive of one another.  My favorite thing about my running groups has always been watching friendships grow between people that would have never even known each other had they not joined the group.  This group took that and ran with it!  (i’m sure it helped that we were together a LOT!)

Keith and I were so excited heading down to MIM.  It’s been so fun and inspiring to watch people truly face their fears and go head first into this training.  We knew some people were terrified but we also knew they would surprise themselves.  I LOVE race day!  There’s nothing more gratifying as a coach than watching people conquer a new goal, whether it be attempt a race for the first time, PR an old race, or whatever.  The race is the icing on the cake.

We had dinner Friday night with a lot of the group who had gone down to Tunica the night before.  I really enjoyed how laid back this felt.  There were some nervous nellies but I think it did everyone some good to just hang out and not talk too much about the race.  Saturday morning came and Keith and I wanted to be at transition before anyone got there…you know how nervous I get when my group is racing and I just wanted to be sure everyone had everything they needed.  I did body marking for the group (and a few random people who asked me to do theirs too) while Keith pumped tires.  I was surprised at how calm everyone seemed.  I really think it helps so much to have the whole group to lean on.  We went on for our picture (yes, first time EVER that we’ve had everyone doing a particular race show up for the picture!) and then off they went.  I had an emotional moment as they all walked away.  I really felt like i had kicked all my little birdies out of the nest and I just had to hope they could fly!

Fortunately for them (and me!), they could!  I hated not being able to stand at the canal and see people swim by but i was so afraid I would miss them and then they wouldn’t have anyone at the swim finish so I left Keith at the canal and I ran to the transition area.  I managed to see all but 3 come out of the water..somehow people just slipped by without me recognizing them.  I was so excited to see every single one of them come out of the water and, without a thought, head straight into transition and move on to the bike.  I believe by now Keith was near the bike out so he and I were texting back and forth to try to keep up with where everyone was.  I was really proud to see everyone race their transitions even when i’m sure they would have rather laid down and taken a nap.  After everyone got out of the water, I went to the bike in and was able to see most everyone.  I started having people come in from the run finish so I ran over there while Steve and Toby stayed at the bike in to support our last couple who were still out on the bike.

I am so proud of the whole group.  Several had swim experiences that I know they would rather forget but they still managed to get out of that water and move on.  Many wished the bike hadn’t been so windy but they still worked and pushed and finished with great times.  Katie even had to get off her bike to assist a lady who was having a seizure but she didn’t let this get her too frazzled.  The run was tough for all but everyone was able to push through the pain and crossed the finish line as a successful triathlete!

Saturday’s race was a huge success and it was time to move on to Sunday’s race.  Emily, Steve, and Keith were racing and all felt pretty good that morning.  I absolutely loved how many teammates stayed to cheer them on and how many even drove back down from Memphis.  I know this meant a lot to them, as it did me.  This really proved that we’re not jut a group, but a team and we have the best team spirit around.

I must say, it was much easier keeping up with 3 people in a race than 19!  I was able to see Keith come out of the water, Emily and Steve go out on the bike, all come in on the bike, go out on the run, and finish the race!  It was hot and they were struggling but each of them finished with a smile on their face and with another Olympic distance tri under their belt.

My props go out to every single person who has been in this training group, even those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to race.  Triathlons aren’t easy.  The training is tough and the races are unpredictable.  I’m inspired by every single person in the group to get better at each of the disciplines, show up for workouts even when i’d rather be sleeping, and sign up for tri’s even when i feel a little nervous about the distances!

Summer tri season, here we come!!


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