On Friday, I made the decision to ship my own bike to the race and dropped it off at Trek Highland Park. This meant more decisions, changing out my cassette to a climbing cassette, renting race wheels or not, and choosing how to ship it. I need to learn how to take my bike apart, pack it and put it back together. This will save a ton of money on shipping since I have to actually pay someone to do these things for me. Trek wanted $100 to pack it up and another $100 to put it back together, that is crazy. I also realized that with the big box I need to rent a bigger car so all of a sudden my car rental goes up. I think I may purchase a bike box so I don’t have to rent or beg to borrow one. (I think that would make a mighty fine Christmas present) hint hint (Tom). Someone recommended this one: travel bag. So Paddy has been dropped off and is currently being re-taped and tuned up for Saturday’s Leadman Race. This time I’m getting black tape, the white is nice and all but man does it get dirty! It no longer looks pretty after a day of riding. I guess I have dirty hands?
I finally saw The Hunger Games. I thought the movie was a little lame compared to the book. I guess it was just missing her introspection and I think they miscast Peeta. I’m sure this is old news to people.
Saturday morning was the marathon group’s longest training run – a 20 miler. I woke up bright and early at 4 and got up 4:30, only to discover that I had a sore throat. If you have been reading my blog you know that prior to every big race I get sick. Apparently this time was not different except that I got it a few days earlier. My plan for today was to not tire myself out for the race and from the cold so I was going to run 9 miles then do the rest of the coaching on bike. However, as I started running with people I couldn’t leave them I wanted to help see them through it. So I kept running. I ran back and forth running with people at their various paces, everything from a 7:45 pace to a 15:00 min pace. It is so hard for me to alter my paces like that. My body has difficult picking up speed immediately after doing a 15:00 mph pace. You learn though, as a coach, that it is not about you it’s about your athletes and what it takes to get them to the finish line with a smile on their face! Everyone finished, pretty elated and we all went for brunch afterwards. I loved hearing all their stories about how they felt, the good, bad and the ugly. Sometimes on these slower runs I think about doing Ultramarathons, I’m almost through Ultramarathoner’s Scott Jurek’s book which is probably where I’m getting this crazy notion from. I am at the point in the book where he gets Plantar Fasciitis, sort of good to know that even an Elite runner like him can get it and survive. (Not that I was happy he got it but still made him seem more human). I am going to make it my goal to do one someday. Saturday afternoon led to a wonderful Italian dinner with Tom. Lots of good food and wine!
Sunday we got up early and headed out to the South suburbs. Friends of mine Bryant and Dave, also triathletes, put together a casual ride from their house in the burbs. It was such a blast. We headed out along a trail and some roads and about 29 miles later we ended up in a town where one of their family members lived. We greeted with a meal of wonderful quiches, fruit and banana bread and all sort of treats. The best rest stop I’ve ever attended by far! We then had the choice of getting a ride back or riding. I thought for sure Tom would choose to get a ride since until then his longest ride was 30 miles. He surprised me by saying that he would ride back. So there we went back along the trail me on my commuter bike and him on his hybrid with shocks too boot! I must hand it to him he did a great job. Who needs a fancy bike?! Not Tom. Back at the start we were treated like Kings and Queens with a buffet of chicken, pork and beef kebobs, potato salad, corn on the cob, garlic bread and of course we had coolers of beer. It wouldn’t have been a trimonster event without the beer. For dessert we had mini-cheesecakes with chocolate chip shell and apple bunt cake. Awesomeness! None of us wanted to leave. But alas all good things had to come to an end plus there was that work thing in the morning and I could feel my cold getting worse.
I got home, unpacked and inhaled some vitamin C and cold medicine and went to bed. The first time in a while I remember going to bed before 10! I was out cold!
The best part about the weekend was an email that I got from one of our marathoners. A year ago this woman would never have dreamed of running a mile this past weekend she ran 20 miles. She has Type 2 diabetes. She wrote to tell me that she finished the 20 miles and how good she feels, I wrote her back and asked her about her diabetes, she said that since she started exercising a year ago and started the marathon program that she’d lost 60 pounds and the she was reducing her medication for diabetes gradually! I wanted to share with you the words that she used as she describes running and the impact it has on her.
“Runners are very passionate about running and bodyfit. We’re so supportive to one another on the road. I love the culture. I love pushing my body and just seeing so many people out here is constant inspiration. The private time of strength training and stretching, listening to my body, parts I would’ve never tried to move for fear of pain. Yeah. I cry in joy. I think you guys hear this all the time. Personal trainers hear it, but we, the participants are privately introduced to our-selves. It’s an individual experience no words can describe.”
I think she puts into words how a lot of us feel about running. It is such an individual sport yet somehow the running community inspires us to do more and to push ourselves a little further. The feeling of getting back from that run that you thought you couldn’t do is like a drug that can’t be bought.