I must admit, I have been a bit AWOL for the past few months. Not for lack of trying, but thanks to good old writers block. But I am back and want to recap 2014. I promise not to bore anyone with a brag fest about myself, but rather just highlight the high’s and less of the lows of the year.
Excitement number 1 for 2014. My broken elbow bike injury from 2013 healed up nicely so I decided to hit the year hard. I started off with a bang by spending way too much money to sign up for the Triple Bypass Ride in Colorado. As noted in a previous post, my whole training season consisted of riding, riding, riding. As a result, I did in fact do the ride in July and yes, it was the hardest ride of my life thanks to 3 mountain passes and almost 12,000 feet of elevation. Since my body was already used to intense training, I decided it was time to do my first 70.3. I opted for the Pigman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After having a full year off of triathlons thanks to my elbow recovery, I had no idea what to expect. With the name alone, I figured it would be a country type race and I was right. Lake was absolutely beautiful and I found out very quickly during the race that I love 1.2 mile swims in open water. I am frustrated that I did not push myself more, but did not want to overdue for my first 70.3. The bike was fine, rolling country hills and less than smooth country highways with a slight breeze. I have no complaints about the 56 mile bike except it was just boring. I got spoiled in Colorado with amazing scenery and great company. But I have no complaints about my ride except legs were a bit heavy from only a week of recovery from Colorado. And then there is the run. Started off pretty solid and set a goal of stopping at each water stop on the 90 degree day to get fuel and walk til my hands were empty and then start running again. This method worked awesome until the turnaround halfway. My good ol injuries decided to make their appearance and bring some extra unwanted friends. So for about 6 miles I hopped, hobbled, gimped, walked, and jogged to the finish. I must say in retrospect, I knew going into this race that a half marathon was not going to be pretty since my IT bands tend to act up at mile six. But gosh darn it, I finished and can now say I have done a 70.3. Will I ever do one again or do an official Ironman 70.3? Maybe, but not quite sure. My true love is the bike, X-Terra, Olympic distance races, and coaching so not exactly sure what my future holds in store for me. But at least I went big in 2014.
2014 was a very big learning year for me. I needed some CEU’s for my triathlon coach certification, so rather than do something boring, I decided to expand my current knowledge base. I was fortunate enough to become Water Safety Instructor Certified (WSI). It was a long 2 days of classroom and pool instruction, but was well worth it. I feel like I am a much more proficient swim coach now and it even improved my own swim skills. Besides WSI, I was very fortunate to partake in IMBA’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 1 Ride Coach Course. Thanks to my awesome connections with the Trek Stores in Omaha and Papillion I found out that IMBA was coming to Omaha. I jumped on this immediately since I knew I wanted my 9 year old daughter to experience DEVO and figured she would want me as a coach. Plus I am always wanting to improve my own mountain bike skills and have clients who want me to take them out on the mountain bike. From the minute I walked in the classroom, I knew I was a bit out of my league with Cat 1 racers, elite racers, and two instructors with very impressive bios (former pro downhill racer and a snowboard/ski coach for the US Olympic team). After 2.5 days of classroom and on the bike training, I was one beat down girl both mentally and physically. I learned a lot of skills about my own bike skills and had to make a lot of improvements, realized that as much as I love my 1st edition Gary Fisher Sugar GS signed by Fisher personally, my bike is outdated and old school, but I PASSED the class! Boom, enough said.
Moving on, I am very big on giving back in the community. I try my darndest to volunteer at races and this year I went above and beyond and was not only a lead coach for Omaha DEVO but also for my daughter’s elementary running club. I have a knack for coaching kids and found it is very stressful, but very fun and rewarding at the same time. As a tennis coach I know that youth are the future of sports so it is vital to make it fun, get them involved, and learn a few skills at the same time. I must say the run club was a bit of challenge. 50 girls chatting and picking flowers while running is not ideal, but they ran. My daughter had a tough season due to foot issues, aka growing pains, but it was still a rewarding experience. I think both my daughter and I had more fun with DEVO. Any excuse to get on a bike is good for me. And there is nothing better than watching little kids rocking the mountain bike, hitting the jumps and berms, and learning how to properly shift and brake on dirt. It was by far the best volunteer experience I have ever had. Not to say there were no hurdles and folks butting heads a bit, but the end result was lots of kids having fun on mountain bikes.
No summary is not complete without talking about my awesome triathlon clients. The group I co-lead has grown by leaps and bounds this past year. I am amazed by the improvements my former clients have made and am extremely impressed by the accomplishments of the new folks. I have people from every walk of like and this past year is no exception. I have folks that do not know how to swim at all to those taking the podium in their age group. I have a unique group of people that tend to train for the shorter distance races such as sprint and Olympic due to work and family obligations, but regardless of the distance, I am extremely impressed by everyone’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to TRIATHLON. Without my awesome clients, I would not have a job. I am truly grateful for each and every person and look forward to what will come in 2015. I plan to have everyone set goals starting tomorrow. It may be as simple as to finish a triathlon without walking or PR in a race, but whatever their goals may be we will work to make them successful. I expect this to be a big year in triathlon, especially now that the industry is growing in Omaha and the midwest. If you are at a race, keep an eye out for my awesome Prairie Life triathletes!!!
No year cannot be complete without thanking those that have helped to support. I am fortunate at a coach and amateur athlete to have some awesome sponsors, ambassadors, and employment. Thank you for the support in 2014/2015:
Swiftwick Rudy Project FitFluentail Ride Live be Prairie Life Fitness Red Dirt Running Company Mott’s Active Ambassadors TYR Endurance Sport Vitality Sciences JUNK Bands Coeur Sports Race Omaha GoTribal Juice+
What to take away from 2014 is in order to have a great year, it is about the effort you put into it. Setting goals early are huge. Personally and as a coach I am not as big on numbers, gadgets, and all the extra bells and whistles. Our bodies are the primary machine. Treat them well, work em hard, challenge them, get outside the comfort zone, and for goodness gracious, just have fun! If it is not fun, it is not worth doing. And one thing that I do not mention enough, make sure to involve the family. Even if they do not have your interests, somehow try to find something you can all do together. Endurance sports are not for everyone and take a lot of time and training so make sure your support system is there to support you and way possible. Team support is vital, but family is essential.
So on that note, I bid you a farewell to 2014 from my adventurous family to yours and wish you well in 2015!
Folks, last night was the first official open water swim in Omaha, NE hosted by Race Omaha. Not only is it a great test of how winter training has gone, it gives you a chance to test out the wetsuit, acclimate to the water and strange things floating, get used to other swimmers, and just to get out the race jitters. I had not open water swam in over a year thanks to my injury last summer, but hopping in the lake felt awesome. I went in with the mentality that I was going to be a coach rather than an athlete and that is exactly what I was. I stayed with the end of the pack to sweep up the slower swimmers and to make sure they were ok. My main focus was my own triathlon group that I have been training for the past 11 weeks, but I also lent a hand to many other novice open water swimmers. One gal who I have known for a few years posted this on facebook today and felt I should share it:
“First open water swim is half excitement and happy adrenaline and half pure terror. This one was no different. It is ALWAYS a very humbling experience. Fellow Goat Kim Cottingham McSheehy was kind enough to loan me her shorty wetsuit ….it fit perfect on shore. Not constricting, maybe a little loose in spots but not much. I was excited to get in the water. I always start slow and sidestroke to the first buoy to allow my anxiety to pass, heart rate to settle in and breathing to relax. I usually visit with other swimmers until I get warmed up. I did just that and it was nice heading out with Heather Jenneman.
After the initial buoy I felt good, rolled over and began freestyle. Arms felt a little heavy because there was some looseness in the armpit area but not a biggie, I had taken on a bit of water in my suit but didn’t think much of it. Then Heather McCowen Dall swam up and asked if I was ok because I had a huge bubble of fabric on my backside. She was concerned for my safety and that I might take on too much water and have issues further out. Since Heather is a tri coach, I respect her opinion and know she would not mention it unless there was a valid concern……being the safety conscious swimmer I am, I reluctantly turned back toward shore. I knew it was the right choice because as I swam back I noticed more boginess. Damn, thought I had a suit I could fit in.
Did throw in the towel and get dressed? Nope, stripped of the suit and checked if there were any sleeveless exterra demos I could fit in…..nothing my size. Women’s only goes to xl and we all know how that went yesterday. They did however have lava pants……wetsuit pants. Hmmmmm, maybe that’s the answer. I tried an xl and they seemed to fit although the rise seemed a bit low. I like a higher “mom” rise but Heather went out with me while I tried them out. Seemed good at first but went out a bit more and came back they began to work their way down despite a drawstring. When I walked up the ramp I had a good ghetto sag and swimmer crack going! Gonna need to size those babies up to an xxl to go over my apple butt and dough belly. Yeah, it’s a great vision isn’t it? Add my smiley face yellow have a nice day minion swim cap and multicolor goggles and you know I looked HOT. Lol.
Also got back in without any wetsuit and figured I could go without if necessary but I really liked the buoyancy of the lava pants to navigate thru that f’ing mass of yucky seaweed. If anyone has a used pair of wetsuit pants that are a unisex size xl or xxl with a regular rise that I could try that would be awesome! I am glad Angie Boyer Zimmer could use my wetsuit I could not. I loved that suit but it did not love me back. Even though I didn’t get my full loop in, I had a good evening trying out new equipment, including my awesome new TYR polarized goggles from Red Dirt! Next week I will be mentally ready to go the full distance no matter what and hopefully score a well fitting pair of wetsuit pants.” Courtesty of Deb Bahr
I greatly appreciate the shout out from a friend and fellow triathlete. I say this over and over again to my folks, safety first, especially in the water. Do not mess with water, ever. If something feels off, get out and correct it. I also swam with a client who a few years ago had a near death experience in this exact lake. She was very nervous last night, but I had her only go to the first buoy, turn around, and repeat. Once she was comfortable, we went out together further and she was fine. Some of the nerves are just having confidence in the water, but never underestimate the lake. Water is and can be very dangerous, safety first.