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!