Monday, September 17, 2012

Coach A is Going to Vegas!!

Coach Angela is excited to present at Club Industry on the topic of Targeting Endurance Athletes!  Heading to Club Industry on October 10th? 
Be sure to check out Angela's session:

Session Description:
Last year, over 467,000 Americans crossed a marathon finish line and USA Triathlon doubled its percentage of active members to 135,000. With marathon and multisport participation booming in the past decade, health clubs and trainers have a lucrative opportunity to tap into this growing market of endurance athletes. This session discusses the advantages of targeting this market, covers programming ideas and best practices, and provides guidance to trainers who would like to add endurance athletes to their repertoire. 

Click below for more info!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IM Wisconsin Weekend Recap: See you in 2013!

I came, I saw, it conquered me.  That about sums it up.  It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Madison.  My family and I drove up Saturday and had a suburbalicious dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube in Middleton (was so impressed by the restaurant in all it's Wisconsin glory that I have to give it a shout out here), turned in early and were up an at 'em to see the swimmers in the morning.

Our first vantage point was where the athletes run in and out of T1.   We had several friends racing, including Spark athlete Lori B, so the time went by quickly as we tried to scope everyone out.  We saw the first pros, the top age groupers and shortly after our friends started streaming out of the Monona Terrace building.   It was great to have everyone accounted for and see them on their way.

Once everyone was off on the bike we met up with our friend, Kevin, for breakfast.  He had come up to volunteer and register for the 2013 race.  We spent a while chit chatting about this and that and as the conversation unfolded I realized how excited I was for him, yet how jealous I was that he would be racing next year.  My race envy was back.   It was back bad.  And it was all I could think about the rest of the day.

After Alex took a nap we headed out the farthest most point on the run, miles 9 and 22 out on Lake Mendota Dr.  The spectators are sparse here and you can always really see your athletes and exchange some words with them instead of fighting for their attention.  We spent a couple of hours out here, saw the male and female pros head in for their last few miles, and most of our friends, as well.  My head was still spinning on how I could pull off an Ironman race in 2013.   

Around 5 pm we drove back into town where we headed to the bike in area.  The bike cutoff time in this Ironman is 5:30 pm.  If you have not crossed the timing pad at the entrance to T2 at this time, you will not be allowed to continue the race.  It is always exciting to cheer those last few people who make it, and devastating to watch those who just miss it. It really captures the energy of the day. 

Finally around 6 pm we wrapped up our day around the finish line.  We actually met up with several friends here and just watched people cross the line.  The energy was amazing with music pounding, family and friends yelling and the constant flow of the announcer yelling "You are an Ironman!"   It was so inspiring to see our friends and strangers alike finish strong.   At this point I really could not stop thinking about racing 2013.

You might wonder why I wouldn't go for it without a second thought- I am a triathlon coach and I have done an Ironman before.  But now I have a family that I love to spend time with and am not willing to take weekends away from them.  I also only have one child, who is turning 3 soon, and I get questions everyday about when I plan to have another.  Time is a ticking, right?

After as much thought as I could put into it in 24 hours, I decided that if there was still space when I arrived home from Madison on Monday, I would register.  Lo and behold, when I logged in at 1:30, the race was 80% full and I snagged my spot for IMWI 2013.    If it was truly race envy I think I may have had a smidgen of regret since then, but instead I feel excitement and energy that cannot be contained.  I am going to have to be very creative with my (mostly weekday) training but have already started piecing together my summer training and know I can pull it off.

So, thank you to all you racers who were out there on Sunday.  You were tough, amazing and truly inspiring.  I cannot wait to be out there next year among you.   And as soon as I cross that finish line I'm fairly certain I will be ready to add to my favorite little family and put off my racing aspirations for a while.   Looking forward to a great 2013!!!

-Coach A

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chicago Tri Race Recap- Elisabeth's Story

I’m internationally known and locally respected for (over)planning and (over)preparing when something big is coming up and I’m feeling anxious about it. In the weeks leading up to the triathlon, I was definitely in hyperdrive to the point where it was getting embarrassing. Let’s just say I had a detailed knowledge of the inventory of every major triathlon shop on the internet and a 150-point checklist. I’m exaggerating.  No I’m not. All that planning did settle me down. I was perfectly ready. Nothing bad could possibly happen.
But of course, I actually do know that all that planning just gives me the illusion of control. Things happen anyway. Race morning -- starting the second my alarm went off at 3:00 am -- I had some pretty bad GI issues. Six hours later when my wave finally jumped into the water, I was so dehydrated from it all that I had cramps for the next 2 hours, 56 minutes and 13 seconds. At T2, even my hands were cramping and so useless that I felt like I was trying to get my running shoes on with one of those plastic toy robot claws. All problems brought on by nerves.
The weird thing was, on race morning I didn’t think I was that nervous. After all, items #147-#150 on the checklist were to stay calm, put my faith in my training, do my absolute best, and have fun.  But there was no denying it, I was scared.

What was I truly THAT worried about? Was it the swimming? It’s true I’m still pretty new at it. But I had trained hard for it. I could finally breathe to the left almost comfortably, had dutifully practiced Angela’s Tarzan swimming and alligator eyes, and had swum in water so choppy that it warranted a freaking small-craft advisory. I hope I qualify as a small craft.

I don’t know, but I think the nerves were about something bigger. I think that it just hit me on some level how right people are when they say triathlon is a metaphor for life. It’s occasionally brutal and messy and painful, and the mere thought that I might not be strong enough to handle it and that I might actually crumble into a sorry pile of road bike wreckage at the edge of the Lake Shore Drive of Life, is just plain stomach- turning.

As it turned out, over the course of those nearly three hours, I never did crumble. I did handle it, the cramps and the pain, and other things, too. At one point during the swim, someone grabbed onto my ankle and wouldn’t let go. I thrashed my cramping foot to try to get them off, but then eventually had to start kicking them with the other cramping foot. They were pissed at me for something I’d accidentally done, or I guess it’s possible they were panicking and needed a tow for a minute - unlikely, but you never know. Whatever it was, I took care of it. I didn’t let it mess with my head. I just swam on and focused on the steady beep of the tempo trainer set to 33 stroke cycles/minute tucked snugly inside my cap.

So when I made it to the finish line and someone handed me that huge-ass finisher’s medal and I somehow lassoed it around my neck with my last bit of strength, it actually meant that I had made it through some hard things in life and that I would have the grit to face brutal stuff in the future just the same. Sometimes it hurts a lot; it’s unfair; people can be mean; people may try to hold me back. But I can handle it. It’s a comforting relief to know I’ll be okay.

But then it became more than just mere relief. Drunk on endorphins, it turned into some truly sappy joy. I realized I have a bestie who will pace me and encourage me on the run after she’d already done her own race. I have a husband who can bust out apropos rap lyrics on demand (about the medal, “watch out for the medallion, my diamonds are reckless, it feels like a midget is hanging from my necklace.”). I’ve got two sons who even when soaking wet and bored, will still insist they want to come watch me again next year. And finally, I have a coach who cares about me more than I even imagined. I didn’t just survive, that was a full-on WIN.