Sunday, August 07, 2005

Steelhead Thanks

Wow. The morning after. I'm feeling some sort of a post-race letdown, kinda like a kid on Christmas morning after all the presents are opened, I guess. I'm saving my race report until the official results are available on-line, but in the meantime there are lots of thank-you's to be handed out:

Thanks go out first to my family, for supporting me, indulging me and putting up with all of my crap as I've trained, stressed, obsessed and fallen asleep REALLY early night after night. The long-suffering tri-wife never bats an eye when I come home and say "Dear, I need a new (fill in the blank with some really expensive piece of triathlon gear.)" Thanks to my mother, sister and all the Tri-Daughters (and one or two Tri-Daughter Boyfriends) for cheering me on.

The Tri-Brother deserves some special mention. He finished FIRST in his age group yesterday despite taking a wrong turn on the bike and riding an extra two miles! He got the speed in the family and I got...hmmm. Now just what did I get again? Screwed, maybe.

Next, thanks to Karyn, the most awesome trainer anyone could ask for. In our very first conversation I told her that my primary training goal was to finish Steelhead vertically, not horizontally (sound familiar?) She laughed a little, but that's the last time she ever laughed at me (at least within earshot) and her coaching, form and technique tips, workout plans and general all-around great advice got me through. Not even in my dreams am I as fast as her, but it's great hanging on her coattails! And, Karyn, you've now got 13 months to work some more magic and get me through IMMOO. It's OK, you can laugh now.

Triathloning is pretty solitary, so I have to thank those special people who make it less so: my Training Partners. Intrepid Training Partner has been there from the beginning (or at least from the alcohol-fueled bet that started the whole thing...) and is great fun to hang out and train with. ITP has some funny body-marking stories from the Steelhead expo, but I may need signed releases before I can tell any of 'em! And thanks, ITP, for INSISTING that you dunk my hat in ice water as I passed your water station. What a concept!

ITP also deserves special, body-marking mention for the motivational message on my left forearm. The letters PITQLFLS were prominently visible each time I glanced down at my watch. Recognize it? It's Lance Armstrong's "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. Live strong." I can't begin to tell you how much those 8 words meant to me yesterday. Oh, the lightning bolt on my left calf was pretty cool, too.

Wil and Shelley (Awesome Training Partners both) finished the race yesterday and, though I'll let them tell their own stories, our transition from distant bloggers to tri-colleagues has meant a great deal to me. From various SEBA adventures, I know how hard they both prepared; it was truly awesome watching them cross the finish line.

Thanks to Chris at the Glen Ellyn (IL) bike shop for re-fitting the Kestrel and solving most of my painful back problems. But for his magic, I would have never gotten to the starting line yesterday.

Bev, you're the best massage therapist ever and HUGE thanks for coming to the post-race party, massage chair and all.

Kudos to Kathleen at Lifetime Fitness, Burr Ridge, IL for getting me to swim with my face in the water. Those hundreds with you pacing me from the pool deck were not fun but, wow, did they help!

Thanks to Bahram, a great strength and conditioning coach, for torturing me appropriately. Yes, "my strength" is still oxymoronic but that's not for want of trying on your part.

Finally, thanks to all of you, dear bloggers, readers and commenters. You were all on my mind yesterday as mile after mile came and went. I knew you were out there cheering us on. Believe it or not, I heard the cheers all the way from Maryland, Florida, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, and all points in between. I have yet to meet most of you, but yesterday that didn't matter at all.


I Can Tri said...


Your post reminds me of what makes tri so cool--all the awesome people I've met!

I was impressed with your recognition of the "team" nature of the sport, and I went through my own list of ITPs, ATPs, and family who have sacrificed so that I can tri.

There are some phone calls that need to be made today...

Danielle said...

Sounds like quite an amazing race for you. I was thinking of you Midwest triathaletes as I flew in to Iowa, my home state, yesterday. And then ran six miles through cornfields and farmland. I see you're going to Devil's Lake later this year, I didn't know they did a triathalon there! I was there once last year: ( ... anyway, congrat again! I'm eager to hear race details eventually.