I had to be in the right place to write appropriately for my triathlon coach. If I had tried to write this as my “A” race approached, the post probably would have been filled with hate-filled language regarding her plan for me. That being said, there aren’t too many people in the world who inspire me to have a t-shirt made just for them:
Because of Coachie, I was able to roll up on the Athlete Village at my first half-ironman with confidence. Let me tell y’all – that is no small feat.
You see, I knew of Coachie’s existence long before she knew me. I actually was getting some swimming help from a friend in summer of 2013 when my friend observed her coaching someone else. We spoke briefly at the time, but that was that. Later that summer, one of the trainers at the gym recommended her to me. Finally, that guy who picked me up in the pool said I should check out her services. Months later, I went to one of her evil spin classes. She’s just so charming about it that you almost forget about the pain in your legs. Almost. In the nine months that I’ve trained with her, I have gone from surviving sprint races to feeling great at the half-iron distance. As impossible as whatever is on my training plan may seem, Coachie helps me not just to physically accomplish it but also to mentally wrap my brain around it.
Here’s the thing: Coachie is a great athlete. But that’s not a really big deal. Anyone can put time in and become proficient at something, given her level of dedication. It is her ability – and willingness – to share her knowledge with others in the style of delivery they need in order to thrive that make Coachie amazing to me. If I am not understanding something, she will show me again and again without ever making me feel small. When I do get it, she will share my excitement. She is one of the few people in the whole world with whom I feel I can be vulnerable, which I believe is incredibly difficult for adults to do with one another.
When she is not doing the nearly impossible job of coaching me (or other more capable but less witty clients), she is kicking ass at being a teacher, mother, and wife. She is going to roll her eyes when she reads this, but one time in one of her emails she wrote “my friend” and I geeked out. “Ahhhh! She called me friend! She must think I’m cool!” It’s easy for me to put Coachie on a pedestal because she never puts herself on one. I look up to her because while she walks with the confidence of an Ironman, she also knows she has room to grow. That balance is freaking incredible.
To Coachie – I’m embarrassed you make me gush like this! Thank you for helping Lady J do it.
In stark contrast with my previous experiences, the hours leading up to the race were super enjoyable. I understand why all you people insist that being around one another is wonderful. Quite frankly, it can be a helpful distraction from nerves. However – many of the same people were at St. Anthony’s and I remember purposely hiding behind a tree at one point trying to avoid people. Either I am getting more comfortable with racing in general, getting more comfortable with people in general, getting more comfortable with these people specifically, or a combination of all three.
And it is absolutely wonderful.
If you know me at all, it is very easy to tell when I’m uncomfortable. Where my comfort ends, my jokes end. Even inside my own head I cannot make myself laugh, which is absolutely tragic. While next to Red in transition, I found myself laughing, coming up with Facebook statuses and memes for later, and just being happy. Yes, I was focused on what I came there to do, but I didn’t feel the need to shut everyone out to do it.
I am pleased that I am now in a place where I feel I am not dead weight among my triathlete friends. I understand that I probably never was, but it is nice to feel that I am becoming grounded enough to share the smile, hug, or joke that a fellow athlete might need to help get them through the day. I suppose that’s usually how it works, though. My circumstances haven’t really changed. I’m only becoming slightly less hard-headed and realizing what amazing people I have around me.
Guess I’m not such a tribaby anymore.
Deez. Right here.
I started my day by going for a quick run and spending a bit of time with Red Rocket, per Coachie’s instructions. As I was bringing RR back into my room, I saw a couple in the elevator. I greeted them cheerily.
“I’m resting my legs for tomorrow.”
Clearly, this is an appropriate response to “Good morning!” Dude. Ain’t nobody ask you about your legs. Unless your name is Coachie, I’m pretty sure I can do without your thoughts on what I’m doing with my legs. However, I just smiled and bid him good day.
This took ovaries.
You see, there were a lot of ways I could have responded. For one, I could have given him a myriad of options for alternatives with his legs, such as using them to walk off of a cliff. That’s restful, no? Blah. God don’t like ugly. Even when it’s witty or clever, apparently. It would have been more typical of me to hear what he said and start to go inside my own head.
Maybe this was a bad idea. What if he’s right? What if I’m doing too much? What if I need to go to sleep at 9:30 AM? What if because I was on my feet for 20 minutes I can’t finish the race? Why am I here? Where’s Chopin?
Poor joker. He said that because seeing me made him question whatever decision he had made for himself. I didn’t do anything except say good morning! I’s just a girl with mah bicycle and a grin, y’all. I doubt he was intentionally trying to make me go nuts in my head, but it could have happened.
It takes ovaries to get here. It might take even more to believe that you should be here once you are here. It takes the most ovaries to be positive toward others, no matter what you are feeling.
Dude. I hope you have a good race tomorrow. That being said – you could use some ovaries.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I like to roll solo. If not, bring yourself up to speed here.
Heh. Speed. I don’t have that. I’m running with the 2:30 pace group tomorrow, just slightly behind my best
half-marathon time I ran in January. Coachie says I’m not allowed to run the hell out of this race as Augusta 70.3 is in only SEVENTY-ONE DAYS OMG and I shouldn’t risk injury. Can’t be mad at that. Plus, I’ve been sleeping in this:
Mm-hmm! My strassburg sock brings all the boys to the yard, y’all. Which brings us back to preferring to be alone LOL! Today, I was at the race expo with my cousin. She will be running the 5k. It’s perfect because I had a buddy that I don’t actually have to run with. Everyone wins. As we were walking around, she was lamenting that most racing paraphernalia was geared toward the half-marathon distance. “Some of us aren’t there yet!” She rightly protested. Granted, the race is part of the Rock N’Roll Marathon Series, but if you’re going to have a 5k, why not ensure that runners of that race feel like they are equals? My opinion is not really humble here, but if you’re going out there and doing your best, and the best at that moment in time is a 5k as opposed to a half-marathon, why should you get any less props? I can’t say I remember feeling that way myself prior to running longer distances, but that may be because I’m already so accustomed to feeling inadequate that lack of representation through running swag was the least of my concerns.
And indeed, I did find it odd that I didn’t feel odd at the expo myself. As exhibitors asked me if this was my first half and I said, “Nope,” it further cemented that I am one of these running people. Slow as I may be, whatever distance I cover.
Upon returning to the rest of my family, I met this cool guy who has been running a long time. He was complaining that he could never get his full marathon time under 3:30. Hahahahaha! I regret not telling him what my time goal is tomorrow for my half. I let my fear of inadequacy win, which makes me wonder if I REALLY believe deep down that my 5k running cousin deserves those accolades.
Nah. I know she does. I know I’m awesome too – for being willing to grow and challenge myself. I just have to learn to embrace it.