Team Coeur 2018!

This was a pretty crazy week, but Wednesday dawned with a lot of excitement – my candidate won our city council election!  And then my day got better with the release of this graphic:

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be back on the Coeur team for my fourth season.  Four years.  I still feel like pinching myself, like it can’t be real.  How can I be this lucky?  It must be a mistake, right?  But I am so proud to be a Coeur Sports Ambassador again next year.

Seriously, these ladies are the among the nicest, most amazing people I have ever met.  If you see any of us out in our team kits, please don’t hesitate to say hi, and be ready for some big smiles and friendly words.

I think the best part of this team is the wide variety of athletes.  We have team members who are little tiny balls of muscle and we have Athenas (myself included), who are slightly larger balls of muscle.  We have people who win IM distance races and go to Kona every year, and we have people who hang out in the back of the pack, and everywhere in between.  The common denominator is the heart of this team.  Knowing these women has made me a better triathlete and a better person, and I am so incredibly honored to be racing in the team kit again next year.

Kona Dreams

Last weekend while following all of the coverage of IRONMAN World Championships, commonly referred to as Kona, I couldn’t help but think “I want to be there.”

(Okay, yes, I started this post last week and then got mired down in work and extra hours and then got a cold, so I didn’t get it done.)

Watching the coverage of all of those amazing athletes in that gorgeous setting, I couldn’t help but dream of someday being among them.  No not as an athlete.  That’s just laughable.  I am and remain a retired marathoner.  That means no full distance triathlons for me.  And even if it did, I would have to get SO MUCH FASTER to even think about qualifying for Kona.  Ask me again when I’m in my 80’s and maybe I’ll consider it.

No, I want to get to Kona as cheer squad.  I mean, come on, how amazing would that be?

The Coeur Cheer Squad hard at work.

I love cheering at races.  It’s one of my favorite things.  I was so bummed to not be cheering at MCM this weekend, but my cold kept me inside and on the couch.  Not that my cheering would have been all that great, given the complete laryngitis.  And as an athlete, I always get so much out of the people who are cheering.  It’s such a huge boost when you’re struggling or when you’re having a great race.  It’s just an awesome feeling to have people look at you and say “You!  You are doing great!”

Kona is the world championship for triathlon, but it might as well also be the world championships for race cheering too, given how many people make it a goal to get there.  Let’s be honest, Hawai’i isn’t exactly a terrible place to have to go.  And to get to see the top racers in the world while you’re there?  So amazing.

So there’s my newest addition to my bucket list.  Cheering at Kona.  Who wants to go along?

So What’s Next?

With an incredibly successful triathlon season behind me, I’m already looking at the 2018 season.  And it’s once again time to go big or go home. (No, I’m not doing a 140.6.  I am a retired marathoner.)

That’s right, in 2018, I’m headed back to the half distance and have registered for IM 70.3 Chattanooga!

I am really excited about this.  While I obviously had a great year this year racing olympic/international distance races, I found myself missing the pomp and circumstance of the 70.3.  I missed doing long bike rides.  While metric centuries are HARD, I still miss that distance.

The main reason I didn’t do a 70.3 this year was scheduling.  I couldn’t find one that fit in with my already planned schedule of life and work and vacation.  And that was starting to look like an issue for 2018 as well.  I’ve got a long planned trip to Europe in August, and I certainly don’t want to be worrying about training then, which meant I needed something earlier in the year.  I didn’t want to do a 70.3 in July because it’s stupidly hot.

I asked my Coeur teammates for advice on good 70.3 races earlier in the year, and there were a few recommendations, but Chattanooga kept popping up again and again, and even better, a number of my teammates are planning to race it!  I also have a number of friends who have done this race and enjoyed it, so things very quickly started to fall into place.  I asked my coach, who basically said “DOOOOO IT!” So that was an easy sell.

70.3 Chattanooga is on May 20, which is early, but not terribly so.  There will be plenty of open water opportunities in April and May.  I would like to get a triathlon in before the race, because I always joke that my first race of the year is mostly about remembering how to triathlete, so once 2018 schedules come out, I will be figuring that out (and will also accept recommendations).

This is going to mean a lot of winter training, and a lot of time on the trainer.  I think this should fit in well with the half marathons that I already have planned through the winter and spring.  Thankfully, I really like riding on the trainer, so this can only bring about good things.

And it also means that I can still race a bunch of Olympics next summer if I feel up to it.  Best of both worlds!

(We’ll see how I feel about this decision in a few months.)

 

One Last Tri for 2017

My last race for the year is the Patriots International.  I’m headed back to Williamsburg, VA, this time for another VTSMTS race.  Last year, I ended my season on a huge high with a 70.3.  In 2015, my season ended with only my third ever international distance race and a race where I wanted redemption.  2014’s season ended with my first international distance race, and 2013 ended with my first big triathlon, the IronGirl sprint.  So it’s a bit weird to not be ending the season with a “big” race.

That said, this isn’t a nothing race.  I’ve had an awesome season so far and I definitely want it to end strong.  The concern for me for this race is the swim.  It will probably be the most challenging swim I’ve had all season (though I don’t have to jump off a boat to start).  There is a current, and the race organizers suggest practicing swimming across currents.  Guess what I haven’t done?  So this should be fun.  Might be wetsuit legal too, so we’ll see how this all turns out.

The bike is rolling, but nothing too crazy.  I prefer hills to flat, so I’m looking forward to this.  The run is apparently super flat, but on varied surfaces (pavement, gravel, and mulch).  All in all, it should be a pretty good course, and I’m hoping for a great race.  The race is an international and half distance run at once, which I always enjoy, because there are so many more athletes on the course.  It just makes a race feel big, and I love that big race feeling.

Another great thing is that it’s a SATURDAY race!  So I don’t have to rush back from the race right afterwards.  It can be a much more leisurely day, which I definitely prefer.  Also, it’s in Williamsburg, so I can eat at The Cheese Shop.  Yum.  Might have to get a sandwich to eat there and a sandwich to go.

 

End of an Era

When I signed up for my first triathlon in 2013, I did it through Team Fight, the athletic fundraising arm of the Ulman Cancer Fund.  I’ve been a member of Team Fight each year since, and will continue to be on the team for years to come, I’m sure.  It’s a great cause and I’m proud to fundraise for them.

One perk to team membership was team swim, held once a week at the pool of a local community college.  Our two volunteer coaches taught us proper swim form (and in some cases, taught complete newbies how to swim).  They showed up with workouts, put up with our moaning and groaning, and made triathlon fun.

Even better was the camaraderie that developed among the team members.  Over the past few years, I have met the most amazing people through Team Fight, people who I hope will be lifelong friends.  Knowing that my friends were expecting me made it that much easier to show up at practice.

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, just hours before practice, we received an email that this was our final practice.  The college had increased the rate to rent the pool and it wasn’t worth it for a charity team. Due to the timing of the email, a lot of the team members weren’t able to make the final practice – with big races over the past two weeks, a lot of people are in recovery mode.  So the final crew was a small one, but we were mighty.  It was a bit bittersweet to see this tradition end, but I am hopeful that we will find a new venue.  If nothing else, we’re going to get together and swim, maybe not every week, but often enough that we don’t miss each other too much.