The time of the year has come, and the Ironman World Championships is this Saturday. I as many others, was first introduced to the sport of triathlon through the iconic race in Kona, on TV. It is a special race and marks the same weekend every year. It means that fall is here, and most of the racing is winding down. There may be a few key races left on your schedule, or it may be a transition into a running focus, or simply transition training. That might mean just riding for coffee. I love for one love the fall weather.
It also means a time to look back over the season, and there are a lot of great highlights. Personally, I didn't race as much as I have in the past, but I was able to step back up to the half-ironman distance. My friend Thomas and I tackled two of the hardest and very different half-ironmans this season in Eagleman (flat, fast and hot) and Savageman (anything but flat, and air temperature under 40 degrees at the start! Victoria can vouch for that!). I also had the privilege to compete with an awesome team in the Keswick-BrynMawr Triathlon team. I am very excited for next season being surrounded by these outstanding teammates, as I will race in my first Ironman at Lake Placid. I am ready to be back in form to compete at a high level. Lake Placid is a special place for more than one reason. I proposed to my fiancé Kenna, on the top of Mt. Marcy (in March-- snow), and she completed her first Ironman there this year. We are getting married at the end of the month (Yikes!).
There were many exceptional races by my athletes this year, and I am very lucky to be a part of them. All of my athletes become a part of the DRiVEN family, and this year there were some great new additions. Legally, Kenna will become part of the family and the LP Ironman was just another test to make sure she would fit in. My Mom and her husband Tim completed their 2nd and third Ironman respectively in Wisconsin this year. In Wisconsin completing their first Ironman were the parents of my best childhood friend, John and Ellen Becker. They all did incredible. To add to the rewarding experience as a coach is to see these couples take the journey together. Mike and Sue competed at Lake Placid as well. At one point one of Mike's most important goals that he shared with me, was for Sue to finish! Being able to share experiences with my athletes is why I coach.
There's no doubt that when Kenna and my Mom are out on course there's a little more nervous anxiety that comes up while sitting on the sideline. For the most part I don't get too nervous when my athletes are racing. I know the work that they have done, and what they are capable of. We work together to reach the goals that are set forth. It is somewhat more nerve wracking tracking athletes online though at races around the country (Keziah, Patrick, Scott, Andrea). Especially when splits stop coming. And if they are out of the country, it's hard to get other forms of updates! That can bring a pit to a coaches stomach.
It's rewarding though to see those athletes cross the finish line and talk to them afterwards. Christopher at Lake Placid, sharing his highs and lows on the day. Watching Kenna cross that finish line (I'm fairly certain no one has ever run around through all the spectators around the oval as fast as I did). My Mom smiling the ENTIRE day at IM Moo! Tim always wanting to chat during the race! John B crushing his expected time, which I had a hunch that he would. Ellen persevering until the very end and gutting out the dreaded stomach issues to cross that finish line. It's all worth it and why I do, what I do.
Whether someone is finishing their first sprint triathlon, just getting out the door to change their lifestyle, or winning the Ironman; it is rewarding, and an honor to help them reach that goal.
I'm in transition mode for next season. I have a pretty important weekend coming up (my wedding) and then I am looking forward to my first Ironman journey. I already have a few athletes that I will share that journey with in Lake Placid next year, teammates and friends. One in particular that I'll be coaching for that race, my brother Chris, will also be doing his first Ironman. I can't wait to share the journey with him and everyone else in the DRiVEN family, and triathlon community. Join us! Thank you to all my athletes this season and many more to come!