There's really no excuse for it -- my complete inattention to blogging. I have a lot of thoughts in this noggin of mine, it's just getting it to my fingers and keyboard... that's a different story.
So here's my race report spectating at the Redman 70.3 and 140.6 distances for 2012. No, I didn't race the 70.3 or 140.6, and I didn't even take an aquabike option. Sunday was the National Club Championships where they held an Olympic and Sprint. Coach did the Olympic and I did the Sprint (race report to come). My reasoning was, I wasn't really there to race that weekend; I was mainly there to support. Why not get a workout in, right? This weekend was not about me -- this weekend was about my teammates achieving their actual goals or hit benchmarks working towards them.
My Training Buddy (TB) and I have been training together for 4 years now, I guess. In that time we've both had some highs and lows. Moments of fear and anxiety. Moments of a greatness and moments of.... well, not-so-great. We persevere though, getting support from one another, because who else knows better what you are going through than the person you are training with, right?
The Training Buddy dynamic is a difficult one to understand too, if you've never had one. And I mean a good one. Gender makes no difference to the bond you create when you training with someone week-in and week-out. It's like having a sibling. They see you at your worst, but what are they gonna do? They stick around because no one else is as reliably crazy to continue training week after week. Like family, they can't just trade you in for another.
You know, if it weren't for TB, I probably would have never joined my club. I can clearly remember loafing on my couch one night and he called. It was the "beginner night" for the Club at the start of the season. I was actually too chicken to go. Too self conscious. Too fat. Too unsure. We weren't really training buddies at that time -- we had just met through a mutual friend and learned we both had this triathlon thing in mind. I remember when I didn't show, he called me (out) for not going. It was then the TB dynamic kicked in. He already managed to get me to ask myself "Why didn't I just go?"
Not much after that, I watched TB do his first multisport event. A duathlon. Truth be told, at that time, he was still afraid and so very unsure (yes it's true!) of the swim. He just was not not be comfortable with the swim. So he ran/biked/ran his way to his first Finish. Of course I was happy for him nonetheless.
Fast forward through lots of swimming, kicking and pulling, a almost 2 seasons of Masters swimming, to last weekend where I watched TB finally achieve the goal that both of us have; to each complete a 140.6 race.
The entire day, while spectating and supporting, I kept thinking about all the things he did to bring him to that point. When I saw him complete the swim well under his goal time, I recalled how to swim a length of a 50m pool seemed like a daunting task to both of us! When he came back on the first loop, all smiles on the bike, I remembered how when he first got his TT bike; he had such a hard time getting comfortable with it. As for the run, he's always been a great runner, but somehow he managed to get even better! His consistency is just admirable. I watched how focused he was and always noticed how much time he spent educating himself and planning. He's one smart a$$ "Hombre."
TB started training nearly 2 years before since he was supposed to compete in the 2011 Redman 140.6 race. Unfortunately he suffered an injury just a couple months out of the race that caused him to defer to 2012. Again, he didn't let it get him down too low. He pulled it together and just got focused on racing in 2012. Others may have fallen to the depression of having the bail-out, but not Hombre. :)
All that training, planning and education helped him through his day and I only hope that I can be half as ready for my 140.6 as he was. His day didn't go completely as planned, but he was flexible and smartly played the cards he was dealt. When he crossed the line at 14:13, I felt like a proud family member! My eyes just welled up when I saw him (literally) sprint through the Finisher's chute.
I really didn't know what to say outside of, "Congratulations!" There was much in my heart I could not express. I just might have been happier for him, than I could possibly ever be for myself! Okay, maybe not -- suffice it say I was proud beyond words and all I could do was let my eyes well with tears since words just escaped me.
That day I woke at 3:30am to have breakfast with my teammate Amy. She was doing the full Aquabike. She's training for IM Cozumel in November, and was using this race as a training day, as was another teammate, Ed. I think Ed is planning to do IMTX -- I'm not sure what his next race is. Then we had a bunch of first-time 70.3 athletes too. We had Erin too, a major cross-fitter who goal it was to do an Iron distance triathlon one day. It was going to be a fun day of volunteering and spectating.
We took v'teer spots in transition -- a nice option to be close to your athlete friends/family. Once the race started we were at the swim Finish. We had a great time with the kids doing who were stripping wetsuits, and as usual, our Coach got the kids excited about stripping wetsuits. I swear, there is nothing he can't talk someone into doing. LOL
Once our shift in transition was done, we waited for them at the turnarounds for the bike. Everyone came in smiling -- not one frown among our team. Everyone looked great, comfortable even. I found myself giving thanks to God throughout the day for giving them strength and keeping them safe through this day. The second loop, not quite as happy as the first, but everyone still looked good and were managing their individual challenges.
Once everyone was in on the bike, we made sure we were at our team tent on the run -- that's where the heavy-duty support becomes important. We made signage, had cowbells and glow masks and necklaces. We were the bomb-diggity of support! We had a hybrid bike to take rids out to the course, carefully, so as not to PACE the athletes, just to make sure everyone was (and stayed) in a good state of mind.
After they passed us for the last loop, we packed up the gear and headed to the Finish. It was just awesome to see Hombre and Erin Finish. Simply awesome.
And yeah, we were grateful they didn't have to take advantage of the generous cut-off at Redman. :)
Because, you know, I did have to race the next day. That's for another report.