Friday, October 19, 2018

My Ironman

It's really something special, and rare, to coach your husband through the IRONMAN World Championship. But I had the honor to do just that and it was the greatest experience!
Matt is all smiles coming into the finish line at the
IRONMAN World Championship 2018. So exciting!

For those that know my husband, Matt, they know him as a strong athlete. He is a triathlon (now an IRONMAN), a marathon runner & is dedicated to his sport. He doesn't train to be competitive (only for fun) but he has a natural gift for speed & power that so many of us don't have. 

He also has a personality that dictates everything he does he gives his all. Never does he say "I can't" or go into a training session halfheartedly. This is just his natural way with everything. But that doesn't mean he has always believed he could become an IRONMAN.

So many times when we see an IRONMAN, or marathon runner or a triathlete in general we assume they "came that way." They seem larger than life, in a place we could never achieve. That's simply not the case. Read on for one example.

What you might not know is that Matt hasn't always been a triathlete, or a marathoner or even a runner. He started just like everyone does. He never thought becoming a runner or triathlete was attainable. 
At mile 111 of 112 on the bike

The first three years of our marriage he designated himself as photographer only in my races. We went to countless triathlons, half marathons & 5k's together. I did the event, he watched in amazement. We have a LOT of pictures of me because that's what he did! 

For three years I asked him to join me and for three years he said he couldn't even imagine being able to do any of what I was doing. After all, he hadn't ran since school, hadn't ridden a bike since a teen and had never swam except for in the pool during summers - certainly not for exercise! And a 5k? No way. Too far.

I didn't give up. I saw in him something he didn't see. So instead of bugging, I started talking about how much FUN these events were. This strategy worked and after what seemed like forever in my mind, he was ready to try his hand at a 5k. We trained with 2 miles of running for his 3.1 mile race because 3 miles in training was too daunting. That was ok with me as long as he was doing it.

He really enjoyed and excelled at this and after several years of 5k's (including off road races) he was interested in trying to do a sprint triathlon. Mind you, he was extremely unsure he could finish one. So we borrowed a bike & started getting in the pool together. His first triathlon I beat him, which I enjoyed greatly because I knew it was the only time I would EVER beat him. I was right. :) 

He knew nothing about triathlon so we started from the very basic. He liked it and so we just kept doing them, kept slowly learning and getting the three disciplines down. We spent years working on technique, being consistent with training, learning & racing.  Year after year after year of this, all the while he just couldn't imagine doing any kind of long distance. Really we were having fun doing sprints and not thinking of longer races. Sprints & 5k's only. He was enjoying gaining knowledge and getting fast, but long course? No way, not even something that was on the radar.

There's often a natural progress with things, and I remember the day he thought maybe, just maybe one of these days he could try doing a longer distance. We started working on increasing his bike (which he loves & took to), his swim was challenging & his running was a challenge because frankly he just wanted it over so he went as fast as he could. Pacing yourself was not something he understood yet.

But we kept at it. We worked on his pacing, technique and fueling. Then his first half marathon - and the first thing he said to me when he crossed the finish line is "this is not for me." Turns out he paced too hard. But it was a blessing in disguise because it finally sunk in that strategy for a long race vs short race needs to be different. 

A few years later (yes years) & lots of training & learning, he conquered his first IRONMAN 70.3! There's one paragraph here but between his first half marathon & that 70.3 was a lot of learning, pacing, training & dedication. It took discipline to become strong both physically and mentally. 

Well that was three years ago and three 70.3's. Last week Matt completed the hardest single day athletic event in the world to earn the title of IRONMAN. And I'm here as a witness that he earned that title. All of those years of training, the discipline, pushing through those mental and physical barriers and reaching goals he thought were honestly out of reach. I am so proud of him!

One thing I was especially proud of is how well Matt paced himself & fueled himself. Honestly, he paced & fueled perfectly. This didn't happen by accident. This was wisdom earned and applied. His race was wholeheartedly enjoyable because of this, his body felt great, he smiled the entire way & crossed the finish line strong & healthy. I'll tell you what else, his body was only sore for about one half of a day. Well done, IRONMatt!
Nothing but smiles all day for

You may be feeling your goal is out of reach, whether it's an IRONMAN or a 5k. It's not. This is your brain lying to you. Your body will do what you ask it. Your body is willing to push itself past it's own limits if you ask it. It's your brain that gets in the way. It may take a while, it may take the discipline of working on technique or getting a baseline of fitness, or learning to SLOW down so you can keep going, or fueling - or whatever it is that you need to work on. But each time you get out there, you are taking one more step toward your goal. You are earning that title you want, becoming mentally tough and I'm here to tell you that you will not regret it. You will absolutely not regret the work that goes into getting that goal that right now seems so far away. Go for it, keep going & don't stop until you succeed.

Need help reaching your goal? It might not be an Ironman & that's ok, whatever your fitness goal is - I'm here to help! 

Contact me via email directly here.