Monday, December 13, 2010

Thank Your Sherpas!

This is the time of the year when I look back at the past season and start planning for 2011. I did four triathlons and six running races this year. I had some disappointments, but I also had some great experiences and I know we are lucky, as triathletes, to be able to do what we do.

Looking back also makes me reflect on the huge role our support people play in our success. I need to give a big shout-out to Jody Rausch, who became my unofficial coach this year.

A year ago, when I first joined the Milky Way Masters swim club, I told Jody I wanted to do an Olympic-distance tri and asked her how often I should swim. She told me three times a week. It was a big commitment, but I stuck to it. I could barely swim at all, but I swallowed my pride and went faithfully.

The first time I did a timed 500 Jody was there at the end of the pool, yelling out encouragement and telling me “You’re no quitter!” When I missed a few practices, she got on me about not slacking, telling me to “keep my eye on the prize.” Jody kept me on track to my goals.

Jody is a USAT coach so she always had great training advice. She would send me tips, but more importantly, she gave me encouragement. Before every race she would send me an e-mail with a “pep talk” and when I got down (like after the Hy-Vee Tri) she would pick me back up. So thank you, Jody, for helping me persevere!

There are many people in our club that have acted as “coaches” for me. They may not know it, but I watch them and I learn from them. I absorb every word they say and I try to take that knowledge to become a better triathlete.

Last month I talked about how Brita Loynachan came to my marathon and biked to spots throughout the course to cheer me on. It means so much to have a support crew (or sherpas, as I call them) at a race to keep you motivated.

We also can’t forget about our support crews at home. Maybe you have a spouse that takes care of the kids and makes it possible for you to race. My neighbors take care of my dog (my baby) when I go to overnight races, allowing me to pursue this lifestyle.

Take a moment to thank your support people. They make sacrifices too. We don’t do this alone! Thank you to everyone who has made my dream of being a triathlete a reality!!