Ironman 70.3 New Orleans Part 1: FRIENDS
I'm breaking my race report up into sections. There's too many elements to discuss. One long post will take too long for me to write and you to read. I will try not to bore you. You're welcome!!
Let me start by saying this was my favorite race ever! I have never been so happy during a race as I was on Sunday.
25 weeks ago I decided to Coach a Tri Our Adventure New Orleans 70.3 training group. I figured if I had at least 5-10 people interested, it'd be well worth my time and a fun opportunity for some group training. Racing back from Ironman Arizona, I met with everyone at Starbucks. 4 hours, a killer caffeine buzz, and 7 ready to commit athletes later, Team TOA was officially formed (please note that 5 athletes were preparing for NOLA 70.3 and 2 for CHOO 70.3).
Molly, Brandon, Charlene, Ed, and Page + Peggy and Amanda B + Amanda H (who wasn't doing NOLA or CHOO but did do PR70.3, and trained with the team).
Our first group training ride was a little awkward with everyone meeting one another (most for the first time) and the nervousness of ability amongst the other athletes. Not to mention the 'what have I gotten myself into' and the 'let's hope Coach Lisa knows what the hell she's doing.'
It took us about 10 minutes to discover a few things...we are all type A's, we are all eager to learn, grow, and develop as athletes, and we are all committed. Oh, and Lisa DOES know what the hell she's doing ;)
By the end of the ride we discovered similar ability levels and a love for Mexican food and cold beers post training.
Over the next 20 weeks, Sunday's became my favorite days. If the weather put us off I was sad and disappointed. If we all got an extra day through the week I made sure to plan a group event. Why? Because we all became FRIENDS. Facebook messages, team encouragement, team PRIDE, fabulous weekends together... yes, it was way more than I imagined it would be... We trained hard in rain, wind, hills, and even played trainer wars when the weather took us indoors.
Ya see, there's a special bond that forms when you're training for hours together. An understanding and deep respect forms. Laughing with one another and AT one another become custom. Crazy hair, no makeup, fat bulges, and flat tire profanity is completely acceptable. There aren't many boundaries or inappropriate conversation topics. Lubing one another, sharing body glide, and wiping baby vomit from tits, nothing is too intimate. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better group to discuss poo, chafing, and sweaty body parts with.
Leading into race day, I was so excited for my athletes to succeed but even more excited to race with my FRIENDS. The spirit of our group for everyone's success makes my heart swell and my eyes fill with tears of pride. I think any one of these athletes would have sacrificed their own race for the benefit of another's. I know I would have. This is the camaraderie that I have grown to appreciate and love about triathlon.
The friendship really goes beyond the athletes training too...
We have had a group of unparalleled support. I'm afraid to name everyone as to not leave anyone out but I want to give special mention...
Other halves: Jason (Page's husband) and Ben (Molly's bf). These two were there for us on several occasions as sherpa support. The love they have for Page and Molly is that to be envied. They shared that love with us and took super great care of us on multiple occasions.
Peggy and Alex. Peggy of course was training with us in preparation for Choo but she also went out of her way, Alex as well, to support the NOLA crew to include surprising us on race day as a volunteer and capturing some great photos. Again, the love and support amazes me.
Pamela Williams (and Beau and Madison). Now Pamela...I don't even know how to say everything I want to say without breaking into tears. Pamela isn't just a good friend, she's incredibly GOOD at BEING a friend. She's full of surprises and happy and support. And even seems to send a message saying all the right things just when ya need it. We call her the Governor (pronounced Govenah' in Ed's northern accent). With newborn in tow, she organized birthday surprises AND showed up to sherpa our race. She didn't just show up though. This girl had signs made (which is also thanks to Peggy too) and put them all over the course + weaseled her way into an All Access Card. What a sweet surprise to be body marked and awarded our medals by Govenah' Pam. Thank you Pam. From the bottom of all of our hearts!
Jaci also woke up at the crack of dawn to be onsite volunteering and making our day extra special. Janel, Blake, Georgia, Molly's fam, Page's fam, Leigh Anne, Mary and bf, and Ashley too <--- just for Team TOA. Not to mention the other coast athletes and family that we saw along the course screaming and shouting in support. AND all the FB posts, messages, texts, and encouragement we all saw leading up to and race day.
It was all truly magical and we are so grateful.
The most important part of my race report, this day, was the FRIENDSHIPS.
My heart is overflowing with love and support.
Next up...5 went in. 5 came out!!!
The best swim ever!!!!