He’s Doing Ironman Too

I get this email and it says “Congratulations, you have signed up for Ironman Wisconsin” and I think to myself…No I haven’t…

Then I scan down the email.

Troy Wieck has signed up for Ironman Wisconsin.

And I am shocked. The man has never done a triathlon.

Oh dear. We are now one of those couples. The kind where both do Ironman, competing for weekend space, and long ride time. The kind that shares race wheels and buys each other tri gear for Christmas.

I got a little flushed. After all, I like having my husband to pick me up off the pavement when I’m exhausted, and he’s heavy, I’m not sure if I can reciprocate!

But, I also think that triathlon is the fountain of youth, and why would I not be excited that my husband wants to dip his toes in it. It’s a sport focused on being healthy and we all want that for our spouses.

If you know Troy at all, you know that he has never done a triathlon. He did a duathlon once…and he did a 1/2 marathon once. Yet, if you know Troy you also know that he is probably going to do pretty well at the Ironman. He’s just like that. He’s always stayed relatively fit, and he looks more like a triathlete than I ever will. In fact when we go to Ironmans everyone always thinks it’s him that is competing, not me.

Well, after getting asked 4 billion times how many Ironmans he’s done, he can now say “I’m training for one”.

And good on him.

One small problem. No bike (just an old crappy road bike), No wetsuit, no tri gear, nada. It’s been an expensive last few months!

Troy is 6 foot 4 inches and he has a 36 inch inseam, but a shorter torso. We didn’t want to mess around with something that sorta fit but not really so we just went ahead and ordered a custom Guru frame that was built to his measurements. It took 6 weeks, but now we know that it fits him perfectly and we don’t have to make any compromises. It’s beautiful too.

Scott Geffre with Fit and Tri did all the measurements and helped with the Guru specs before they built it, and Ryan at Kompetitive Edge did all the color design and build up of it. Troy went from crap to tippy top of the line and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So here we go on another wild adventure together. I LIVE for the day that I get to hop into the water at Kona right next to him. Dream big and if you want it…go for it!!

Pity Party

I’m knee…no thigh..no waist…no shoulder deep in Ironman training these days. My time is pretty evenly split between coaching and training and I’ve been overwhelmed. Yup, there, I’ll admit it. The hours I was begging Dirk for have arrived and I’m trying to embrace them the best I can while keeping the other balls in my life in the air.

The main change this year from past ones is the feeling of pure grumpiness. It’s been bad this year. I am in the middle of seeking a solution, which really just means I’m trying to not be grumpy but it’s not working.

Last year we headed to Boulder a few days a week and now looking back I realize that this made life easy. I was just “gone” for two days and all I had to worry about was getting myself there and ready to ride. The rest was decided, where to go, what the workout was, where to eat, etc, etc. It was just easy, it was routine.

This year every day I am planning, and backing up times schedules, accommodating others schedules, and asking Troy to pick up Annie from school, or take her, or help her with homework while I finish schedules or answer emails. I’m constantly writing lists and daily plans, and often enough I am not getting everything done, and I am dropping balls, and I’m underfed, and cut short on time, and sleep. However, all the training save for 1 workout in the last 5 months has been checked off. Every darn one. But the stress has been high these last few weeks and it’s not ideal (or even close).

I’ve been grumpy.

The training I am doing is new to me. It’s a lot of time on the bike but the vast majority of it is spent slowing down so that I don’t bust over my heart rate cap. Constantly slowing, slowing, slowing. Even the hard workouts, Michelle is miles up the road while I play master and slave with my heart rate monitor that constantly tells me the same thing…slow down.

I’ve been grumpy.

When I am grumpy, I tend to play a pity party. I feel like I do everything, like nobody ever helps me, like I’m expected to keep the house clean, food in the kitchen, athletes happy, make the plans, set the tempo, remember the workouts, plan plan plan, execute execute execute, lead lead lead. I look around and wonder where all the people went that said they would bring me lunch after a hard training session. I feel like I’m not fit, have to ride slow, get dropped by EVERYBODY and no one even cares. I’m expected to take the high road, have low expectations, and smile a lot.

More grumpy.

But then today I had a ray of hope and perspective shine down on me. These are typically quite rare when I am in this state. Usually I get pissed and get myself in trouble with everyone around me, or I disappear for 5 days. This ray of hope and perspective was a good one. I was reminded:

Choices. Responsibility.

Those are the two words of the moment. We all make choices. I don’t have to listen to Dirk. I choose to listen, I choose to get dropped, because the truth is, and I’ll be quite honest here, there are not a lot of female triathletes in the US that could drop me if I didn’t let them drop me. I know that in my heart. But I listen to Dirk because I have decided that this man can help me get better. He can help me break 10 at Kona, he can help me get stronger and faster.

I chose to be a leader, to train with others. I may get taken advantage of, or treated badly in that role. I have high expectations of those around me. These are all my choices.

I choose to eat healthy and locally. I want good food in the house, I want help making it. I choose to get my training done, to let other things slide when I have work to do. I chose these things.

Which leads me to RESPONSIBILITY.

I have to take responsibility for my choices. What happens to me in life is a direct result of the choices I have made. If I am grumpy, and that makes me feel like crap, well, I can change that. Don’t be grumpy, don’t feel like crap. If I get dropped, I can change that. Ride alone, ignore Dirk and do the dropping, be okay with getting dropped. They are all choices that can lead to different results.

Taking responsibility for my choices is crucial if I want to change the outcomes. Only when I feel responsible can I recognize that I am in control of different outcomes.

If I am overwhelmed I can make different choices that will free up time in my life. I can turn my coaching business into a reality show and kick someone off the island every week. I can have meals delivered. I can ride alone when I need to go slow. These are all options in front of me.


Sometimes I have to STOP and STEP BACK and reassess if my current choices are leading me in the direction I want to head. Maybe not. Maybe I have taken on too much and I am paying for that choice. The truth is I am the one that pays for my choices and I am alone in making them. I can’t expect others to help me with them, or to take responsibility for them. My results are my responsibility.

This is clearly the lesson of the season. I went one direction for a few years, and now, feeling the sense of freedom, I have gone in the other direction. I have to pull things back to the middle and that is going to require some different choices. Bottom line. And I’m okay with that.

Rev3 Knoxville

Whirlwind! Craziness! This weekend was WILD!

On Friday Michelle and I were headed to Knoxville to Work for Rev3, but first we had a little 5 hour training ride with a 90 minute run off the bike. It was a hard training day, but there is no rest for the weary. We can sleep when we die! Fuel of choice after the 2 hour mark into the ride…Rice Krispie Treats…who needs gels, these work just as well!

Since United decided to pop us on a different flight and not tell us, we had an extra hour in the airport…in TERMINAL B…which is the best terminal…with shopping opportunities…which means…welll…I couldn’t resist a new pair of Oakleys. I have a problem…I do realize this. And yes, that’s us on the tarmac at DIA…because we flew in a teeny tiny plane, which makes PIC nervous. I did hold her hand in case you were wondering.

This was Rev3’s American season opener in Knoxville, Tennessee. BIG T! I always think of the movie Blind Side when I am here. I want to say I love Knoxville, and 2 years ago when I came here to race I had a blast. Last year I spent 90% of my time either in Worlds Fair Park at the timing truck, or in a truck delivering aid station supplies, and this year I spent 95% of my time in the bottom floor of a parking garage. But let me say….it’s the BEST parking garage I have ever had the pleasure of spending three days in!

This race Michelle and I were transition coordinators. No big, easy enough, we got this! Oh my LANTA…I am kidding. Ushering you all (yes I mean you all, I’m no longer a triathlete, after seeing how much work you all are, I QUIT) through the beast that is transition is no small feat.

The fact that you all don’t lose half your stuff is beyond me. Michelle and I were given a parking garage, and told where the swim exit was and the run start was…from there on out…we had to make magic!

A Blank Canvas!

We figured out where everything could fit, 1000 bikes! We ran around that garage with the little rolly measure thingee about a zillion times. I made 5 different charts and finally we went with this layout.

At Rev3 you get your name on your bike rack. They are laminated with your name and your number. We really had fun stapling each one on. It’s actually awesome because we get to see all the familiar names and we get giddy that they are arriving soon.

Bike check in! This is where we get to guide people to their racks, make sure they have bar end plugs, and explain the flow of transition about 1000 times. Okay, maybe 980 times…All the bikes are put to bed and we have REALLY REALLY diligent police officers guard the bikes all night. We were still nervous about this, so we were down there until late making sure that none of the WWE traffic was stepping into our transition. The officer put up a bunch of “police line, do not cross” tape and assured us that anyone who crossed the tape would have bigger problems, and then we felt like we could go catch a few hours of sleep.

One little problem. St. George was that day and I had 5 athletes racing. 3 of them made it to the finish line, and I just remember talking to Jen’s husband Mark on the phone that night, and bawling to him because I was so tired, and because I was so proud that Jen had survived the hardest swim EVER and then the hardest bike on the hardest course, in 40mph wind. I cried and people asked if I was okay. Yes, just proud tears. Then I stayed up until my 3 athletes had made it to that finish line and shed a few more tears as I fell asleep.

Race morning. Oy, and I thought our jobs were pretty close to done. I mean, you set it up, and then they just go through it right? Not so much. Race day had me running around with literally not a single moment to spare. It was multitasking at it’s finest from 4am until 1am the following day. Getting the pros through transition without crossing the AGers, making sure the AGers were taken care of all day, and keeping all those bikes safe throughout the day was no small task. Breakfast and lunch never happened and I didn’t even miss the meals. No time to eat, just making sure everything went as well as we could make happen.

At the end of the day, just a few bikes remain and we are busy packing everything up. 12 bags of trash….ewwww. My hands were covered in gel, red bull, gatoraid…and pee. Yup, sugar and urine, that’s what’s left when all the triathletes head home. And yet, I loved every minute of it, because these are my people, and I love them all for their nerves, for their smiles, for their determination, and even for their oodles of leftover gel wrappers.

In the end, PIC1 and PIC2 made it through. It’s great working in a capacity like this with Michelle because we are already so used to communicating with each other. I can just look at her and she knows what I’m thinking. It was a two girl job, and at the end of the day we would look at each other and say “I barely even talked to you, how are you, are you okay?”

What a weekend! The final hours are always the hardest as we pack up everything into the big trucks that will be driven across the county. It’s like a puzzle fitting everything in and we are usually tired, and loopy and living on coke and coffee. But we are also content, because all the athletes made it through the day safely and we allowed people a platform to chase their dreams. We supported them to the best of our abilities and for that we can smile as we dig deep through those last hard hours.

I feel blessed that Rev3 has given me the opportunity to be on the other side of the table. Michelle and I were talking today about the hard work and we were discussing how nothing bad can come from the opportunity to put in hard work. As Ironman triathletes we train for a race that is hard, and any time we spend doing other hard things helps us learn more about ourselves. This weekend required a 3rd..4th…10th wind and so does Ironman oftentimes. Energy ebbs and flows but your attitude is always within your control and to see so many Rev3 staff with a smile on their face when I know they haven’t slept in days, that’s a valuable reminder!

Going up the Sunsphere was on my Bucket list this year. But unfortunately, I can honestly say I did not have a single spare 5 minutes with which to get it done. This was the closest I got to it at 1am on Monday morning, 7 hours before my flight departed back to Denver. Maybe next year…but I doubt it.

I was so proud of my athletes that raced this weekend. Some disapointments were had as StG was about as challenging as it gets. Audra lived to fight another day, you can read about that here. Emily did everything she could, every darn thing and I shed some tears when she didn’t make the mile 65 cutoff like so many others. ┬áJen had what was really a breakout performance for her. This one will go down in the books as a turning point in her quest to get back to Kona. She was strong like BULL. James, in his madness at chasing the Guiness World Record for 30 Ironman distance races in one year was just about the only person who was glad that the swim didn’t get canceled (because it doesn’t count for him when it does). 7 down for James! And Ron, oh Ron, he had a really great day out there. His determination and attitude can not be beat, he always races with style and this was no different. I’m really proud of his effort.

On the half side Katie learned a valuable lesson about staying positive, and also about putting too much nutrition down the hatch. Emily won her Age Group and was 6th amateur, and Paul finished his first 70.3 distance race. It was a hot day in Knoxville and they really had to be on their game. Also, Mike took 3rd in a 70.3 in Lisbon, and executed a stellar race. Mikki was back home running the Colorado Marathon and I’m proud that she dug deep through the rough patches. One of the coolest things ever…Emily’s finisher medal fit inside her age group winner medal. I thought that was super neat.

I also want to give a huge shout out to Anthony (my big brother Beeson), Tyler, and Katie B. They are great friends from here and they all had stellar races at Knoxville! CDA is looking good for all of them!

After sleeping for 10 hours a night the last two nights I can feel the energy returning and my own drive to put in the long hours of training. I have 16.5 hours just on the bike this week and it will give me some good time to digest all that has happened over the last week. So many lessons to be learned, for me, and for those I guide. If you raced in Knoxville, congratulations, I hope you had a BLAST!

Off to the Races

This is a HUGE weekend for me. I’m headed to my first Rev3 race to work. I worked several events last year for them and had so much fun that I’m back this year for more. This time I’m dragging Michelle with me and we are in charge of transition. Should be a pretty steep learning curve, I can’t wait to see the Rev3 family again.

It’s also a huge weekend for me in that 10 (TEN) of my athletes are racing this weekend. It’s been a busy last few days as I make contact with everyone, settle some nerves, and talk a few off the ledge. It’s like all the emotion of my own taper, multiplied by TEN. 5 Ironman Saint George participants, 4 1/2 Ironman participants (3 at Rev3) and 1 marathon, what a weekend! That’s 1,010.40 miles of racing!!!!!

I’ve always be a highly emotional and empathetic person. I like to say that nobody cries alone in my presence. Not such a good trait when I was in the business world, but a darn good trait for training other athletes, and helping them to their goals.

Although all my ponies keep me at a gallop, I love each and every one of them. I feel like that reality show lady on TLC that has all those kids. I work hard to give each of them the work they need and I try hard to be there for them when they need me. As with all things it’s a work in progress and I’m always thinking about how I can give more of myself and my knowledge to them.

I sat back today and realized that I will have 10 athletes standing on a start line this weekend and they are all fitter than they started, not one of them is sick, and not one of them is injured (save for James who with 30 IMs on the schedule this year is basically in a perpetual state of injury in some manner). They are all tapered, and they all have a race plan. I consider this to be a minor miracle.

As I go into this busy weekend I can’t wait to see what unfolds. So much work has been laid down, it will be so much fun to follow along during their race experiences.

So good luck to those of you racing! I can’t wait to hear all the stories of how you negotiated the obstacles of the day and thrived in adversity!