As my miles taper down, and my training hours dwindle I've started to look back on what was accomplished this year. I think you have to remind yourself what you have done to reach your goals, it's easy to forget. Steve, Andrea, Anthony and I started off this training block by heading to Canada together to volunteer in August 2008. Being total triathlon geeks were immediately bitten by the Ironman bug. We had way to much fun volunteering for IM Canada and we came home so jazzed and excited to train for the next years race. Steve got to thinking about how he was going to train us and thus was born the 17 hour training day plans. A website followed, and we had introspective meetings once a month. We started to build or base and along the way came lots and lots of fun. We ran 41 miles on the Colorado trail and dragged way way way too many people with us.

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We ran up Red rocks stairs a ka-billion times.

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We swam and swam and swam all winter long

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We signed up for our first 50K and ran all over Moab.

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We ran long long runs in tights...with friends.

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We ran even longer runs, through the snow.

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We swam more...and more...and more.

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We ran 46 miles to Boulder in 19 degree weather.

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I tried to run 15 miles two days after running 46 miles and not yet recovered. I hurt myself. My knee kept me out of the running game for about 4 weeks, just had to take it's time to properly heal. I learned the difference between bad pain, and healing pain. I will try much harder not to make that mistake again. Here is the "I'm happy but I hurt look".

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We ran up Mt Evans in the snow and I turned back early b/c the knee wasn't quite back completely. I can't believe I left these two together.

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We went to Catalina Island and I watched Steve, Andrea, and Anthony run 50 miles. It was a hoot, and I gained perspective on being on the sideline. I had a ton of fun, and drank a few too many pomegranate margaritas.

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We ran up Highgrade...a tough climb for most local cyclists

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I progressed through another great snowshoe season, this time with more depth to my running and made my second National Snowshoe team.

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I got two new bikes which made me way faster

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Michelle and I raced the boys over our entire Shadow loop, and we won (because we're better).

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We rode everywhere. Shadow, Epic, Shadow, Epic. Climb climb climb

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We went to Las Vegas and slaughtered a half Ironman

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Then turned around 40 hours later and ran across the Grand Canyon....twice

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I ran a mountain marathon in Gateway Colorado

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I raced my first road race

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I went to Connecticut and raced the Rev3 Half Ironman

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And then the next weekend raced the Kansas 70.3 half Ironman

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and then the next weekend raced the Loveland Lake to Lake Oly

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And then we rode our bikes home

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It all involved a lot of this

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and this

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Then we cranked up the mileage and rode out east week after week after week, hundreds of miles. 156 mile rides, 100 mile rides, and lots of 85 mile rides.

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We trained for 17 hours in one day. The "official" 17 hour training day. 7K swimming, 100+ riding, and 30+ running.

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I went to California and competed in Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman

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Then came home, rode a couple hundred miles, and entered my first crit

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Then we rode 225 miles in one day

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And finally we endured a hail storm after 100 miles on the bike and 18 on the run, incurring substantial "hail damage" to our bodies.

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So, all these experiences. What if I completely choke at Ironman? Doesn't matter. No really, won't I be so disappointed if it just doesn't go my way on the actual day? Nope. Because, for one, I know what it feels like when it's not going my way. I've been to that ugly place on runs, on swims and on rides, and you know what, I've persevered through it, I've figured out how to keep going. So does adversity scare me? Nope. Number two, I've enjoyed this training, I've enjoyed the Ironman lifestyle. If you haven't seen much of me lately it's not because I'm out there painfully toiling away on my bike, it's because I'm out there living it up doing what makes my soul happy. I have found out that there is something in me that loves to go long. I love the outdoors, and I love the way this training makes me feel in both heart and mind. If all this was for nothing...I would sign up again tomorrow. The adventures and experiences have been priceless.

I don't know how I can encourage you all out there, but I want to let you know that I don't consider myself to have any special powers. I don't see myself as an unusually hard worker. What I do have is a passion to live life to it's fullest, and the ability to smile. If any of what I have done in the past year sounds fun to you, please find a way to talk to me about it. Do you see all the pictures of all the different people that did just some of the fun stuff I did last year. Well, that could be you. So please don't sit by and think "Man, I wish I could join them". I would love to find a way to make that possible for you.

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