Why I Run

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Mom, We Made It! Storm The Trent Adventure Race

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Events, Training, Why I Run | 2 Comments

Storm the Trent Adventure Race – A one of a kind adventure!  It was a day of fun, mud, puddles, bushwhacking, nonstop precipitation, perseverance and team bonding. This race was not for the faint of heart.  This race required embracing whatever nature threw our way and I am proud to have faced it with my friend Nate and our 14 year old sons, Caleb and Ben. Storm the Trent took place outside of Peterborough in the town of Warsaw, with three different distances for different abilities.  We embarked on the mid-sized, Trek Race.  The details of the event were kept under wraps until we arrived Saturday morning. Due to the forecast of rain all day, the canoe paddle portion was scheduled first.

Here is our adventure race recap – Team:  Mom R We There Yet? completed the 60 km race in muddy glory, non-stop rain and successfully found all 13 Check Points :

  1. Canoe Paddle: Caleb and I worked as a team in one canoe; Nate in Ben in a second canoe.  It was a mass start in the river with major congestion as everyone paddled along the river to the first check point (CP1) and used our electronic chips to check in at floating stations.  A 180 degree turn and a hard paddle back to the start point was successfully executed.  One canoe capsized en-route, due to the congestion.
  2. Mountain Bike – Section 1: We pulled the canoe out of the water, transitioned to our cycling gear (life jackets removed) electronically checked in at CP2 and headed out as a team on our four mountain bikes.  This section involved locating one unstaffed Check Point (CP30) and finding our way to CP4 with only one wrong turn along the way – thank you to Ben for guiding us the correct way!
  3. Run 1 and Locating Maps:  At CP4 we transitioned to our first run section.  Along this out and back run to Rotten Lake, we needed to locate four maps off the trail (using a satellite map of the run route) which provided vital information required for a later run section where we needed to find four hidden check points.  Caleb and Ben were in charge of recording the information found at the four map stops – a permanent marker and a waterproof map bag were essential during this section as the rain increased in intensity.  At Rotten Lake we checked in electronically again (CP31) and we were back off running to our bikes.
  4. Mountain Bike Section 2:  This was a long intense mountain bike portion of the adventure race.  Mud, rocks, puddles, streams and twists and turns made this a very challenging ride. Rain continued to pour down on us relentlessly. We cycled through puddles that were so deep that we were literally up to our knees in water.  Sometimes we made it through the puddles, sometimes we fell. I have never cycled through water like this before.  We did our utmost to cycle through the rocky terrain, but for some sections we resorted to walking and running with our bikes, after several falls and a bloody knee. This was challenging for the most experienced of mountain bikers, which sadly, we are not!   Three more electronic check points were reached during this ride portion and finally we made it to the second run section.  At this point we were fully drenched, mud caked and cold.
  5. Run 2 and Orienteering: Transitioning to the run was a relief, however, getting running shoes on was extremely challenging as finger dexterity was gone. My “easy” laces were not so easy and I could not open my shoes.  My lovely teammate Nate even tried to use her teeth to loosen my laces – with much assistance I finally got my trail runners on and we were off searching for four hidden checkpoints.  Here we used the information that we had gathered earlier, during our last run. It took us a while to find the first check point; that success boosted our spirits! The running warmed my numb feet and a caffeine power gel energized Ben, who had been fading during the last bike.  With all of our spirits rejuvenated, we were off running as a team to find the next check point in the creek bed (very hidden).  Thankfully other teams helped us find the check point.  Next we were bushwhacking with our compass to find the third check point.  After being lost for several minutes, Caleb got us back on track and we successfully orienteered to the last two check points along this run route.  Then it was a quick run back to the bikes – a switch of the shoes – and we were off riding again –
  6. Mountain Bike Section 3:  This was our third and last mountain bike ride; this one to the finish.  This section consisted of dirt and paved roads, a huge relief after the technical sections we had navigated through during the last ride.
  7. The Finish LINE:  Team:  Mom R We There Yet? made it across the finish line in 5 hours and 45 minutes. (race results to be posted at Stormthetrent.com)

 

We finished together as friends, mothers and sons.

Thank you to my awesome team-mates for their great attitudes and persistence.  Each one of us had our highs and lows along the route, but we stuck together.  As a group we suffered only one bloody knee, many falls in mud and puddles, one blood sugar crash at around the three hour mark and one stuck shoe – not bad for a tough race! – no major casualties and another successful adventure accomplished!

Getting ready to swim

20 Things you can Learn by Doing an Ironman

Posted by | Events, Training, Triathlon Training, Why I Run | No Comments

Now that the IRONMAN is completed, I can fill you in on many new and valuable insights:

Things you can learn doing an Ironman:

  1. Many people think I am talking about a Superhero, when I refer to the Ironman.
  2. Doing an Ironman brings about a feeling of Euphoria for days!
  3. A pedicure is not a luxury but an necessity after completing an Ironman.
  4. Doing an Ironman is like childbirth – You think you will never want to do it again, and as soon as it is over you are ready to sign up for more!
  5. You have to keep on going…
  6. Doing an Ironman requires the support of friends, family, training partners, bike mechanics and health care professions.  Many people are needed to accomplish this feat.
  7. It is worth persevering.
  8. Impossible goals can be accomplished.
  9. Pursuing a huge goal and then completing it provides a well of strength that supports other areas of your life.
  10. You can keep on going….
  11. It is a gift to be able to swim, bike and run. If you have the ability to do these sports, do it! It is a privilege to be able to do these sports.  Ask someone who has lost any of these abilities and they will tell you to get out there and use what you have!
  12. Anything is possible.  I did not believe I could do the Ironman when I started training. It seemed impossible.
  13. You really can pee on a bike if you have to (the other one is not recommended).
  14. Putting compression socks on after swimming is a bad idea.  Purchase the calf sleeves!
  15. It is an incredible joy to exercise for an entire day.
  16. If you can adjust your schedule to train for an Ironman, you can adjust your schedule to suit any priority, if you want it badly enough. (Thank you Sheri Penner for this point)
  17. You really can keep going…
  18. Extreme perseverance is developed in training for an Ironman.
  19. You get to know your training partners very well!  Early mornings, all day training sessions…you see them at their best and their worst!
  20. Just keep going… you can do this!
  21. Completing an Ironman is something that I will treasure for my whole life. It is awesome to be an IRONWOMAN!
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Active Kids

Posted by | Events, Why I Run | No Comments

Watching my children compete in races makes my heart swell!  I truly love racing and I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that watching my kids race is as exciting (or even more exciting) than competing myself.  Having healthy, active kids is a parent’s dream.  I am thrilled that all three of my children have found sports that they love and excel at. Last summer I completed my first triathlons (ever!) and had the great joy of watching my son Caleb complete his first triathlon.  It was such a thrill.  I honestly felt like my heart was going to explode.

A couple of weeks ago, my youngest son, Elijah, completed the 5km Rankin Cancer run.  I had the joy of running with him and cheering him on as he ran the entire 5 km race (with the exception of the one water station).

The exciting news is that there are incredible opportunities right here in our Niagara region, so close to home, that our kids can participate in.  Check out these upcoming events:

Canada Day Splash and Dash in Port Dalhousie:  Events take place at Lakeside park in Port Dalhousie, with a swim in the shallow waters along the beach and a run along the waterfront to the Pier. Start times:

9:00am for 3-5 year olds – 50m swim and 400m run.

9:30am for 6-10 year olds – 100m swim, 800m run

10:00am for 11-15 year olds – 200m swim, 2km run

For more details  check out Aktiv Life.

Aktiv Swim Series for all ages:  Caleb and I completed the Aktiv swim series last year and had a wonderful time doing open water races together.  There are many distance to chose from:  500m, 750m, 1500m, 1.9 km, 3.8km.

Wednesday July 1 – Port Dalhousie

Saturday July 11 – Binbrook Conservation Area

Monday Aug 3 – Welland International Flatwater Course

Saturday Aug 8 – Port Dalhousie2015-06-02_21-34-39_logo_uid56158

 

Welland Triathlon – Give-It-A-Try – beginner triathlon for teens 14 years and older.  June 13 at 10:30 am

I wish you and your family a healthy, active summer.  I look forward to seeing you and yours out swimming, biking and running!

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Break from Running

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Training, Triathlon Training, Why I Run | 2 Comments

I am currently taking the longest hiatus from running that I have taken in the last 20 years, with the exception of when I was pregnant with each of my three children.  This is a forced break from running, due to my left hamstring which has a strain at the insertion site to the glute.  I am on week two of no running.  (Well, I did sneak in a small 8km run last Thursday, but was promptly reprimanded by my physiotherapist)  How am I even surviving?  It is actually astounding that I am doing so well.

  1. Embrace Cross-training:  The timing of my new triathlon bike could not be better.  I have been doing so many amazing rides and increasing my cycling mileage. The cycling does not at all aggravate my hamstring, for which I am very thankful.  The key is to choose cross-training that does not interfere with the healing of the injury. Find sports that you love and that keep you aerobically fit, without causing any stress to the affected areas.  Try swimming and cycling.  Triathletes have a great advantage in the cross-training camp.
  2. Find Effective Treatment from Professionals:  There are many interventions that aid in the recovery from injuries.  I have had excellent chiropractic care and physiotherapy treatment for my injury.  Focus on healing and discovering the original source of the problem.  A physiotherapist will look at how you are running or moving in your sport and daily life and discover why this injury occurred in the first place.  Only then can the most effective treatment be prescribed and preventative measures taken for the future.
  3. Do your injury-specific “Homework”: My homework includes hamstring and glute stretches and strengthening exercises, as well as prescribed rest from running.  Schedule in time to do the injury specific work that will heal and strengthen the muscles involved.  Do this work when you would normally be running and view it as valuable as your regular training routine.
  4. Enjoy other Activities:  Getting out of my regular routine of running certainly shakes up my life.  It means I have strange breaks in my day and different energy levels.  For a runner to stop running is a shock to the system.  Go for walks and hikes in new places and do not think about the training effect for a change; take time to read and pray and do yoga.  Become more well-rounded and see what it is like to be a non-runner for a few days.
  5. Stay Positive:  I am focusing on the things I have gained as opposed to what I have lost.  My swimming and cycling mileage is dramatically elevated and I am loving the other sports.  I am fresh for my rides and the quality is therefore increased in my cycling workouts. A positive mental attitude makes life much more enjoyable and will only be accelerate the healing process.

I am definitely looking forward to running again soon.  I do want to ensure that it is pain-free running.  I am thinking long-term, so I will not risk a short term run because I am impatient.  In the meantime, I have many other pursuits to enjoy!

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Why Make Running Goals?

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Training, Why I Run | No Comments

Happy NEW YEAR!

Time to make running goals and resolutions for 2015…

How many people still make New Year’s Resolutions? Has goal-making gone out of fashion?  It seems that the fear of not accomplishing their goals prevents many people from even making them. If they do not make a goal, presumably, they cannot “fall off the wagon” and they will not be disappointed.

I propose the opposite. I think you will be much more disappointed in your year if you do not make any goals at all.  Sure, you may fail, but you may also achieve something phenomenal that you would not have done at all, had you not dreamed and reached for an ambitious goal.  AND if you do fail, you will most definitely have learned many valuable lessons along the way and grown as an individual.  To try is to grow and learn.

When I look back over my running and training goals, I see how much I have gained from challenging myself with new dreams and aspirations.  In 2014, I had two very specific running and training goals.  One that I did not fully accomplish, and one that I accomplished with flying colours.  I have no regrets and I am pleased that I made both those goals.

Athletic Goals – become a faster runner, swimmer, cyclist:  Specifically –

  1. sub 3 hour Boston Marathon
  2. Successfully complete my first triathlon – Half Ironman

I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2014 and had a great time.  I completed it in 3:06:48  – NOT a sub 3 hour marathon.  Had I made too ambitious a goal?  I do not think so.  I think I could potentially have achieved the time, with smarter racing on the day—I went out too quick.  Still, I am glad I made that goal and I am not devastated that I did not accomplish that time.  It reminds me how challenging the Marathon is and how amazing it is to reach those hard-to-get times.  I have run a sub-three-hour marathon elsewhere, but not at Boston.

I completed my first ever Half Ironman triathlon in September in Muskoka.  It was a thrill and I felt strong throughout most of the race (the last 5km of the run were tough!).  I did what I wanted to do and even had the bonus of coming first in my age group.  It was a special day and so much training had gone into that event.  It was one of the thrilling moments in my life—the swim, bike and run felt euphoric at times.  I loved the whole 5 hour experience!  I do not take for granted that I completed this goal—on another day, with poor conditions, or if I had been fighting illness, the result could have been very different.  This was a gift.

Announcing one’s goals publicly can be frightening.  People may hold you accountable and ask how things are progressing.  (James has found this with his Fit by Forty goal!) You will probably achieve your goals, or you may not.  Do not let fear stop you from experiencing new and exciting adventures in 2015.

Make SMART goals!

Specific: Saying, “Get in Shape” is not specific enough.  You need to specify how frequently and how long you will workout or have a clear end goal, such as run a half marathon.

Measurable: You must be able to clearly identify when and how you have accomplished your goal.  It can be a body weight goal; a specific race distance or specific target race time.

Attainable:  With a clear plan and specific steps, most goals can be attainable given an appropriate time frame.  Make a plan so the goal is attainable!

Realistic:  The goal needs to be something you can actually do.  However, do not be deceived; often a challenging goal is more likely to be accomplished than a very simple one, as it will take true commitment and hard work.  What matters is how motivated you are to achieving your goal – with hard work, you will be must more likely to achieve your goals.

Timely:  You need to set a time frame to achieve your goal.  without a time limit there is no urgency and you are far less likely to work towards your goal.

GOALS for 2015

Go ahead and create a new goal for 2015.  Do you need to try something new?  Do you want to go faster?  Do you want to go further?  Dream and go for it.

My goal for 2015 is to complete my first Full Ironman.  I thank my friend for challenging me to pursue this dream!

Cedar Point, 7 Weeks away!

Keep Training Thrilling!

Posted by | Events, Why I Run | 2 Comments

What could be more thrilling than a FULL IRONMAN Triathlon?! Not much in my mind!  My training buddy, Nate, and I have been talking about when to race our first full ironman.  Last year I did my first triathlons ever, and my season culminated with the half ironman in Muskoka.  That was a thrill and the realization of a long-dreamed of goal.  The race  also  helped to kick off my 40th birthday with a bang, rather than with the tears and moans of “I am getting old”.  So, I thought that maybe for my 50th birthday I would do a full ironman.  Or maybe even for my 45th? Well, on a dark, cold morning this week, in the midst of the first winter storm of the season, Nate and I had resorted to indoor training. We must have been a bit delirious because, after our training session, we took the plunge and both signed up for a full ironman!  We will both be ringing in our 41st birthdays in style at the Challenge Cedar Point Triathlon 140.6 miles (Full Ironman distance).

This goal will keep me training on those cold, stormy mornings, when I would otherwise be tempted to stay in my warm bed.  There will be much training to be done and as I dream about the upcoming race in the fall, it will keep me moving all winter, spring and summer! I am very grateful for such an exciting goal to keep the “thrill” in my training.

Choose your Goal

There are times when we all get sluggish and unmotivated in our training.  If you are finding you are tired of your workout routine,  pick something new and exciting to aim for.  I challenge you to dream big and take a risk.  Here are some considerations when planning your goals for 2015:

  1. Pick something ambitious!  A little fear of the unknown keeps you on your toes. You may not be ready for your event yet, but that thought will keep you training on those days when you find it hard to get moving.
  2. Register now for your race or event, so that you fully commit to doing it.  Set up your schedule now so that you protect your training time and make it to that race. No excuses!
  3. Find a training partner or group to train with. There is power in numbers!
  4. Mix up your training to keep it interesting.  I’ve found that is one of the huge advantages of triathlon training: if I’m bored or injured (like right now) there is another sport to captivate my energy and keep me going.
  5. Make your goal public so that people keep you accountable and cheer you on.  I loved sharing my goal with my friends and coworkers.  They were all so extremely supportive and excited for me! It’s also great sharing my goals on this website!

I will be doing race reviews and compiling a list of local races in the Southern Ontario and North-Eastern US region.  Please share races you are planning on doing and races that you would recommend as excellent local races.

Share your Goal

I want to hear from you.  Please share your dreams and goals for 2015. (scroll down and add them in the comment section below)  Keep the thrill in your training!

Hike in Short Hills

Why do I Run? Embracing the Off-season from Racing

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Training, Why I Run | 12 Comments

In the off-season from racing, remember to ask yourself, “WHY DO I RUN?”

Back to the Basics:  I am running for the pure fun and thrill of it.  It has been a couple of years since I have had a true off season from racing.  Here I am, taking a break from competing for a couple of months and remembering “Why I run, and swim and bike!”  In the absences of a race, I get back to the basics of simply enjoying this physical activity and benefiting from the peace and joy it brings into my life.  In the hype of a big race, I can get very caught up in time targets and in achieving a certain goal.  It is imperative to return to the place of running and exercising for the simple pleasure of it.  I am enjoying long runs with friends and enjoying pushing myself in tempo and interval runs on my own.   I am slowly increasing my running mileage again.  I am out running five days a week once again and slowly building the distance of my runs.

I am starting to look forward to racing again.  My next races will be fun trail races along the Bruce Trail, part of the Aktiv Trail Run Series put on by Trysport Niagara.  Trail running at this time of year is glorious and it is a great way to build strength, as one must navigate the uneven and undulating terrain of the trails.

aktiv trail races

I am contemplating my goals for the next year. I want to train smart and know what my keys races will be.  I have appreciated the input of friends and coaches, who have offered me excellent suggestions.  They have confirmed what I had thought (but was second guessing), that I want to get faster at the shorter distances in triathlon, before one day attempting a full Ironman.

Why Do I Run?

  • For the pure joy of the physical activity of running; Using my body to do what it was made to do.
  • To push my own limits and challenge myself
  • To enjoy nature.  There are so many beautiful trails in Niagara, along the lake and along the escarpment
  • To set a good example for my children of living a healthy lifestyle.
  • To participate in the community, running with friends and being part of training groups
  • To spend time with God
  • To stay healthy, both physically and mentally
  • To unwind from stress  and clear my mind

Why Do You Run (bike, swim)?

Add your reasons below (you need to scroll down a bit); I really want to hear from you!  Everyone who comments on this article will be entered into a draw for a prize.

See you out on the trails!

EDIT:

James posted a link to this article on reddit, and the responses were great! We wanted to share them here as well:

koffeekev: i run because i can. having CP, a lot of people say i shouldn’t. yeah, i’ve hurt myself, so what? i can’t move forward without failing a few times.

megagreg: What else am I going to do, watch TV all night?

bah77: Its like a pyramid scheme i have already put 1000’s of km in to, and if i stop i will lose that investment.

goodsam1: I run because cardio/running frequently come into life and I got tired of sucking at it. Also I think I am hooked now, I think I have hit runner’s high at a mile.

abelcc: I’m preparing myself for when my life depends on running a long distance fast. When a meteor suddenly falls and the roads are collapsed I’ll run to safety.

dropdeaddaisy: This morning it was to see the fall colours and feel the breeze in my hair!

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The Payoff of Running – An Adventurous Lifestyle

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Why I Run | No Comments

Our Family vacation this summer consisted of 80 km of glorious hiking along the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Virginia.  A great payoff of running is an adventurous lifestyle and exciting new experiences with our children.  Many people thought we were crazy – but it was the best vacation ever!  Six very diverse individuals worked together and hiked along the highest mountains in Virginia:  A marathon runner (myself), a web-designer who runs for fitness (James, my husband), my 15 year old daughter Zara and her friend Paige, Caleb, 13 years old, and my youngest son, Elijah, who is 9 years old.  We even brought along the 10 lb dog who always joins us on our hikes.

Our hiking days ranged from 8km to 18km and we climbed to over 5,500ft above sea level to the peaks of mountains (Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain).  We carried all of our gear on our backs.  James had the cooking gear, I carried one tent, and Caleb carried the second tent.  The food was dispersed between all of us, and each person was responsible for their own gear (sleeping bag, therma-rest, clothing, toiletries).  Four nights we slept in shelters along the AT and one night we used our tents.

One of the principles we embraced on this trip was to BE ADVENTUROUS:  we petted wild ponies, we ate wild blueberries and blackberries and we climbed up rock cliffs (that we deemed safe!) to see spectacular views.  We bathed in cold mountain streams and enjoyed our dehydrated food, cliff bars, dried berries and high protein butters (sunflower butter, almond butter).

I have discovered that having a healthy running lifestyle has made me far more willing to try new adventures with my kids.  Since I train regularly for running, I knew the importance of training with James and the kids (and the dog) for the hike.  We trained together on the weekends, hiking most Sundays in the winter and spring to prepare.  We often hiked with our packs to get used to the feeling of carrying them on our backs.  In so doing, we ironed out the kinks with our gear and discovered what pieces of equipment were essential.  For example, we discovered that carrying water bottles in our packs was too difficult to keep properly hydrated (having to reach back – often dropping the bottle or not being able to access it at all meant we did not hydrate frequently enough).  We solved this problem by having a Camelbak in each pack, with the water spout right at our shoulders for super easy access.  This made a huge difference in everyone’s stamina, as now nobody got dehydrated.

My 15 year old daughter was the most reluctant member of the crew – before the big hike that is!  One day into the adventure, she told us how much she was enjoying herself and that she was glad that we had brought her along!  She apologized for having dragged her feet a bit during our preparations.  This from a teenager is truly impressive, and I am so thankful that we were able to do this journey together.  It was an incredible family bonding time.  We had no distractions from media and screens.  It was us and the great outdoors:  evenings we sat around the campfire and played “the questions game”.  We did star gazing; we played cards; we sat and talked for hours.  We breathed in the nature around us and were constantly amazed by the views and the wildlife.

Next summer we plan to discover a new section of the AT.  Our goal is to hike in New Hampshire and Hike up Mount Washington, which is the highest peak along the AT.  I am so thankful that my running has payed off in rewards for my whole family.  Four of us are now running regularly  and looking forward to using that fitness to summit new peaks and discover new adventures.  If you have any suggestions for hikes or outdoor adventures, please share them below!

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It “Runs” In the Family: Family and Fitness

Posted by | Events, Runner Profiles, Triathlon Training, Why I Run | No Comments

Caleb, my 13 year old son, did his first triathlon this summer, the same summer that I did my first!  I was as excited to watch Caleb race his triathlon as I was to do one myself.  My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest as I watched him compete. Caleb looked like he was having the time of his life and he looked so strong and confident.  As an athlete, one of the biggest complements and best payoffs of my own physical feats is to see that I inspire someone else to be active and reach for new goals.  Family and fitness are two passions of mine!  Caleb is a very articulate and kind 13 year old and he has told me that watching me race has inspired him to do the same.  I could not be prouder of Caleb!

Caleb’s first ever triathlon was on August 30th – the Guelph Lake 2, Try-a-Tri.  His race consisted of  a 375m Swim, 10km Bike and 2.5km run.  He was so excited and hardly nervous.  Caleb had watched me do the sprint distance in the morning and then raced himself at 1pm.

Caleb’s strength is swimming.  He looked incredible as he ran out of the swim, not far behind the leaders.  His 375m swim took 6:17, a pace time of 1:41/100m.  He quickly ran to his bike….ran back for his glasses (oops)… and ran to the bike mount area, passing people as he ran.

Caleb was strong and confident on the bike.  He had done some cycling with me over the summer months, even doing a ride in North Carolina in the mountains, which was very challenging.  His 10km bike on the hilly course took 22:23, with an average pace of 27km/hr.  Very respectable on his cross-bike; he was keeping up with people on triathlon bikes.  Most importantly he was having a great time.

Coming into transition 2, Caleb looked very strong.  He ran off at a quick pace, however this quickly became challenging.  The 2.5km run was the most difficult part of the race for Caleb.  He got a cramp only half a kilometer into the run which forced him to walk sections.  Caleb persisted, however, and finished the run.

I was so proud of Caleb.  He had a great time and definitely wants to do more triathlons in the future.  He is now starting his second year of swim training with West Park Aquatics and his first year of competition.  I will be there cheering him on at his swim meets!  It will be an exciting year!

 

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Half Ironman Inspiration

Posted by | Triathlon Training, Why I Run | One Comment

Congratulations to Nate and Geron at completing the Syracuse Half Ironman this past weekend (June 22)!  They are my dear friends, training buddies and Half Ironman Inspiration.  I have them to thank for introducing me to this great (and crazy) sport of Triathlon.  This weekend was truly inspiring as I went down to Syracuse with Nate; I was able to support and cheer on my friends.

Syracuse Half Ironman was a huge race (2200 participants) – fit, muscular people everywhere – the setting for the race was gorgeous.  It was a spectacular race to watch.  In the early morning hour, waves of swimmers were set out, by age group, in their colour-coded swim caps, across the serene reservoir lake.  The swim was 1.9km square route.

After the long swim, the athletes ran up on shore, had their wet suits stripped by volunteers and ran to their bikes with determination and grit.  Both Geron and Nate had excellent swims.  These athletes do not stop; this is intense and suddenly they were off again – this time on wheels.  The ride was 90 km through the rolling countryside.

Two and a half hours later Shelley (Geron’s wife) and I were ready to watch Geron as he jumped from his bike and headed off into the run.  A short while later, Nate was also off on her run.  Both of them looked strong and in good spirits.  They both blessed us with quick smiles before the focused look of determination returned and they were off on the half marathon distance run of 21.1km.

The run was grueling, with steep hills that were repeated twice, as it was a double loop course.  It was impressive to see athletes digging deep to use all their strength to keep going. Geron finished strong with a time of 5:03:40  and Nate had an incredible finish of 5:24:37 – a personal best by 24 min.  Check out all the race results at Sportstats.

It was a privilege to go down to Syracuse with Nate and cheer her on.  She is a determined athlete and she manages to balance her family life with her three kids, her job and her triathlon training.  She is an inspiration to me and a real encouragement as I venture into this new sport.

Being a spectator was  a change for me from racing.  It gave me a great appreciation for all that my family does when they support me and cheer for me at racing events.  Kudos to all the supportive friends and families who are there for the athletes!