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Even a Band Geek can be an Iron(wo)man!

Posted Jun 13 2011 5:19am

Lately I have been feeling pretty stressed for time and having doubts I can fit in training for the half Ironman I signed up for.  But this inspirational guest post by the amazing Frayed Laces may help me keep going!

Here is her post on her adventures of becoming not just your typical triathlete!  I hope to be as amazing as her someday!

Even a Band Geek can become an Iron(wo)man!

I’m not an athlete, I’m a poser. Growing up, I was that pudgy, dorky kid who played in the band. I began hitting the gym daily post college for social reasons more than fitness ones. I designated Fridays as the “run 6 miles” day on the treadmill, and began to look forward to my treadmill runs–while running, I felt confident and strong. I had some coworkers who were marathoners, and they always tried to convince me to run a marathon. I thought it was the funniest suggestion alive. I’ll never forget one coworker’s words: “Anyone can run a marathon. You just have to train properly.” Eventually, I took my running outside and bought a Garmin. I blame the Garmin for turning me to the dark side.

Shortly after the birth of the Garmin, I moved to Hawaii for graduate school. Something about the move made me confident enough to sign up for a local 5k, and I ended up taking home 3rd place female overall (it was a very small field).  I couldn’t believe that I had actually won a prize for something athletic. I began to think of what other races I could do. I decided to sign up and train for my first marathon: the 2007 Honolulu Marathon.

While I was training, I thought I was doing everything right. I was running faster and longer and pushed harder and harder. I kept pushing through my training, and ignored many warning signs. Two weeks outside of the marathon, I had some weird groin pain. Thinking it was a muscle pull, I took the entire two week taper period completely off. I was determined to finish my first marathon. During the race, I experienced excruciating pain. The pain got so bad that I was running with an awkward gait, and my hip kept locking. Around mile 16, I had this feeling that if I stopped running I would not be able to take another step. So I continued to the finish.

To make a long story short, I completely fractured my pelvis in two places. My doctor explained that I most likely had a stress fracture going into the marathon, and the act of running the marathon completely fractured the bone in the superior and inferior pubic ramus.

I was on crutches for a month, and then two more months of no running. During that time, I picked up biking and swimming and dabbled in some short distance triathlons. Since then I’ve never looked back.

To date, I have run 7 marathons, 4 ultras, and completed two half-Ironmans and two full Ironmans. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of runners and triathletes that are constantly challenging me to push my boundaries. Living in Hawaii and being able to train year-round in this climate and beauty certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

My 2010 season was my biggest one yet.  In May I qualified for the Kona Ironman World Championship at the Hawaii 70.3.  In October I did my first Ironman, Kona, in just over 11 hours.

Four weeks later I finished the Florida Ironman in 10:46.

Two months later I finished my first 100 miler, the  HURT 100 .

I still consider myself a newbie in this sport and am excited to see how much progress I can make.

But enough about me….what you want to know is “how can I be successful in triathlon?”

Well, fellow athletes, I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic secret.  It takes work. Lots of hard, hard work. You have to not only be willing to put in the training hours, but you have to be willing to push yourself hard during your training.

But, with that said, I firmly believe ANYONE can finish an Ironman.  At Ironman events you see athletes of all physiques and ages.  What’s the one thing they have in common? Hard work and determination.

When I first started out in triathlon I had no idea what I was doing.  I swam a few times a week, biked a few, and did some running.  It wasn’t until I got hooked up with a coach that my training improved.  Training competitively for a triathlon is a fine balance.  If you’re a runner, you know how hard it is to figure out your running schedule.  Imagine doing that with three sports! Yikes!

So, my recommendations: if you’re a total newbie, sign up for a sprint triathlon and maybe read a book or two on training.  On race day, just soak up the fun and enjoy the experience.  Don’t worry about speed. If you want to get stronger and faster, look for a local coach and sign up for more races.  Coaches are there to push you but also to help you properly recover between workouts (the fourth discipline in triathlon!)

Some people have a hard time finding the motivation to keep pushing with training, but every time I start to feel overwhelmed I just think about my favorite quotation and how it applies to my training: “There will be a day when you can no longer do this…today is NOT that day”.

Most people think that you have to quit your job in order to be an Ironman.  Not true! I know many Ironman athletes that are lawyers, doctors, moms and dads.  You can decide how much time you can dedicate to training based on your lifestyle and work around it.  Yes, it means you will wake up before 5am on most days, and do a second workout in the evening (or even a third!), but if Ironman is your goal you CAN do it.

Trust me, if a former pudgy band geek can do it…..ANYONE CAN!



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