Last night I got a note from an athlete that upset me a little. She is relatively new to our squad, and is a hard working, dedicated runner. She has been dealing with some pre-existing injuries that have forced us to reconsider this season’s goals. In her note she said that she would understand if I didn’t want her to register under City Coach at races. Of course i told her that all I ever ask from my athletes is effort, and clearly she gives me that, but I felt bad that she would think I wouldn’t be proud to have her wear our colors.
Of course it goes back to the age-old argument about whether it’s better to have your fastest possible race, or to win with a sub-par performance. I love winning – or more to the point, I love when my athletes win and I get to take the credit for it. But some of my proudest moments have come when an athlete has made an incredible effort but not made it to the top step of the podium.
I wondered why the athlete in question – or anyone else – would think that I’d be upset with them if they gave their best effort. Then I remembered my favorite movie quote. Click play and you’ll understand.
My parents tell me that when I crossed the finish line at Lake Placid in 2008 that the announcer told me I was an Ironman. I didn't hear him. In 2008 I crossed the line really cold, extremely wet and insanely tired. I enjoyed the experience but I didn't have a good time. I felt shriveled from soaking in hours of pouring rain but not iron. I decided not to register for the following year, and then plagued by injury stayed away another year.
I am determined to go back this year and finish the race feeling iron. For me that's not a time. It's about attitude. This year I promise to NOT do the following:
1. Freak out the night before and not sleep.
2. Start the swim far away from the start line.
3. Whine in the transition tent that I'm going to die trying to ride in the rain and have the volunteer have to PUSH me out.
4. Complain about the lady at the water station that couldn't offer my hypothermic body any warmth except the promise that god loved me.
5. Put no clothing in my special needs bike bag assuming big girls can be a little chilly. Yeah, I'm not a 'big girl.
6. Stop my bike at special needs bike and try to convince my father to take over.
7. Walk during the marathon. Of all things, this kills me the most. I am not a walker. Unless it's walking my bike up a hill. (no I don't usually walk my bike, I only did that once during Mooseman after I fell over in the ditch on devil's hill).
8. Fall asleep before my dinner gets to the hotel.
9. Complain about my performance.
That's the list. These are all things within my control. These are my ultimate goals. I would also like to shred the majority of my age group but that's a bigger chunk of ambition for another blog. So, yesterday, standing in line to register I didn't feel the excited Christmas feeling I felt three years ago at sign up. Maybe that's because they jacked up the price and apparently I will have not Christmas this year. But back to registration, I just felt calm and focused. I know what needs to be done and I'm looking forward to doing it.
The team is in. Congratulations to City Coach athletes Jon Miles, Leanne Elisha, Agnes Zbylut and Bobby Dweck on their strong performances. Leanne and Agnes both set PR’s (Agnes by 2.5 hours) and Bobby made a strong debut. Congratulations also go out to Jon Blyer, Tom Malone and the rest of the BTC crew, John McGovern (sub 10 at age 46), James Gray (of RUN NYC), Larry Lewis, Daniel and Joe Benun (Joe turned 18 two days ago), and all our other friends who toughed out the rough course.
A couple of seasons ago, the lovely and understated Emily Kindlon announced that our team mascot should be a three-legged dog. I liked the concept – we're not always pretty, but we get the job done. Killer even offered to harm an intact animal if necessary. The legend grew, as folks sent us photos of tripods, and our Reach the Beach team even had a related theme song. Now our boy Mordy has told us about a well funded study to examine the running style of three-legged dogs.
Pictured to the left is Jens Voigt, finishing stage 16 of the Tour de France on a loaner bike after a nasty crash. Below is his account of the incident and how he avoided the SAG wagon. (Text from bicycling.com as recommended by our boy Scott.)
I came over the top only 20 seconds down on the front group, but about 2 kilometers into the descent my front tire blew and I thought, “Oh God,” and I went down. Just one year after my horrible crash, and there I was tumbling on another mountain descent. And let me tell you, about the only place that feels good right now is my right ankle. The rest of me is all road rash. Plus I’ve got five stitches in my left elbow and then there are some ribs that are not in the right place! I may have to get x-rays, but I hate x-rays (the radiation), and plus, if I’ve got a fractured rib, what can anyone do about it?
The worst thing of all was that I almost got forced out of the Tour for a second year in a row. The problem was that the first team car was behind Andy Schleck, and the second had decided to go up ahead to hand out water bottles at the foot of the next climb. As a result I had no bike, because mine was shattered.
So then the broom wagon pulled up and was like, “Do you want to just get in?” And I said, “Oh no, I don’t need YOU!” But there I am with blood spurting out my left elbow and no bike. Finally, the race organizers got me a bike, but it was this little yellow junior bike. It was way too small for me and even had old-fashioned toe-clip pedals. But that is the only way I could get down the mountain, so I had to ride it for like 15-20 kilometers until I finally got to a team car with my bike.