Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lessons from Africa: Part III

With another race around the corner I thought it best to wrap up the multi-part Ironman Africa blog. Although it feels like I could have written forever on the adventures in Africa all things must come to an end.  I give you Part 3: The End.

Luckily for me, I survived the great white shark diving adventures because I had a race to get on with!

Part of this blog is inspired by a new friend who has a wonderful characteristic of wanting to master something. This is very different than the desire to succeed. Success is the need for society's approval. The desire to master something is LOVING the process.  No loss of enthusiasm even if things aren't going your way.  It is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of that intense enjoyment.

I believe we thrive not when we have done it all but when we realize we have way more to give, way more to chase after.  A deliberate flaw or poor result is a reason to continue to work, and push, and discover, and suffer so you can realize there is NO END.  No end, just the knowledge that you need to let go of the past and embrace the new you.

As an athlete I am constantly changing and evolving and loving the process. I went into Ironman South Africa sick and on antibiotics but really wanting to dig deep and experience the race.  My mind was ready, my body was not.  I pushed and suffered more than I ever have and came up short. At mile 130 I was top 10 and running strong in a field littered with World and Ironman Champions.  But endurance racing is fickle. With what seemed like the blink of an eye the wheels came off.  As disappointing as this was, the race experience was extremely empowering. Even as top 10 slipped away and I was hurting (and hobbling) I was smiling.  Smiling because I LOVE the chase.

After Africa, it was back to the swim, bike, run grind with a little photo shoot or 2 thrown in there. Courtesy of the uber talented Brent Doscher.

I also decided to throw in a trail race to test the legs, lungs and heart.  A group of us went up to race Pineland Farms Trail Festival and a festival it was!  Complete with ferocious run terrain, smiles and post race beer.  A fantastic event with fantastic people. I was honored to cross the line as first female in the 25K but even more psyched on the performances of this All-Star crew.

Let's review the execution:

Deidre Cullen: The plan was to race the 25K. Twenty Five K. On outrageously hilly terrain. She decides 2 nights before to race the 50K. I will do the math for you. That's double the distance.  Well, the little sis sure showed me and threw down a VERY respectable 50K.  She now has blisters the size of Texas but the post race smile is all I needed to see to know that it was worth it.

Deidre is the one in the fleece lined hoody. (It's 90 degrees at the race start). She is trying to get into heads of the other racers. Mind games. 

Becky Chase: Another gal that attacked her first 50K and finished in style. Becky wore socks. She has no blisters.

Jonah, Rhonda, and daughter Amber. Rhonda raced like a wild caribou on Red Bull and beat her time by like 3 hours. Amazing. Their daughter Amber ran her first trail 5K and rocked it.

Myles Chase: MC registered for the 50 mile but decided 'that was soooo last year' so he switched it up mid race and did the 50K. He ran way faster than I could ever dream of running a 50K all while chugging PBR's and sporting a cotton button down. Savage.

Christopher Francis: Even more impressive than his perfectly executed race and 2 HOUR 50K PR was the fact he dribbled and flicked a field hockey ball the entire way. Amazing. Man of many talents.

Ryan Kelly: And of course my training sidekick who has not written a blog in 4 years so he does not get a hyperlink.  He may be sloth-like at blogging but quite the opposite at trail racing. He averaged 6:16 pace and that, my friends, was almost a course record.

What a crew!

Up Next: Mountains to climb and Ironman to attack in IDAHO!


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