Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Full Circle

Some of my best thoughts come to me while I’m working out. Unfortunately, a lot of those thoughts stay with my workouts and never quite make it out of my mouth to either be heard or written down.  Luckily, the thoughts from yesterday’s ride really clung to me and I am able to express them through this blog.

Right before my senior year of college began in 2007, I reunited with Ryan Giuliano after seeing him out one night. We had discussed my 2007 Chicago Marathon training and my Achilles injury leading me to bike, elliptical, swim and lift only and how frustrating the whole experience was for me. Being the wonderful guy he still is today, Ryan created a plan to help me successfully finish the 2007 Chicago Marathon.

His training plan helped me see that biking and swimming fitness could get me (anyone) to the start line of a marathon if done correctly. Fast forward to the Spring of 2008. Ryan trained me to run the GO! St. Louis marathon as my first real attempt at a marathon, and it went pretty darn well. I was even more into this “cross training” stuff since it seemed to keep me stress fracture free (I had 2 fractures and 4 reactions in college).

Ryan, my boyfriend at the time, then dropped the news on me: since you have all of this swimming and biking fitness, would you want to do a triathlon that could qualify you for Kona? Let’s be honest, I knew what Kona was after having seen a video on it at EIU Running Camp in 2002, but I had no idea how to qualify or really how to even compete in a triathlon at this point.

Long story short, I missed qualifying for Kona by 9 seconds. As much as I had hoped the girl who beat me would not take her Kona slot, she did. I got over it pretty quickly, instead choosing to go back to running, but still incorporating the biking and swimming since those clearly were the keys to my injury-free running.

Fast forward to Chicago 2009. My first time breaking 3 hours. An incredibly exciting experience, and one that caught the eye of my next coach, Cari Setzler. She also believed that not only could I qualify for the Olympic Trials (2:47 standard at the time), but that I could do so while still incorporating the cross training.

Unfortunately, I partially tore my hamstring in my attempt to qualify, once at Milwaukee 2011 and then again at California International Marathon 2011.

While I was naturally upset over these events, I met an awesome guy (Earl from RMS Physical Therapy) because of it….so to tie into my last post, I truly believe everything does happen for a reason.

Back to my title of this post: Full Circle.

When I was riding yesterday “with” Ryan (as in he was going as slow as he could and was still killing me), I realized that the last time I picked up swimming and biking because of a running injury, it led to really great things.

After the partially torn hamstring in 2011, the biking and swimming proved to be enough to keep me healthy long enough to go back to Milwaukee in 2012 and win the marathon.

Funny how the “temporary fixes” we place on things end up taking over. If someone had told me in 2007 that the swimming and biking I was doing to hopefully make it to the start line of the 2007 Chicago Marathon would later help me almost qualify for the Ironman World Championships, I would have laughed.

As I am writing this, a ton of speedy ladies are punching their tickets to the 2016 Olympic Trials. Theoretically, I should have been there with them, celebrating instead of writing this. But, as so many circumstances in my life have proven, everything happens for a reason.

Remember that “I partially tore my hamstring at CIM 2011?” part of my story? I have said since that day that I will be going back to beat the CIM course, and this may be my perfect opportunity to do so.

So while I may not be punching my ticket to the Trials, I know that I still have plenty of time, and one tiny race to tackle first. Onward and upward: Kona here we come!

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