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July 2016

Music City Triathlon - July 16, 2016

Nashville, TN.  This was SUCH a fun race because it was like a big reunion.  I had my father and my husband racing with me - as well as a number of friends.  Some doing their first triathlon, some doing their 100+ race.  True to form, it was HOT.  


My friend (and Team WE teammate) Lisa

     So - this race epitomized many of the things I love about triathlon.  First - having my family racing.  

Second - seeing so many of my friends racing, and having so many other friends cheering.  And third - well that is a longer story...


The swim portion of the race is in the Cumberland River.  After some past 'current issues'  the race organizers changed the sprint distance race to a 300 meter downstream swim this year, which (in my humble opinion) was perfect.  The racers line up on a concrete dock and jump in one by one every 2-3 seconds and start swimming.  While the last of the sprint distance racers were starting off, the Olympic distance racers were lined up waiting to start - all lining this dock.  I was watching the last few swimmers, and noticed one was definitely struggling.  She managed to take about 5 strokes, and then started looking around wildly for a kayak, who appeared right on cue.

My father, myself, and Tami watching the sprint swimmers

She held on, (and although I could not hear any of these conversations, I am pretty sure this is how they went) and the kayaker gave her some encouraging words.  She nodded, then started swimming again - made it about three strokes and was grabbing the kayak again.  Again the kayaker offered her encouragement, but this time she was shaking her head no.  Another boat was being summoned to come pick her up.  At this point the two swimmers who started behind her came up, encouraged her, and offered to swim along beside her.  OK, that might work, so she started off again.  Made it about 5 strokes, stopped, shook her head, and grabbed the kayak.  Suddenly, from the crowd lining the overhang above the river, there were cheers and shouts of encouragement.  One of the other swimmers said, 'Look, you have a cheering section'.  The cheers spread like wildfire, through the crowd, and every single racer on that dock waiting to start began clapping and cheering.  It was like a switch was flipped.  "Am I?" became "I AM!!!!", this huge grin came across her face, she nodded to her companions, and off she went.  Still stopping every few strokes, but making definite forward progress.  And - she did it.  I don't know how the rest of her race went, but she made it through that swim; and no matter what her time was at the end of the day - she was a winner.  

That's pretty cool.

The 'Music the Moves' team - let me hang with them :)


     The other thing I just love is to see the variety of people that race.  Everyone from aero helmets and disc wheels, to mountain bikes with running shoes.  Each with their own goals, and each out there trying to race to the best of their abilities.  One of my friends was the 'designated last finisher' - so she swam, biked, and ran with the last person so no one was actually 'last'.  She had so much fun - and I'm sure was a great support to whomever she was accompanying.  

     So - swim in the Cumberland River (mostly downstream for the Olympic Distance), bike on a closed-to-traffic Parkway, and finish it off with a scorching hot run.  Surrounded by a bunch of crazy people (most of whom I know) doing the same.  It was great fun!  

I think I'll do it again next year.... 

My speedy friends - Tammy and Vicki


Yep - ElvisIMG_6129
Elvis with Emily and Brad

Here's the story . . .

"KMF - Do you know what that stands for?" my father asked me.  We had just finished the Long Course Duathlon National Championship in Texas (2015).  Nope.  No idea.  As it turns out, on the second run there was a guy in front of my dad with "KMF" on the back of his shirt.  Try as he might, my dad couldn't catch up with him to ask what it meant, and it was driving him crazy.  He said that he kept his eye on him after the finish, and tracked him down to find out.  "Keep Moving Forward".  As well talked about it, we decided it was a great motto - for life and triathlon.  Especially during an Ironman race when the overwhelming tendency is to want to slow down, to take a break, to stop - just for a second; but you have to just keep moving (preferably forward).  Same with life - when things get crazy or don't necessarily go the way you hope or plan - break it down into smaller pieces and, well, KMF!

     ....and Smile.  There are oh so many reasons for this.  I have been sidelined by many things - I have fallen off my bike (a lot) - I have taken corners too fast, been taken out by others who have taken a corner too fast, I have been hit by a car, I have failed to unclip and hit the ground; I have had a stress fracture (and later a broken foot . . . ); I have had two children - there have been times I just could not race - or even just go for a swim/bike/run.  If you have been there, you know, there is nothing that makes racing or training more appealing than NOT being able to do it.  I have friends who would give anything to be able to race.  A long-time family friend battled tonsillar cancer a few years ago.  He would come to our monthly time trials wearing his chemo pump - and he would be so happy just to be able to be out there.  The next year he was in remission and had one of the best Ironman races of his life.  Another close friend of mine who is a long-time swimmer found a few years ago that his times were getting slower and he was having difficulty with arm fatigue while swimming.  The verdict - ALS.      There are so many people who would give anything to be able to do what we take for granted most of the time. I try to keep that in perspective - especially while racing.  It is easy to get caught up in the race, to set high goals and expectations - and sometimes things just don't go as planned.  I try to truly enjoy the process - even when it hurts - and just be thankful I am able to do what I do.  Push yourself, test your limits, but remember to have fun!  With all that in mind, I figure there is nothing left to do - but smile, smile, smile.