Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mid-week madness (Plus Sister Madonna)

Time is flying by and it has finally starting to sink in. I graduate in exactly one month, both internships are finished May 2nd, and Ironman takes place in exactly 45 days. However, it feels like just yesterday I finished up my Euro-travels, hopped in the Ranger (my 99' Ford Ranger beauty) and drove down to Arizona to start my college experience. But that was nearly four years ago.

On Monday I had a nice little brick workout. A brick workout is where you do workouts back to back with the only rest in between is for changing clothes. So I had a 3,000 meter swim followed by a 45-minute run. And today (Wednesday) I have a similar workout, a 2500 meter swim followed by a six-mile run. My body feels great so it will not be too dreadful. Tuesday called for a four hour bike ride. So I went to my first class, and conveniently missed my next class in order to finish my bike ride before it turned dark. Priorities right? All the professional triathletes are in town for Ironman Arizona this Sunday so my ride on Bee-Line highway was rather humbling. And with four hours of riding alone I began to think about how quickly these four years have passed and how far I have come. As these pro's were whizzing by me at Mach 1 I realized how far I NEED to go in order to compete at Kona, but I also realized that less than two years ago I could not even ride my bike over an hour without huffing and puffing like an aged smoker. Last year I thought running for an hour straight was a huge accomplishment, now an hour run is considered a recovery workout ha ha.

Endurance can definitely be trained. It is not limited to elite athletes or burgeoning teenagers. There is a reason why some of the best triathletes are middle-aged. It takes years to develop the endurance to do an Ironman, and do it well. The guys who win these Ironman events are in their mid-thirties. And there are even men over 50 that finish under ten hours (I plan on finishing under 12 ha ha). Nothing is impossible, and the world of endurance racing knows has no age limits. Probably one of the most inspirational of these age-group triathletes is Sister Madonna. This lady is incredible! So what does an Ironman look like? How about a 78-year-old Catholic nun that did not start running until the ripe-young age of 49? This Spokane, Washington resident has competed in 37 marathons, 300 triathlons and 31 Ironman Triathlons.......all after the age of 50! At 76 she was the oldest female competitor ever to finish an Ironman, and she says she wants to be the oldest competitor EVER to finish at Kona (current record is 80 years old). During her sporting career she has also worked very hard at raising money for various charities, and she dedicates every race to an ill person in need. She also has quite the sense of humor. When she was being interviewed by ABC before Kona two years ago she was speaking about her faith and how much she enjoyed training and she was then quoted saying "Yah I guess you can say I train religiously" ha ha. I hope at that age I still have the ability to be competing or even working out. She truly is an inspiration, to me, and to many.


“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
- Henry David Thoreau

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