Sunday, April 13, 2014

Network of Support

Any athlete worth their salt will tell you, they didn't make or couldn't have made it to where they are without the support of others.  It may be family, could be friends or a stranger with encouraging words, support is key to keep an athlete engaged and moving towards their goal.  Thoughts occurred to me this week that made me want to blog about them.
I have a network of support in my world, both personally and athletically.    
Derek, a friend of mine in the athletic world asked me to be a Brand Ambassador for the company he represents, CW-X. In all of my races, I have worn CW-X bottoms and Derek has graciously supplied them to me. Imagine K T tape sewn inside compression bottoms and the support and stability it provides, perfect for me. Support for my legs, stability for my knees and support from my friend.  Thank you Derek. 
In my athletic world, there are groups within groups that provide support and stability.  As you work your way deeper into my network, each group adds to the characteristics of the preceding group. The outer group asks what I am doing, when are the races, how I am feeling and wishes me good luck.  One group inside of them is made up friends that understand endurance sports. They are participants at races, some work in the industry and know the rigors of training for events. We trade war stories, we see each other out on the trails and we follow each other's progress and check results online.  Dig a little deeper and you will find my active supporters.  Here you will find phrases like, "I'll be out there cheering for you", "I'd love to pace you" or "put me down for your crew."  These are friends that want to see what an ultra is all about because they are 80% committed to signing up for one but (secretly I believe) just need the nudge to compete in one. Coach Melissa, Katie, Darren and Tim - I cannot wait to toe the starting line with you and support you in your endeavors.  Finally what I call, "my inner circle" of support.  It is made up of my crew and pacers. During my races, they have see me at my worst and best.  They have quietly listened to me explode early in a race, encouraged me at low points and celebrated with me crossing the finish line. Darnell, or as I call him Darn Elk.  A coach of many, statuesque and proud like an elk and even rode his bicycle alongside of me in my very first ultra.  Tracy, the "mother role" of the group.  She does log training and racing miles with me but always has the supportive smile, attitude and the "magic backpack of whatever you need."  The Drs. Black, Tracy and Richard have reworked plans to crew and pace me at races.  Even staying up through the night when they couldn't make it, to monitor my progress and offer advice to keep me going. Thank you Dr. T for watermelon, it's liquid fruit gold for me during an ultra and also for slogging through a torrential desert rainstorm for 30ish miles.  Swamp foot anyone?  Jeff K. He is my coach, friend, crew and pacer.  Here's how to sum up Jeffrey, "what do you need? I got it for you. Whatever it takes, whatever you need."  His famous phrase to me is, "if you have to walk, walk with a purpose."  Heather, the brains of the operation.  Crew chief extraordinaire!  Heather makes everything work, has whatever I need, whenever I need it and always is in my corner. She let's me focus on training and racing and even packs and plans for the rest of the crew to be taken care of and have all of their needs met. Heather runs the whole show.  I would also like to thank the spouses and significant others of my network.  My crew by supporting me means I am taking them away from their families and loved ones.  I do understand and appreciate that, Thank You.
Bottom line is all of my success in the ultra community is due to the support of others.  Whether you are training for your first 5K or you are a grizzly marathon veteran, say "Thank You."  Whatever group you land in or groups you have it is important to realize you have support and couldn't be where you are without it. 

This week's workout schedule is as follows:
Sunday - 2 hour long run
Monday - 1 hour tempo run
Tuesday - Swimming
Wednesday - Speed workout
Thursday - Rest day
Friday - 1 hour tempo run
Saturday - 3 hour long run
For me, it's not about miles covered but time on my feet.  The weekend runs I usually try to complete within a 24 hour period then really push my tired legs on Monday.  As training builds, runs will become longer in time duration on the weekends and be tailored for the courses of each race. 


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