Monday, August 30, 2010

A rose by any other name...

Ok, so maybe this isn’t a Shakespearean play, but Kevin received his official bib number last week (#739) and that is another step closer to the upcoming race! Ford Wisconsin Ironman in Madison, WI on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010!!

This past weekend I was talking to a new found friend, @lisaontheloose (via email). She and I were writing about several topics, but the parallels of endurance training and success in corporate America came up. Mostly how committing yourself to such an undertaking and doing all of the activities required to ensure success is something to be proud of and really shows some moxie (for lack of a better word). And how that could easily translate to your professional career.

Hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her, but here’s what she wrote: “I think his triathlete training will be a huge asset. Shows he has a lot of energy, drive and commitment. He's not scared to take on a challenge.”

And after she wrote that, I was nodding my head and felt a little swell of pride in my chest (because we should all have realized by now that I’m living vicariously through Kevin). I agreed, and I hope that anyone out there who has publicly announced a dream that makes you a little sick to your stomach, can also relate.

So I started thinking of his training in terms of a job and how that might translate:

Goal setting
  • Setting the overall Goal and all those milestones necessary along the way.
Research and alignment of goals with company mission
  • It’s important to have a full understanding of the impact a project/job will have on the overall organization.
  • Does it fulfill the corporate MVV (mission, vision and values).
Planning/Organizational skills
  • Create task list and associated milestones to reach goal.
  • Regular and consistent checking to ensure that project is moving forward at the correct pace.
Creating and managing of a budget
  • Making sure your project doesn't break the bank, so to speak, and that your goals are met within the resource limits set.
  • Ensuring that the milestones are met and making any necessary tweaks along the way to ensure overall success.
Supervision and managerial tasks
  • Including those in adjacent or supportive departments within your company (Even though the primary person being managed/supervised is YOURSELF, you also need to look at those indirectly involved who can get in the way of meeting goals (family ;-))
When I think about all of the things that have gone into his training, over the many years; and especially this year, I recognize his desire to follow his personal dream. His commitment to see it through and his determination to be the best he can be….basically that he has found a passion! (Well, a second passion as I’LL always be his first passion, right?!).

Regardless of whether or not a goal is personal or professional, if there's no passion behind it, then the journey becomes all that more arduous. 

Kevin has decided to become his own "champion" and thereby has become our "family champ"!  Which I'm not sure where that leaves me....hmm....because another "Trappism" passed down generation after generation is "You're either house champ or house chump"...  (I'm learning there is no "gray" when it comes to competition in his family! ha!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

It Takes a Village to Support a TriAthlete

With only 4 weeks left until Ironman Wisconsin, the task of getting all of our ducks in a row is upon us.  Some of the items include:

1 - Buying brightly colored t-shirts for the event (and then actually MAKING them, to read "Suck it up Buttercup", naturally... :-))
2 - Creating a packing list for the weekend, to include snacks and activities for my little guys. (It appears that I may be gone the few days leading up to the trip, for business.  So I'll have to do this EXTRA early to ensure I can drive home from the airport, jump into the passenger seat and be prepared for our 7 hour drive to WI!)
3 - Course information - maps, anticipated timeline, activity suggestions for Team Trapp members, etc. so that we can support Kevin at various times throughout his 14+ hour event.
4 - And I'm sure there are TONS more that I've not even thought of, but will keep me awake as we approach the event. 

image from
Incidentally, there is a trishirt that reads "TriSherpa", which I have a feeling is going to be VERY accurate!

Luckily, Kevin is utilizing an online beginner triathlon community, which seems to be a GREAT RESOURCE! 

And as I took a quick look-see at the site, to get a feel for what all it offered, I was impressed!  The name is somewhat misleading though, as it appears that there are mostly veteran members who are a wealth of information!  So, I think really what the name means, is "Hey, YOU, Newbie, come chat and learn from our experienced member community!" - Which is fantastic, IMHO ;-)

It made me think of the old saying that "It takes a village to raise a baby", well, I think the same adage can hold true about many things, including a triathlete....

There may be a few people out there who were born with an innate sense of how to properly train, eat and recover from their workouts.  But honestly, I think those are rare.  I imagine that most athletes, especially when training for endurance events (e.g., 1/2 marathon, marathon, and/or any multi-sport events), do some reading up on the subject, to learn tips, techniques, etc. - to help them gain an overall sense of what they should expect. 

Kevin is very methodical, and is what I would consider a process driven kinda guy - he IS an engineer, after all.  A few years back when Kevin first caught the "running bug", we started receiving magazines in the mail, and then I would notice that books would start appearing around the house.  Not to mention the online web sites that he'd find with helpful tips and training schedules.  And then, of course, the "actual, real-life" people, like his brother, Gregg and others in his master swim class, who continue to help him on his journey.

I remember having a conversation with him, "back in the day", when I was trying to come up with my reasons for not joining in on his runs.  I would say things like, "I don't have the right outfits to run" (because let's face it girls, we all want to look cute whenever possible), or "I'm too out of shape, people will laugh at me".  He told me that people who run are supportive of others, and that everyone "started out" once and can appreciate what you are going through.  Although I scoffed at this notion, at first, I have found that at least in the running world, that is ABSOLUTELY true!  (We're still new to the tri world, but so far people seem really great there too!) 

Whether it's nutrition, recipes, appropriate clothing and gear, or activities for young kids during his events, he has always turned to others - his "village" for help, guidance and support.  So I think it's only proper that some of the village join him, you know... like the village princess (me), and the other "village people" (not to be confused with the musical group)!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's all a matter of perspective!

I'm always amazed at how quickly my boys are growing up.  The fact that they are (almost) 4yo and 2-1/2yo means that every day they are going to say something that makes me laugh and probably cry (and most likely it's out of both love AND frustration!). 

Both little ones have grown up with Kevin's training and racing, so it's completely normal for Daddy to come home and pitch in with the night-time routine:  dinner, bath, brush teeth, read 2 books and then bed and THEN head out for his evening run or swim (or both). 

In fact my 2-1/2yo usually assumes that when Daddy is not in the same room that "Daddy running?"; which lately has resulted in my 4 yo's reply of "No... swim first, then bike, THEN run, right mommy?".

I love their enthusiasm and natural support.  Even though there are times when they see their Daddy come downstairs ready to head out, and tears start to flow (which I have to imagine make him feel a little guilty),  they are quick to accept that it's just part of his day.

Just this morning...I had the morning news on and the anchors were outside in front of the crowd.  My 4yo was so excited and said "Hey, Mom, it's like Daddy's race!".  At first I wasn't sure what he was talking about and then I realized that he was referring to the cheering throng of people behind the fence holding signs and banners, and I had to laugh.  And the fact that all morning they have been telling each other to "suck it up, buttercup!", has kept me in a great mood!

And despite the fact that I can become frustrated (only occassionally, of course) that I don't get to spend a lot of time with my hubby, or that house hold projects get put off... indefinetly, I have to say that I am SO happy that my boys are growing up in an active and healthy household!

In fact, my 4yo has expressed an interest in racing with his Daddy and we're going to participate as a FAMILY in an upcoming local race, St. Stephens Fun Run!  Perhaps in a few years Team Trapp will have a new member to support!

Oh, for those of you who are interested in what we decided for the Team Trapp t-shirts:  As of right now we think the kids are going to have "Suck it up buttercup" on theirs (since they have really embraced it!).  And the jury is still out for the adults...except for maybe my mother-in-law who may be wearing a shirt with ".....You'll live!" since that was her tag line when Kevin and his siblings were growing up! :-)

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What to wear, what to wear....

Ironman Wisconsin is 6 weeks away - Yikes!!!  Where has the time gone?!  It feels like just yesterday that I became an "Ironman widow".  Is it possible that it's actually been more like 7 months?

As Kevin is training harder than ever, some of the responsibility of Team Trapp is now on my shoulders and 2 items that have topped the list are:

1 - A proper send-off party - If anyone has any great activities to incorporate into the day, please send them my way.  So far I've thought about a "sign making" area, where people who are unable to attend the race can make up signs that we can take with us to lift his spirits along the course.  And I thought I would buy a matte that everyone can sign and then we can include a pic from the event, for posterity (similar to our wedding pic :-)).  AND of course, I recently purchased an Ironman cookie-cutter at the Racine Half Ironman, so depending on how many kids will be there, I was thinking of having MDOT shaped treats for the kids to decorate! 

2 - What should our t-shirts say for the race day!!  They need to be bright, so he can pick us out of the crowd and they also need to lift his spirits and get him re-energized for the miles ahead!

And he and I have searched online, we've come across some great options... some hysterical, yet would NOT be appropriate for my 2 little guys and I to wear ;-) and others would "do" but are not screaming "Amy" - which is one of the prerequisites I look for when buying shoes or any fun accessories! 

For those of you who are interested in checking some out for curiosities sake, OR are also in the market for some race day shirts, here are a few places that might be helpful!

Cafepress - triathlon supporter - funny forum comments - just one of their examples

After we searched online, we started throwing out mottos and saying that we could relate to with the thought that I could make the shirts. Not only would that save some money, but we could make some for ALL of our family who are coming out to support him!  Go "Team Trapp"!!!

I'm hoping everyone "out there" can give us your thoughts and vote for what you feel would be the best. 

Now, keep in mind that although I do consider myself fun and certainly can appreciate off-color humor (T-shirt Hell is a place my husband has spent considerable time and shares often), that I tend to refrain from wearing such "sayings" on my clothing. 

Here are what we've come up with, let us know what you think!

1.  "Suck it up Buttercup" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

2. "Pass the weak
      Hurdle the dead" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

3.  For kids
     "Future Triathlete" with pic of trike (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

4.  For Kids
    "Eat my daddy's dust" with pic of running shoes (front)
    "Team Trapp" (back)

5.  "It's just a hill, get over it" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

Even though the time I get to spend with my hubby for the next 4 weeks will be small moments between laps on his bike or the thirty minutes in between his evening swim class and his falling into bed, exhausted, at 9pm;  The boys and I are so excited about his upcoming race and can't wait to support him as he prepares to become an Ironman Finisher!