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. 

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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)!

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