This past weekend was very busy race-wise. Well, not for me personally as I wasn't racing. But I did have about 10-15 friends who were in St. Louis, Knoxville and Chattanooga on Sunday racing varying triathlons, with most of them doing Ironman Chattanooga 70.3. While I missed being at these races in person, I had a lot of fun following everyone online and hearing about their experiences post-race.
Two of my friends, Derrick and Karen, deserve special shout-outs because not only did they race over the weekend, but they both fell pretty hard. Did they quit? Nope. Both got up and finished their races and they both set personal records! How badass is that?! I'm sure you're thinking that they couldn't have been injured that badly, right? Turns out - Derrick has one of the worst sprained ankles I've ever seen (it's really gross) and Karen has a broken clavicle. Yet, they both finished and PRed. I gotta tell you - triathletes are a special breed.
And speaking of special, I want to tell you about another friend, Victoria, who finished the REV3 Knoxville 70.3. I know Victoria through my cycling club - the Tennessee Women's Cycling Project. You know those people who are so nice and genuine that they make you feel like you need to be a better person? Victoria is one of those people. She is one of the happiest, most positive people I know. And man, does she LOVE to ride her bike. I think about her sometimes when I don't feel like riding. Her positive attitude reminds me that I'm pretty damn lucky and it's a privilege to be able to ride as much as I do.
But what makes Victoria even more special is that she is also a Type-1 diabetic. I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about diabetes, but I do know that her pancreas doesn't produce insulin properly/ at all and she has to check her blood sugar regularly. Exercise doesn't exactly mesh well with being a Type-1 diabetic either, so doing something like a 70.3 is much harder on her than on non-diabetics. Doesn't stop her from doing them though. In fact, one of the main reasons she keeps signing up for long-distance endurance events is to keep proving that diabetes doesn't have to keep people from doing the things they love.
Victoria finished Sunday's 70.3 as the last place finisher. She finished 23 seconds before the 8.5 hour deadline and she is thrilled about it. She wrote a recap about her race here, and I really encourage you to go read it. I defy you to read it and watch her cross the finish line without tears in your eyes.
I don't know what inspires other people to get up an do crazy things like triathlons and the like, but my friends are a huge source of inspiration and I am so thankful that I get to follow their journeys. It doesn't matter if I see someone training for a 5k or an Ironman. I see people out there crushing it, and it makes me want to go crush it too. Thanks, friends!
FYI - my next race is Ironman Raleigh 70.3 in two weeks. Between a calf tear and my grandmother's death, my training has been less-than-optimal. However - I've had three weeks of solid training (YAY for all green in Training Peaks!), so I'm hoping I won't completely fall apart on the course. We'll see.