Team Tigerrabbit

Posted: December 21, 2010 in In Transition
Tags: ,

Over the past two years since embarking on this whole triathlon crazy train, I have met and aligned myself with some very positive influences.  Often, triathlon is considered to be an individual sport where you can’t rely on anybody but yourself.   Where this is what attracted me in the first place, I now, however, respectfully disagree.  Without these positive influences, none of my triathlon conquests would have been possible; or at least as successful anyway.  All these influences combined, create the core of what I now affectionately know and refer to as Team Tigerrabbit, and they are all due a huge amount of gratitude.

Some of these influences are simply my peers in the Tryforce group that I have suffered with and alongside over long group rides, runs, and open water swims for the past two years.  Some have offered me advise or the benefit of their own experience somewhere along the line, where others simply helped me maintain my equipment, organize my schedule, or kept me properly fueled; both pre and post workout.  Basically, these are the people, places and things that keep me going by contributing their time, motivation and encouragement.  In other words, whenever I feel like bonking, these are the things I remember and think about to give me that drive I need to continue.

So without further adieu, here is my current Team Tigerrabbit (in no specific order):

My coach. Saskia is a former Ironman competitor and currently working towards her second level NCCP Coaching Certification with the Ontario Association of Triathletes.  I am, therefore, her training guinea pig so to speak, and what a fortunate pig I am too considering the huge improvements I have made in only a short time.  I have gone from simply surviving triathlon to actually doing it well (for a guy my size) and that makes me very happy indeed.  She does all the hard work:  planning my weekly training schedules (even when I need to travel for work), and then assesses the info I provide afterwards (heart rates, times, distances, and all that other endless statistical crap) based on what I have set as goals.  All I have to do then is simply follow the road map she provides.  I’m a pretty good doer in that regard, but that whole planning thing – not so much.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that.  Also, to fail at this now is also to fail her and, Lord knows, I hate to fail anyone.  Myself included.

My biggest fan. Jan is one of my co-workers and the one person, above all others (well, except maybe my coach and my mom), who I want to make proud.  She has even taken a keen interest in my training and racing.  Jan will know how long I have to run and on what dates, what split times I’m aiming to make, and then ask me about how it felt on the Monday.  She has traveled out of her way to simply cheer for me, and anybody who’s been to a triathlon knows it’s not exactly a spectator sport.  She once drove over two hours in foul weather to watch me slosh through the muck and rain at the Guelph Lake I triathlon.  How do you say just ‘forget it’ when you have someone like that on your side?  Jan helps keeps me accountable to simply getting out there and getting it done.  She is also the person who kindly donated me my first (and still my favorite) bike Daisy, and therefore kick-started me on this whole unique lifestyle obsession.  Thanks Jan.

Rapid City Cycle. My local bicycle shop.  In particular, it’s a young guy named Kevin that keeps both Daisy (road bike) and Lucille (time trial bike) running efficiently throughout the long training year and race season.  I have the mechanical know how of a retarded woodchuck, so having someone who is as intimately familiar with my bikes as I am definitely takes a huge burden off my shoulders in keeping my gear in perfect running order.

YMCA / Tryforce. I joined this triathlon training-specific group in the fall of 2008 and never looked back.  In short, the Tryforce group gave me a new outlook on life.  Besides providing me with organized workouts, they have become much more than just training partners.  They have become sounding boards, sources of personal motivation, and most importantly, my friends.  And if you can’t share your successes and failures with your friends, what’s the point?  These are the people who keep this fun.

My regular haunt. I don’t place an order at Sweets Cafe, I simply answer one basic question upon arriving:  “are you pre or post workout?” What turns up on my plate later is solely based on my answer to this inquiry.  Mark, the owner and chef, makes it his personal mission to feed me a low-fat, high protein (or carb) meal depending on what it is that needs to be accomplished (or has been accomplished) on that given day.  While there, I can simply sit, enjoy my coffee and nosh, and just enjoy the peace and tranquility after a grueling day (or preparing for one).

My heady vegan guide. The recognition of this particular team member is, unfortunately, posthumous (I hope that’s a word).  Just as I was recently delving into the world of vegetarianism as a means of dropping weight, Julia offered me her wise vegetarian diet tips, an endless array of healthy easy-to-prepare vegan recipes, as well as providing answers to all my endless newbie questions.  How do you store avocado?  How do I not make tofu so it doesn’t taste so yucky?  Why does white asparagus look like little pee-pee’s?  What the hell is quinoa exactly?  She would recycle her Vegetarian Monthly magazines to me every so often as added encouragement.  Now that I am without her, I am even more committed to this diet plan and have managed to loose another 17 lbs largely through her influence and assistance.  In few days, I expect to be the lightest I have ever been for the past 15 years weighing in at just under 200 lbs.  Suddenly hitting that 185 lb racing weight doesn’t seem so daunting.

My cute yoga guru. Kathryn leads the adult yoga sessions at the YMCA on Tuesday evenings, and is a large part of why I feel as good as I do at the moment.  When I say ‘cute’, I am referring to the way she leads us through our routine, encouraging us to push the envelope but not afraid to say ‘uncle’ if and when necessary.  Kathryn is very knowledgeable, approachable and inspires me to spend the extra time assisting my body in its recovery where I didn’t have the patience before.  I have had trouble making connections with the benefits of yoga (not to mention feeling a bit uncomfortable amongst the other fit, bendy-twisty types) in the past, but Kathryn makes it fun and non-threatening even though I still can’t do a headstand to save my life.

My mom. I just wouldn’t be the dutiful son if I didn’t include my mother, now would I?  I like to think that she just enjoys seeing her chubby eldest baby sweat his ass off, but I also know she’s proud of me, and that has equated to some pretty decent negative splits on occasion.

My precious. I wouldn’t be staying true to myself if I didn’t give props to my precious weed.  As I have mentioned before, it gives a certain sense of happy complacency in dealing with those difficult workouts and puts a smile on my face before heading out on a long run, ride or swim.  However, this heady herbal training aid will be conspicuously absent during my 2011 training year which will, no doubt, take some getting used to.

There will be other additions and inductees to this group team leading up to the big event as this whole Ironman adventure snowballs out of control.  In the meantime, know that I am very appreciative of the support I receive and I only hope I can do them all proud come time.  I may feel at times like I’m all on my own in this conquest, particularly when I’m sore and aching and still have an hour or more left to go in the workout.  But then I remember that I am, in fact, not alone at all.  I have an entire group of individuals behind me and that’s enough to keep me going when things get rough.

  1. […] first, being on the receiving end of (now) two amazing massages from Jen, the newest addition to my Team Tigerrabbit (official announcement to come), I have now become a total massage advocate.  Totally converted; […]

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