With all my years of racing, I have crossed a lot of finish lines, mostly all triathlons, a good number of running finish lines, and lately some cycling finishes. Too many finish lines to count and they have been all over the world. It is a great feeling working so hard towards a goal, sacrificing, working hard, putting yourself through painful workouts, getting up early and to finally cross the finish line in that big race is a true victory. I was at Geneva Running Outfitters the other day, a cool new local running store and a new employee there asked me what my favorite race was. I had to think because I've had lots of favorites. Of course Worlds in New Zealand was the top of my list because I loved the course, the day was perfect, and it was one of those races where it all came together. Crossing the finish line at my first ever Ironman (Florida) was of course another favorite. It seemed surreal at the time. Back then I had no coach, didn't have a clue about Ironman racing and just trained with my friends and had a great day. I felt like I was in a different world crossing the finish line.
This past weekend I had 2 athletes cross the finish line in their very first Ironman. For both it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it there. I have to say I was so excited for both of them to see their dream come true.
Diana is a breast cancer survivor, and has worked her way back from chemo and radiation 2 years ago to an Ironman finisher this year in 13:35! She put so much hard work into her training, planning and preparation. She followed the workouts, followed the plan and executed the perfect race. She had an awesome day. Courtney is a new triathlete and has the personality that will take on anything. She is so positive and that energy is fun to work with. She worked so hard on learning how to swim and bike like and Ironman while balancing work, at Lululemmon, and a teaching career. She too is an Ironman.
For many athletes this is the end of the season. I had so many athletes have great finishes this year. John qualified for Boston, Carmen finished the Big Sur 20 miler, Tonya raced in Budapest at Worlds. Andy completed a 12 hour cycling road ride (yes nonstop), Paula finished her first 1/2 IM. All fabulous performances with lots of hard work along the way to get them there. The greatest part about these performances is the work and sacrifices they made to reach their goal, regular people with big time jobs and families.
For some athletes the big finish line is still out there. It is getting closer. You can see it in the distance now. Hard work, sacrifice and discipline will get you there and it will be worth it.