Thursday, May 18, 2017

All Aboard the Choo-Choo Train

Before I ever decided to head back to Texas for IMTX Round 2, or before Mark and I decided to head to Chattanooga with Lauren and Matt for IMCHOO 2017 this coming September, the 70.3 Half Ironman in Chattanooga was calling my name. I was pretty indecisive back in November having just finished a marathon after a jam packed summer of back to back Ironmans in Texas and Lake Placid, out of town weddings in the amazing Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and any Cubs game I could squeeze in during a truly epic season. I pretty much wanted someone to make my decision for me. I wasn't sure what I wanted my 2017 racing season to look like and at one point I even considered focusing on just the Half Ironman distance this summer (we all know how that decision played out). But I couldn't stop going back to the Half Ironman in Chattanooga, Tennessee the third weekend in May.

Because all Ironman's should be sponsored by bakeries

You guessed it. My bags are packed and tomorrow morning Rob and I are hitting the road for Chattanooga. In the last 4 weeks, my legs have went from completely trashed after Ironman Texas... To finally getting my run legs back just 8 short days ago. On Sunday I went out for a 50 mile ride and you would have thought Texas didn't just happen 3 weeks ago, that's how fresh my body felt. And only 10 days after Texas I met up with Speedy for a swim and he decided to give me a pop quiz at the end of our session: 100 yards all out. Would you believe me if I told you I set a new 100 yard PR that day? It's a short turn around, I know. But after years of practice and knowledge gained, my body has started to recover like I never expected it to. And I believe that right now, now is the best time for me to race.

And I'd be lying if I said that I was most excited to race this weekend. Don't get me wrong, because I am excited to race. But this weekend I get to spend 4 entire days with Rob. Our schedules are literally opposite at the moment with him working 12 hours night shifts 5-7 nights a week. Last week I saw him for a whopping 2 hours at dinner on Saturday night before he had to run into work for the night. As I'm waking up for my day, I know he's a few hours away from heading to bed so we manage a brief conversation. And when he wakes up sometime in the afternoon, we manage a mini conversation over his afternoon coffee. And as I head to bed, I wait for him to have a spare second to call and wish me goodnight. It's not ideal, but we make it work. So the fact that I'm about to spend 4 days with him makes me as excited as a freshman girl heading to Prom with an older boy. And yes, this is technically a "Race-cation" so not truly a vacation. But if you ask Rob, he gets pretty into this stuff too.

Baseball hat. Backpack. Camera. My Spectathlete 💓💓

Anxiously awaiting my arrival 😍

Did I mention he sometimes wears his work clothes so I can spot him?
Ironman Maryland - by far both our favorite race experiences
And while we're down in Chattanooga, we get to reunite with my college roommate and her husband who currently live in Knoxville. The 2 of them actually went to high school together and I befriended them both during my days in Champaign, IL. Beth refused to think running was fun for the longest time. Since she was an equestrian to the core, she never laced up her shoes for the longest time, but she'd never miss me or any of our friends at a race.

Quad Cities Marathon 2010
Beth and Rob may have jumped over trains to find us that day!

She's followed me all over the country. She joined me in Disney World when I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2011. She made the trek from Knoxville, TN to Madison, WI for my first Ironman in 2014. And once she started to believe that running really was a little fun, we started racing TOGETHER.

Crossing the finish line in Nashville on Broadway!
Nashville Half Marathon 2013
The next day, I was able to pace Beth to her first sub 2 hour half marathon!
Knoxville Half Marathon 2014
And her husband Jordan used to race with us too! Back in the day our college crew would head over to the Quad Cities Marathon every year and crash at Jordan's lovely college home. One year, he even decided to lace up his shoes and run with us!

That tall guy in the middle wearing PJ pants, that's the famous JConerty 
And in the same breath, he used to make the drive to Champaign and join us for the Illinois Marathon weekend year after year. The inaugural year of the Illinois Marathon, the boys and I decided to run as a relay team.

Why yes, we were, "The 3 Cocksmen and a Pretty Cool Chick"
Brian doesn't count, he ran the full marathon 
So it's safe to say, I'm heading down memory lane this weekend and ready for some fun and some laughs. I'm ready to see some pretty gorgeous countryside. And it's gonna be a hot one. But I'd rather it that way. The hotter the better 😉 Because after being chilled on the run course in Texas, I'll take the 90+ degree day if it means I can go fast!

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