Archive for June, 2011

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Ten Tips for Ironman Nutrition

June 29, 2011

Ironman Lake Placid is right around the corner and now is the time when athletes are putting the finishing touches on training, bike tune-ups and nutrition plans. One of my athletes, Alexa just finished a gutsy race over in Cour D’Alene, yet nutrition prevented her from reaching what we considered to be her optimal performance. It wasn’t that she didn’t have the plan….. she didn’t execute the nutrition plan (and she does not mind being used as an example, her story is helping many others….. and she’s got another chance at Ironman Wisconsin!)

The thing about nutrition is this; you ca fake it in short distance races. You can’t fake it in Ironman. You miss your nutrition and I don’t care if you are Chrissie Wellington….. you won’t perform to your potential.

Much of what I have learned in the nutrition department I have learned over he past 10 years through trial and error. My work through the past 2 years with QT2 has hit the nail on the head. They’ve written over 500 Ironman nutrition plans, these guys know their stuff.

Here is a great video of Jesse outlining Ironman nutrition, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it. Click right here for that.

In addition here are ten tips for Ironman Nutrition that may help you in your next 140.6!

1. Practice makes perfect: I learned with QT2 that nutrition is practiced all the time. In January, on 30 minute recovery runs, all of the time. We never ever skimp on nutrition. This season I have not had any GI issues in races because I practiced EVERY.SINGLE.WORKOUT.

2. Do the sweat test: Click here for a good sweat rate calculator , but perform a sweat test and do it often. I weigh before and after every single workout, there is never harm in doing so. I have an athlete who didn’t truly understand the importance of nutrition / hydration until he lost eight pounds ona  long ride. I asked him how he thought he would run a marathon on that….. he made the changes and he’s now the athlete he’s been training to be. SIMPLE!

3. Understand the difference between I can’t and I won’t. I have had athletes tell me that they can’t take in XX ounces per hour of their drink. 99.9% of the time it translates into they won’t. Ironman is a day long picnic, you spend the entire day feeding yourself. It might mean you drink every 5 minutes, 10 minutes, doesn’t matter. It goes back to #1. Practice this in training and it won’t be an issue on race day.

4. Use the same products daily. Back when i began Ironman there was Gatorade and salt tablets. Now there are a plethora of products that take care of hydration, fueling and sodium needs. Once you find your product, stick with it. It again, goes back to number one. Never change anything, especially products this close to a race.

5. Choose a product with several sugar sources: If you watch the above mentioned video, Jesse walks through why this is important. The cliff notes version is this: you want your body to be able to draw from long acting, medium acting and short acting sources. Products like PowerBar Perform meet this needs, as do several others. Relying on a product made of only one sugar source: maltodextrin… is great for shorter events but in an Ironman it will act as a plug to your GI system.

6. It begins before race day. The two days before an Ironman are just as important as the day itself. On QT2 we joke that this is where everything good for you becomes bad for you. Jesse has taught us that during these two days we want to eliminate anything that might irritate the gut on race day. This means we cut out vegetables, we cut down on fiber, We load up on clean carbohydrates such as pretzels, plain pasta. We eat smaller meals at more frequent intervals to give the body a chance to digest properly and top off our glycogen stores. What most people don’t realize on race day is that GI upset often comes from what you ate in these previous 2 days, not race day.

7. Don’t base your plan on someone else’s. When I worked with Coach T he had a funny saying about IM athletes. To paraphrase him “You have trained almost a year for this event. Then as you are walking into Mirror Lake you change your entire race plan because the guy next to you has qualified for Kona and what works for him must be right.” How many times have I seen this? Alexa does this…. what about me? It’s natural, we get nervous. The past several months you have worked on what works for you. You have practiced it. You know it. You have it written down. Don’t change it because of what someone else does. Know your body.

8. Follow the plan: I have my athletes complete a spreadsheet of their Ironman nutrition. Alexa did it and she did a beautiful job of it. If she had executed it her day on Sunday would have been different. But the thing of it is this: if she does a 12:42 on that nutrition plan……  then if she properly fuels…… what can she do? That’s exciting! That’s a good problem to have! Her fitness is GREAT, all we have to do is EAT????? AMAZING! So…. follow the plan, do what you need to do to follow that plan (and adjust accordingly). 4 bottles of fluid, even with extra gels and blocks is simply not enough for a 6 and 1/2 hour ride. If you need to set your watch to beep every 5 min, then that’s what we need to do. If you didn’t look at her nutrition….. then you’d think something was lacking in her fitness and send her out with more run volume, and get her injured. All she needs to do is follow the plan she created. See how exciting that is???????

9. Learn to troubleshoot. Have problems bloating? What did you eat in the two previous days? Drop your bottles? How can you adjust? Ironman is one big day of figuring out problems. What can you do in the next 5 seconds, by the next light pole…. don’t even allow yourself to think 20 miles ahead. Stomach problems? SLOW DOWN. Sip instead of gulp. Maybe take water for 10 minutes and let things calm down.

10. Have confidence in the work you have done. I make this promise to my athletes the moment we begin working together: I will not put you on the starting line of a race I don’t believe you acre capable of finishing. EVER. They are 110% prepared to show up and execute. So you do the same.

All that’s left are the finishing touches on your day. The bikes are tuned up, the gear is set to go…. just don’t forget to eat!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Quakerman Triathlon Race Report

June 26, 2011

 

(There is a little issue with my side bar unless you click on the individual post. Working on it!)

I haven’t spent a Saturday night in my own bed in weeks. And it will be weeks before I do. And I love it! This weekend it was the Quakerman Triathlon out in Orchard Park NY and I got to race again!!!!

Johnston and I brought back old school this weekend. I didn’t intend the Quakerman triathon to be a visit from the old days but when it turned out that way….. I was happier than happy. See…. I have known Johnston since I was about 22, when I was a baby in triathlon. Dutton…. he and his wife were one of the first to take me under their wing. Elvers…. I swam with his daughter in college and he was the one to remove the reflectors from my bike. Hoad…. well unless you know the Hoad then you don’t know the Hoad.

Old school.... new beer mugs!

Not a lot of people know Johnston or his record. The guy doesn’t even shave his legs. Powermeter? HA. Heart rate monitor? Not. I think he still rides that Stowe still (one of the best bikes ever made). He’s not about flash or Ironman times (although he’s gone sub ten in Ironman….). He just kind of shows up here and there and lays down the  law. He’s always the sleeper.

It’s this group of us old schoolers who always refer to triathlon in “the old days”. When the Hamlin Beach triathlon was still around. When powermeters and heart rate monitors weren’t around yet. When we all raced in speedos and bikes weren’t 5K. When Ironman races were $250. We love this sport from the inside out. It’s not that we don’t love what it’s become or how the Ironman craze has boomed and now everyone is doing it…. we love that. But back in the day when there was no Ironman dot com and blogs and internet results (I was only 22 I am not that old) there was a different theme. Show up and race. Again, not that the new school is bad or negative….. I just appreciate the history of my  sport because I got to be a part of it. I know where all this M dot stuff came from, where companies like Dunning were born, and more.

Old school is  what we did at the Quakerman.

On Saturday afternoon I stopped by Trispot to see Dana and The Pattersons….. who own the store. I love K-Pat the day before a race. I want whatever coffee he drinks because he’s got one level and I call it turbo. He was excited for Quakerman, he told me of his recent workout out there and his stats….. nice! He asked me how I was feeling.

How am I feeling? Bone infection day one.

I laughed. Dude, I am lucky to be on a starting line at all this weekend. Where should I begin? The course of antibiotics I have been on that have caused me to shit liquid for the past 4 days? Or the liquid diet I have been on for those for days due to the bone infection in my jaw that renders me unable to chew? The fact that I have done…. no training this week……  or that I smooth talked my way out of a weekend in the hospital with IV antibiotics?

I told him I felt fine. I did, I felt much better. The past week had truly been hell and if you have ever experienced that kind of pain then you know what I mean. I would rather endure 17 hours of labor again and push out the 10 pound baby that I did…..  instead of experience that pain again.

I was lucky if I would even start the race.

The race isn’t a big deal, it’s a sprint, it’s in the hometown I grew up in…. Luc and I were traveling to stay with my parents. It was going to be a family weekend anyways. The deal I made with myself is that if I needed any pain medication on Saturday or on Sunday morning, the race was out. Racing is for fun, and I was not going to go out there and be an idiot for a race. Not even a race like Kona is that vital.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling good. A little weak from my lack of food, but good. I always feel happy and excited to race. Racing is fun for me no matter what. My plan was to get out there are have a good time and race as best as my current state of health would allow me.

Bone infection day five after a LOT of antibiotics!

I quickly realized that I forgot the bike shorts to my Qt2 uniform. No mind, I have about 30 speedos in the secret compartment in my car. Low and behold…. I had a black Qt2 speedo with my name on the butt. Perfect. I used to race in Speedos all the time, it is what I am most comfortable in. Old school…. SWEET!

My parents would be bringing Luc down later so I made the exhausting drive of 3 miles all alone. Sigh. I know. Someone has to be a martyr.

When I found Dutton, Elvers and Johnston…. I knew this would be an old school event. I loved that feeling. The old guard. Disclaimer: I am only lumped into the old guard because I began this sport when I was very young. I am not even 40 yet.

As we waited for the race to begin I packed up nutrition. nutrition? What? for a sprint? Listen…. my liquid diet of the past 4 days was wonderful and all, but I knew I was on the low side. If I was to have any shot at a decent race I needed to fuel as we went along. So a few gels, a sport drink and we were set. No pain, game on.

The ladies were in wave three, and as I stood at the shore of the Lake I grew up lifeguarding at I felt nostalgic. I spent so many summers there, so many memories. And here I was racing here. Sweet.

A younger girl walked to the front with me wearing a speedo and I immediately pegged her as a swimmer. I devised the plan that if she led the swim I’d sit on her feet and do the work. This is what experience gains you.

And that’s how the swim happened. She had a terrific pace and I stayed right behind her. She sped up a bit at the end but I knew where I could make my moves going forward. It felt great to  swim hard and swim short. Ah short course…. what have I been doing all this time? This is what I loved, this is where it began for me. time to RACE again!

Out of the water, through T1 and out onto the bike I felt really good. I had the Garmin tracking everything but I went completely on feel. Feel the effort, I knew the roads……. and since the ladies began third I was able to pick guys off on the bike. I rode hard and I rode well, I rode in control. For once I didn’t have to watch HR or power I could just ride and ride and ride. On a scale of 100% I felt at about 80%, which was fine for today. I was out here to get rid of some cobwebs and to shake off the Ironman crap I have been doing for much too long. Time to learn how to race again.

Ah short course. It was beginning to come back to me.

I hopped off the bike and got out onto the run. Ah, this run felt great. I knew it wouldn’t be a blistering pace but I felt the effort. I was smiling and feeling good. It wasn’t about the pace today it was about holding strong, seeing how high I could jack my HR. for some reason that excited me. How high can it go, it provides me motivation.

Two duathlon girls passed me throughout the run and I kept them in my sights. At 80% I still felt good. I focused on form and the words snap-snap-pop to remind me to turn my legs over and stay on top.

As I ran down the path towards the finish line I felt grateful. That I started at all today. That I was able to race under these circumstances. That I am able to race at all after some of the things that I have been through.

I crossed the finish line in first and got a big hug from Luc, who had just arrived with my parents. I was delighted to hear that Johnston won as well. Old school. we brought back old school. Johnston and I have won a boatload of races together in our careers. I think it makes us related in some fashion.

The kids race was up next and Luc was ready to go. It was well run and he did amazing. I was so proud. He’s excited for these events and at this age if he wants to race then I let him. I am sure there will be a time in the not too distant future when he will say…. go away I am sleeping in……  or maybe not.

Post race with Granny & Granddad Workman!

The last time he did this race he finished dead last and was on an adaptive bike. Now he’s solo. And he rocked it.

Thanks to Dan and Anne from Eclipse Multisport for a well organized amazing event. To Steve Hoadley the new volunteer coordinator who did an incredible job staffing the course to make it safe. To the Police crews for also keeping it safe, the EMS and ambulance folks who were there if we needed them and to all who were involved.

I love to see our sport growing.

Thanks also to my coach Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 systems, to my athletes and coaches at Train-This Multisport Coaching, to Breathe yoga, Athlete’s Honey Milk, Powerbar, and Fuel Belt. Thanks to the gang at the Geneva Bike Shop, to Score-This, and Nuun as well!

Most of all thanks to my Mom and Dad who joined in our fun this weekend, to Luc for embracing the lifestyle we live……

Thanks most of all to Curt Eggers…. who was on a boys trip in Vermont this weekend scoping out the Nationals course…. and did a little race out there (won his age group)….. for being part of the old guard, for being the most amazing father and husband there is in the whole entire world….. for taking such good care of me this week with this bone infection….. and for sitting me down last week and knocking some sense into me about this Ironman crap. Today I got back to what I needed to get back to…… learning to find the edge again!

Thanks to all of you who stop by each day…… it means more to me than you know!

That oughta hold a good amount of UBU!

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Training when sick

June 24, 2011

Throughout my athletic career I have been through some pretty significant health issues. Training helps. Doctors and those who don’t live this lifestyle are driven nuts by this. Can’t you take a break??? It’s not that I can’t take a break or won’t take a break. Fitness, training, exercise is in my core. If you stop moving you start dying.

I don’t go for epic 6 hour Ironman rides or  track intervals when I am under the weather. I cut everything short and keep it easy. That’s what this week has been about. It’s been a long week in my health world.

Monday morning I woke up with jaw pain. Tuesday it worsened and swelling of one side of my face developed, so I called my dentist. One of the long term effects of my eating disorder are dental issues. I have gorgeous front teeth thanks to many years of good dental hygiene and reconstruction. It’s the back teeth that while they are in good condition need a replacement reconstruction. That was all to begin on Thursday. I finally have amazing dental insurance, and I finally am gearing up for it. The whole process will take a year.

Enter the jaw pain.

I was put on antibiotics before the visit. I never anticipated the pain however. Wednesday night was horrible. I screamed all night long in pain. I was at the limit of mg of Tylenol, Motrin and Alleve (sucks when you are a nurse nd you know the limit of mg/kg/day!)

Thursday morning I was diagnosed with a jawbone infection, and if you have ever had a bone infection, they are not as fun as they sound.

Really….. they are not.

However we are on the mend. Reconstruction was put off  a week while this heals. I have the most amazing dentist, Dr. Albee at Comfort Care here in Rochester. Amazing.

So what happens to training? This si the fine line we must walk. I keep in contact with Jesse and let him know how I feel. With an infection this severe you have to avoid some volume, your body needs the energy to fight the infection and getting into overtraining now may make things worse.

What to do? It’s actually really simple.

I listen to my body. If it says rest I rest. Yesterday I rested. This morning when I woke up I felt good, so I will head to the pool and feel my way through the workout. I will feel through my ride and run today, I am scheduled to ride long but again….. we weigh the balance between getting training in, and healing a bone infection. I imagine 60 minutes will be about it.

I think by nature we are perceived as triple type A athletes who are all or nothing. In many cases that is true. Will my fitness be impacted for my next 1/2 Ironman because of this? In the long run it will be better. If I continued to train at a high volume this infection would not heal and I would just keep the illness cycle going. Will I race on Sunday? I am planning on it. It’s my hometown. While I will give it my all, I will be careful. I am in touch with Jesse and he will adjust the plans going forward accordingly. No big deal. Life happens.

There is nothing in this world worth losing your health over. Again if I continue to be rigid with schedules and what the plan calls for, I risk delaying my healing process. I have trained through enough health issues to know that.

So don’t be afraid to adjust and be flexible. Learn your body, it will never ever lie to you.

And if you see me out and about don’t be alarmed….. I have 1/2 a chipmunk face. I don’t even qualify to be a whole chipmunk!

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Lake Placid Camp day three.

June 20, 2011
Day three of camp brought much of the same as the previous two. Saturday night there might have been consumption of carbohydrate rich beverages with fermentation…. something like that. There may have been Ben and Jerry’s and Brew Pub. Possibly. You know the rule…. what happens at camp…. stays at camp.
 
I will tell you this: we trained a lot. We ate a lot. We laughed three times as much. Together we experienced the beauty of a very special place. If you have not been to Placid…. you need to go. I have been coming here for ten years and each time I love it more.
 
The biggest question I am getting from the Ironfolk….. how are the roads? It depends. If you did this course in 2002-2009 the roads are in very good conditions. The potholes all remain in the same spot….. before the descent and on the last 11. Keane to Wilmington is beautiful.
 
If you have done this race past 2009 and you live with amazing road conditions like where I live in WNY, then you may think the roads are horrid.
 
It depends on where you come from. I think they are in very good condition…. but I have ridden then when they were really bad so I may not be a good source.
 
I am so proud of all of our campers. I sent them out on their own to find out what they needed to find out. Trust me… you learn a lot riding 11 miles into a trillion mile per hour headwind. The 30+ times I have ridden that section I have learned something. Every time.
I won’t go out there and hold their hand. I will put them in a position where they will rise to the occasion.
 
Because that’s what happens on Ironman day.
 
I will end with some pictures for today…… for more join me over on facebook…. there are some beauties.
 
I do want to say this: to all of those who joined us…. our athletes, friends and spouses…… it was an honor to spend this weekend with you. It’s beyond what I can properly articulate. To my athletes…… I can not express adequately how much it means to me to be able to take this journey with you. Whether it’s to Ironman or a 5K or whatever our goal is, forever how long we work together, it’s something I can’t explain. An honor for sure. Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you.
 
 

The view from the beginning of the swim.

 

 

Greg & Ken, my wicked fast swim partnersLove this town

 

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Lake Placid Camp Day Two: Don’t Fruit the Beer

June 19, 2011

There are valuable lessons you learn at triathlon camp. How to pee on your bike. Workout fueling. Open water sighting techniques.

And never…. ever fruit the beer. Apparently this is man lesson #4. I am not clear as to what the first three are, now that I think about it, I am not sure I want to.

I have also learned you can’t drink beer from a bottle in the same fashion you drink water from a water bottle. This is an entirely different technique else your beer will foam the heck out and all over Matt’s sweet potato fries.

Who knew?

I also learned that American’s don’t know nor appreciate a good beer. Rickard’s Red anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

You should also probably not refer to Troy Jacobson as Troy Boy to the Spinerval Team while riding uphill and into the wind. Well maybe you should if you want to make them giggle. And he’s in the paceline. That’s actually called Klass. Yes with a “K”.

When swimming a 50 yard recovery swim with Greg and Ken my 56 (on the dot damnit) Ironman swimmers….. it’s not the best idea to make an attack when Greg breathes to the left and sees you. Does it matter that I might have sort of cut Ken off and flailed my arms wildly as Greg breathed to the left thinking…. what is she doing? I was taking him down by the time we hit  the first buoy… that’s what I was doing.  I may have grabbed onto the buoy and begged for some albuterol and please Greg stop the damn pain (um… what pain Mary this is a recovery swim?).

That’s actually called winning friends. Winning.

You learn that a giant 750 gram rice crispy treat can in facet be shared with 10+ people, and once a squirrel gets a hold of it then… well we are Ironman athletes who cares about rabies?

Popped corn is different than puffed corn.

I can get free beer from Josh.

Don can climb 8 miles at an 8% grade for over an hour.

If I stop to take a picture for once in my damn life on this course…. someone will ride by me and scream at me for facebooking on the ride.

Kristin once wore a cashmere sweater while skiing.

Ordering two large pizzas with a Diet Coke is apparently a strange thing to do.

I laughed so hard today my abs hurt. It was swim, long ride, run, swim. Laugh, laugh laugh laugh. I will have many more tales on Monday, but today you will have to follow along the adventures over on Facebook where we’ve got many more photos of the craziness.

 

 

 

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Lake Placid Camp… Day One

June 18, 2011

We are here and camp has begun!!!!

Our billionth annual Lake Placid Training Camp, has begun! This year we have thirty athletes on board and my main goal this weekend is to show them what this town has to offer. Yes, it’s amazing when you are here for the Ironman. It’s more amazing when it is not the Ironman.

The first thing that comes to mind each year that we have camp here….. is how lucky I am. I am lucky and blessed to be able to coach a wonderful group of athletes. I am lucky and blessed to have several coaches on my team who also coach wonderful athletes. Our vision for our team comes together each and every year. This is a group of all abilities, some Ironfolk, some short course. Some beginners, some veterans. Most important to me… is the community that we are. Some of our athletes are part of our alumni group, some are current athletes. We’ve got spouses and friends and even dogs. While I love coaching and I love my business, what is much more important to me is my multisport community.

This community has colored my life so richly. It’s where I met my husband, created my family, and so many other things. The athletes that come to us seem to come from all over the place and they all come for different reasons. What we want them to find here more than anything…. is a place to build friendship. There is a strong bond on this current team and it runs very deep. Some of my athletes have seen me endure a lot throughout the years and I am so grateful to them.

I am extremely grateful to my friend Kim, who is also our team manager. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to even have a team manager. The fact that she’s a close friend, hell she’s like my sister is awesome. Kim takes care of all of our team logistics; uniform order, design and distribution. Any team events we have going on. She took care of our motel reservations (we have the whole thing!) and sets up dinner. She creates the maps for our athletes…. essentially she takes care of all of the nitty-gritty details, so I can focus on our athletes. She makes my life easier. So thank you KIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

We began this afternoon with a beautiful recovery ride along the run route and part of the last 11 miles of the bike. Then we headed down to Mirror Lake, a place where you can swim and each time you take a breath you see mountains. The swim course is not only marked right now for Ironman, it’s set up for rowing. There is an underwater cable that eliminated above water sighting, and buoys are every 15 meters.

As we began swimming I realized I was able to stay on Greg’s feet and near Ken (56 min IM swimmers). My plan initially was to hold on as long as I could. Which was the whole swim. It was exhilarating to be up with those guys, one of the best open water swims of my life. All of our swimmers really enjoyed Mirror Lake. I could feel them relax as they realized how many athletes this town is crawling with.

That’s my other goal for camp…… come here, relax, have fun. Get comfortable. When we come back here next month for Ironman it will be packed with 3,000 nervous athletes ready to race. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the magic of this town. It’s there. It’s spiritual if you open to it.

We had a terrific dinner at Milano’s where we did indulge in some wine and beer. Now’s the time, have a drink, have a laugh and relax.

 Dinner was terrific. It’s beautiful to see people connecting. I laughed and I laughed hard. Might be something to do with the pink wine I was drinking. Possibly.

We’ve got a few more days to go, Saturday is the big day with some riding 3,4,6 hours depending on what they are training for. A transition run and a swim in Mirror lake again is what we’ve got on tap. But during all of that more memories, more bonds, more laughter is to be had.

This is going to be our camp award, we are just not sure for what yet, but it’s got 750 carbs…… that’s going to need to be one big workout window!

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Rochester Kids Triathlon

June 17, 2011

This season Train-This has grown enough to be able to sponsor some races with money! That’s a really great feeling. This sport has given me so much….. I believe that each of us should give back in some way. A few times a year I volunteer my time, and so do the athletes I work with. It’s the Train-This gang that works the transition at the Musselman annually, we were able to sponsor Du The Lakes Duathlon, we happen to help the gang our at Score-This and I am very proud to announce we will be supporting the first annual Rochester Kids Triathlon!

Photography by Terry Wherry of Buffalo Photo CD

Here are the details!

Who: kids, age 6 to 17; maximum of 200 participants

What: A kids-only triathlon!  There will be 2 distances:

– 50 yard swim, 2.3 mile bike, 0.5 mile run

– 100 yard swim, 5 mile bike, 1 mile run

Where: Genesee Valley Park.  The swim will be in the pool; bike course on the bike paths (primarily the river trails); run on the paths and sidewalks west of the pool/rink parking area.

When: Saturday, July 30 at 8:00 AM; packet pick-up starts at 7:00 AM

Why: to have fun, promote healthy living, and introduce kids to the sport.

To register, please click here.

As I have told you so many times before, my son has been competing since the age of five. This is where he feels normal, he’s a kiddo ont he spectrum and he’s got a fan club bigger than he understands.

As a triathlon family we are ever so cautious….. we don’t want to push Luc into something he’s not interested in. For a long time because he is a kids who is considered to have special needs…. he was restricted as to what he could do. In addition to triathlon he just earned his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, just passed the Minnow level in swimming. He takes a kid’s agility class that has connected him with an amazing coach at the Ymca.

What is important…. is that he’s healthy. We as parents want him to play as many sports as he can and realize that fitness is lifelong. Too many athletes stop at graduation, or when they are done with college. We hope to teach our son that life is about being fit and being well, no matter what your circumstance.

He’s got a slew of medals in his room and on the days where things don’t go so well…. he has those to remind him of what he has accomplished. Triathlon, and sports….. you know I am a broken record on this…. they are metaphors for life.

The body is truly the gateway to the mind….. if we can find new limits physically…. be that running a 5K for the first time, learning to play tennis, hiking one of the peaks, then we are able to reach deep inside of our minds.

For Luc…… it allows him to be part of a world that isn’t always fair. The special education system, while it’s good, it’s also good at separation. There are the general education kids and then there are the kids in the self-contained classes (unless you are lucky to go to a school like we do, but getting there means a fight).  In triathlon…… in all of the activities we do…… we are all just people together.

That’s what the real world is. People of all abilities and sizes and shapes. There is no special classroom for that.

So rock on kids, get your triathlon gear on, and come out and join us for the 1st annual Rochester Kids triathlon. We definitely need volunteers, so please come on down and help. Think of it this way: volunteer for Ironman and you are out there forever. Volunteer for a kids race….. and you get to cry your eyes out doing it!

photography by Terry Wherry of Buffalo Photo CD