The excitement from the last two weeks still has my head spinning. The number of Foundation athletes that achieved their dreams between Arizona 70.3 & Austin 70.3 brings tears to my eyes.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending the entire weekend with three of my athletes in Austin, TX as they prepared for and competed in Austin 70.3. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to see them through all the moments leading up to their big day. Watching their excitement, nerves, and joy throughout the weekend was an incredible experience. Thank you Sunny, Ronald, and Ashley for the opportunity to spend the weekend with you. I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments!
Sunny: Immediately after completing his first marathon, Sunny requested to train for his first triathlon. Not only did he want to do a triathlon, but his end goal in 7.5 months was to do a 70.3! As trepidatious as I was about guiding an athlete through a plan that may be slightly aggressive, I knew he could do it. If Sunny's passion for running was any indication of how his triathlon training would go I knew his efforts would be fruitful.
Initially Sunny did not enjoy biking, and swimming was not at the top of his list of things to do as well. Sunny LOVES to run and will drop anything to do so (as a side note, Sunny LOVES people and his Teammates too and would drop anything to help a teammate or make someone laugh). Eventually, with the help of Mike Morross blinging out his road bike, his spark for biking improved and he started to notice an improvement in his bike fitness, which fueled his efforts. He eventually began to love biking, and swimming turned out to not be bad too.
With every aspect of this training cycle being new for Sunny, it was fun to witness the excitement for this race through his eyes. He was consistently awed and grateful for where his training was taking him.
Throughout his training for Austin, Sunny experienced 3 life-changing moments that could have easily derailed his training (marriage, taking on a new job and finding out he was going to be a father for the first time), but he never let anything get in the way of this race and Sunny arrived in Austin in top shape!
Despite extremely cold temperatures at the start and a flat tire on the bike course, Sunny put together a spectacular race in Austin. He was smiling and enjoy the course the entire way. Congratulations Sunny for finishing your first 70.3! You have a long future in this sport. Onward to Phoenix Marathon training!
Ronald Haantjes: Sunny is the reason Ronald and I met - for which I'm very grateful. Sunny and Ronald work together and decided to take on the challenge of Austin 70.3 together. Ronald lives in Toronto and is an experienced triathlete. He's done several 70.3's and an Ironman in the past, but his goal of completing Austin 70.3 comes after taking a few years off from training. My biggest concerns in working with Ronald was the distance between us (I learn so much from seeing my athletes on a regular basis) and his history of running injuries.
I hit the jackpot when I quickly learned that not only is Ronald an incredible athlete, he is very receptive to advice and quickly adapts to changes. His/our communication is what has made our far distance coach-athlete relationship work.
Thankfully Ronald completed his training cycle injury-free and he went on to execute his race at Austin 70.3 flawlessly. I couldn't be more proud of you, Ronald. Congratulations!
Thank you for the opportunity to coach you from afar. It has been an absolute pleasure coaching you and watching your transformation. I'm very excited to see what you will do in 2018!
Ashley: Ashley is a Phoenix native who moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in July to take a teaching and research position at the University of Nebraska. She's a very successful person, that loves to consistently push herself and take on new challenges. When talking about goal races after she got settled in Nebraska, the idea of Austin 70.3 came up. She raced Austin 70.3 in 2015 and loved the experience so adding this race to her schedule kept her engaged and busy for several months as she got settled into Lincoln.
I've had the fortunate opportunity to work with Ashley for the last several years and based on her history it's my opinion that she made it to Austin 70.3 in the best shape and at the highest fitness level that I've ever seen from her. She was ready for a PR baring weather and unforeseen circumstances. She worked hard on Sunday and her level of effort in the race brought her what she deserved. She achieved a PR!
Congratulations, Ashley! You never cease to surprise me with your passion towards improving - I'm looking forward to watching your fitness continue to evolve in 2018.