From time to time everyone can loose focus on our vision, we search for the little extra push that keeps us going forward, makes us think about what do we need to be doing to push ourselves to the next level. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched this video, but it is a favourite go to when I need just that.
I first posted this 9 years ago. I rewatched this and it still sang to my soul just as deeply as it did the first time. Maybe even more.
I wanted share with you this past weekend’s running experience, not as an athlete, but as a race director.
Directing a race is not a simple task. Any problems that happens during the event falls all on your shoulders. There are so many factors to constantly be thinking about. If you have a great team, they help carry the worrisome burden for you…luckily I had that experience. But when it comes down to it, any decision that is made on how things were executed during the event ultimately falls on the director’s shoulders.
Aside from the execution point, there are the athletes; they are all your responsibility. Every single one of them on the course. Their safety and experience are your primary focus (plus everything else that goes on behind the scene).
Summit was an event unlike anything I had every had the opportunity to direct. A weekend runner’s retreat with an interactive Conclave that had guest speakers from all levels of athletes, talking about their experiences on their journey to running. An intellectual Q&A followed with the best training and racing questions I had ever received from a crowd.
But the race course, was something that was out of a fairy tale. It was the most majestic and picturesque scenery I had yet to have experienced in any race I had done. A rolling hill descent that takes you through valleys and villages of the Indian countryside between the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Even though I didn't get to race the course, I had the privilege of testing the course a couple month before the event. My cheeks hurt worse than my legs from smiling the entire 21km I ran because a smile never left my face during test.
I wanted everyone to have the same amazing experience I had running the course. As the race started I was lucky enough to get to check in with almost every single runner on the course. And along the way was able to capture a few small clicks and snips to memorialise their experience.
Summit 2015 Video
Thank you to all who worked on the planning. An experience like this was not an easy task. Thank you to all who participated. Summit would never be possible without running enthusiasts like you. Thank you for giving me a wonderful experience. It was an honor to play a role in an event of a lifetime.
It is easy to focus on the negatives in life, and yes, sometimes that can be a big motivator. There are two very distinctive points in my career I will never forget and both were negative:
1. My very first class evaluation I ever had. After a month of teaching my first cycling class, my boss came in to evaluate the ride I taught. The first words that came from his mouth were, “You’re a train wreck.” I am one who takes constructive criticism quite well, however, this burnt right through me (and to this day, I still wonder what it is that exactly made me a ‘train wreck’ other than he personally didn’t like my music).
2. The first video work I ever did went to market test and of 100 reviews, the one and only one that sticks in my mind to this day is that, “She (me) has no personality.” 98 great reviews and the one I remember is the one that says I have no personality. And even though I know me and know I could not be successful in my field of work without a personality, that still hurts me to this day.
Either way, both cases made me want to be better at what I do. I was motivated by the negative and still to this day am motivated by those two painful reminders of what once was said to me. I also learned that not everyone is going to like me, not everyone is going to be motivated by me and that a tough skin was going to need be grow over the flesh I carried, because I would break if didn’t.
Even though I feel I have the best job in the world, motivating people, changing their lives and making them feel good about themselves; people don’t usually reciprocate. So I make a point every day to let myself know how incredible I am, and that I am making a difference in this world, no matter how small it is.
“This is my last; never again,” these were the words I had during a brief moment of sanity in June…eight hours later I signed up for another one; clearly I had regained my loss of sanity.
I remember being eight years old and flipping through the channels on a Sunday afternoon and coming across NBC or ABC and seeing the Gatorade Ironman. Watching in amazement I said, “Daddy what is this?” He didn’t know, living in a small town in the mid-west we had never seen or heard of such a thing. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen anyone do. Sitting there with tears in my eyes; as a kid I didn’t know why it brought tears to me, I wasn’t a crier, but watching the race that day gave me a feeling I had never experienced before. There was nothing more I wanted to do than to try one of those races…whatever is was.
It took about 10 years to pass before the sport of triathlon to reached Indiana and I learned what an Ironman was. By this time I had graduated from high school and having been an athlete throughout my childhood and adolescence (a gymnast, sprinter and diver who rode her bike to town throughout the summer), I signed up for a race and thought this would be a piece of cake. I couldn’t have been more wrong…doing a sprint triathlon was the toughest thing I had ever done! Running 3.1 miles is a lot different from running a 400 meter dash and swimming 800 meters is even more different from swimming to the side of the pool after completing a dive. I was more amazed in having survived the sprint triathlon than what I was that day I had watched those athletes completing the Ironman on TV. I was 19 and knew nothing; I did my one triathlon and got on with my life.
Seven years went by before I figured out that what I missed more than anything in my life was the competition I had loved as a kid. I really enjoyed the training, the races and meets, the challenges and the way I pushed myself. It was a part of who I was and the seven years I went without it were the seven years of my life where I felt most lost and undirected. As I soon started to realize that thirty would be around the corner quicker than I had hoped for, I decided I wanted to be in the best shape of my life and knew this would be a huge challenge as I would reflect of my late teens of what my body was capable of doing. There was a girlfriend of mine who mentioned she wanted to do the Chicago Triathlon but didn’t want to do it herself; so I told her I would buy a bike and do it with her.
I bought a bike, running shoes, goggles and every book there was on training for your first triathlon. It took me about two weeks before I could fully complete 1 mile without walking and that single mile took me 12 minutes to complete. How was I going to make it through? But there was something in me that kept me going…maybe the fear of turning thirty (in 3 years) and looking thirty. Who knows, but whatever it was I kept on training. First race was difficult; it was 104 degrees that day, but I had fun…more than fun, I felt something inside of me that I hadn’t felt in year. A light turned on inside of me.
That year I did a race in July, August, September and November. Suddenly I thought maybe if I had a coach I could be good at this, so I hired one. I soon started to remember that day as a kid sitting in my living room watching the Gatorade Ironman and actually started to believe maybe I could do one of those. March of the next year I did my first Half Ironman in Oceanside, CA…fired my coach, cursed her out for ever talking me into a race like that. I cried before the race, during the swim, on the bike and in the run. At the end of the race I re-hired her, but told her, “Never Again!” Three months later I signed up for my next Half.
A couple years went by racing all distances up to the Half Ironman and with my 30th birthday in front of me I couldn’t think of a better gift to give myself but to fulfil that little girl’s dream of doing One herself. So I thought to myself, “if I were only to do one and only one, where would I want that to be?” Ironman South Africa it is; Happy Birthday to Me!
Why did I pick a “fall race” in the southern hemisphere while living in Chicago?! I became one with my trainer; riding indoors…staring at the black line in the bottom of the pool…listening the rhythmic hum of the treadmill. Training was rough and the race was tough, what was I thinking? It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more! My body had never experienced so much pain. I had never spent so much time with myself. There is nothing that can ever compare to coming across the finish line and hearing, “Kimberly Barnhart, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”, it was amazing, but Never Again!
It took one whole year before I starting thinking about doing another one. At this point I was starting to get comfortable with doing Half IM, in fact one of my wedding gifts that came from my coach was an entry into my favourite Half Ironman; Oceanside, that’s right, the one I cried through my first time and now I have done it three times! But where in the world would I go next? Lake Placid sounded good; good enough to plaster myself to the computer the day registration opened and break into a nervous sweat and become overwhelmed with anxiety in hopes I get in before registration is filled. 11:00 a.m. registration opened, 11:10 a.m. I was confirmed, 11:20 a.m. registration closed and 3000 people where signed up. What had I done, didn’t I say I would never again done another one of these?
I like to call these “never again’s” moments of sanity, and these days I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but they are happening less and less. Before I had even raced Lake Placid (same day of my never again moment back in June) I had signed up for another, which leads me to where I am today; one week after Ironman Lake Placid 2010, taking a brief recovery before I start my next endeavour; training for Ironman Lanzarote.
The anticipation is building, but you will have to wait until September for the final result. Training for an Ironman to me, is as close to pregnancy as I will ever get.
Right now it is pure excitement; you are now committed to another Full Distance Triathlon (3.8km swim/180km cycle/26.2km run) – and all you feel is a nervous excitement. What you don’t think when you have your brilliant moment “I want to do another Endurance Race of the sort” is that over the next nine months your body physically and mentally goes through changes; you will eat more, your body will ache, feet will hurt, and you will drive your spouse crazy. No book ever written can really tell you what it is like; you never really know until you become an Ironman yourself.
12 months out: You decide it is a good idea to go through with it and commit. And the prep phase is so much fun; the course research, the planning. The first phase of nervous excitement hits.
9 months out: Let the real training begin. The first couple weeks is just getting into a regimen, your body feels a little off, but you soon learn to live with the change in your lifestyle about 2 to 3 months into the process.
6 months out: You are either loving or hating the experience, but either way, you start go a little workout crazy.
3 months out: You gradually become more and more irritable, everything in your body hurts. All you can think about is the big day that awaits you. At this point, it cannot come soon enough.
3 weeks out: You hit the Taper and have to go easy on your body as you prep for the day you have to deliver. This is when you mentally start to panic, “What the hell I have done, I’m not ready for this!!!” You would do just about anything at this point to push along the process faster to the final day, but in reality you have no control.
1 day out: Excitement, nervousness, fear, anger, happiness, sadness, excitement…it’s a vicious cycle, but you will feel it all, and some of those feeling you have no clue why you are feeling them.
Game Day: You cry, you smile, you love, you hate…there are ups and downs and every emotion you feel, every
Nine months from now I will go through 11 hours of hard labor and in the end, in the final push across the finish line I forget about all I went through to get to this point, I won’t care about how I look or what’s going on around me..it’s all focus on one thing; for it all to be over and reap my reward. Depending on the experience, I might think never again or have such a pleasant time the I want to do it all over again and want to do Another.
As my house starts to collect Finisher Medals; who know how many I do or where they will be from; but what I do know is that each one has a special place in my heart. Each race had to be treated and nurtured differently.
For those mothers who think I am crazy for comparing this to childbirth and have never done an Ironman; sign up for one and see. And for those who have gone through both; think about it…mmm. (just remember I compared it to the giving birth process, not actually raising kids)
I eat fairly healthy. Although I do like chocolate chips on my oatmeal every morning. And I do put 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee with cream in the morning. I guess we can't leave out I always have to have something sweet to snack on in the evening after dinner. But other than that I eat lots of veggies and oatmeal, good protein and stay well hydrated.
To get the engine to run at optimum performance, you need to put optimum fuel in the tank. That's how it is for anything - even your body. This week's key focus of training is my nutrition, doing a cleanse - changing the fuel - going from Premium to Super Premium, or maybe even bio-diesel clean fuel. My goal is to go 5 days with 100% clean fuel. Today is the beginning of day 3.
1st day - anyone can do something for a day, right?
At day 2 there were two things I learned; 1. Eating like this is hard work. It takes dedication and discipline and a lot of planning and time to prepare all your food. 2. Hi, my name is Kimberly and I am a sugar addict...and I am going through withdraw. By the end of day one I started to get a mild headache. Waking up day two with the same headache was only the beginning. Not being able to take anything for my headache because I am trying to get all that crap in my body out is what made it worse! I had NO energy at all, and I wasn't in the best of mood. Just thinking about doing my workout for the day exhausted me (so I didn't do it). By the end of the second night, still with headache and feeling like crap, I started to reorganize my goals and thinking getting through 3 days would be my limit.
Day 3, today - I woke up feeling amazing! No headache. Lots of energy. Slept like a baby, waking up without an alarm at 5:43. Wow, maybe eating clean really does help. I got up and made my fresh juice and steel cut oatmeal...which took an hour, but well worth the wait. Then off to my workouts for the day. Still felt good after working-out. Followed by some more juice, protein, and dinner.
Some said I was stupid for doing this because I am an athlete and need more fuel to train, but here are my arguments to that; 1. First and foremost - I am still fueling my body. I am in prep-season - time to get my body for the big training - it's part of my tune up. I am not doing 20 mile runs and 100 mile bike rides, therefore I do not need 2500-4000 calories a day. Besides, I am eating 2 full meals, 2 protein mixes and 2 juices a day. 2. My expectations are not to loose weight, but to eliminate processed foods, sugar and other crap from my diet. I want my body to feel better and have more energy. I want to become more aware of what I put in my body.
By doing this, I have become so much more aware of exactly what is going into my body. It is funny how I have clients who write food logs and send it to me so I can see what they are putting into their body and before they even send me their log they tell me they didn't realize they were eating in such a way until after they wrote it down. Same here. I know I have a little advantage with a non-stop active lifestyle that goes seven days a week; but I want to be healthy too. Before I moved in with my husband I ate so differently; but when two different worlds meet and you don't do any of the cooking or grocery shopping things change - and what changed was my eating. Before, I never had desserts or chocolates. I didn't eat dairy or drink that much coffee. This cleanse is my battle to regain what better eating habits I once had.
I still miss my chocolate...and my coffee; and I can't say I would give either up completely, but I could cut back dramatically on both. I would be doing this if I didn't want to make changes in the end. It will be interesting to see what the final 2 days will be like!
It is unfortunate more people don’t race the sprint distance triathlon. Although it is a fraction of the distance of the Ironman, it is still a hard race if you do it right. From start to finish your entire body is burning and you are breathless; it’s painful (in a good way). It is for people who love to go fast and who are fast. You don’t have to spend endless hours of your free time to train for the distance, but the type of training you do is hard and fast. To race the sprint distance doesn’t make you any less of an athlete from those who do the endurance events; you are just a different type of athlete.
It is like comparing Usain Bolt to Haile Gebrselassie; they both run and hold world records in their respected distances, but would you ever say that Bolt is less of an athlete to Gebrselassie because he competes at a much shorter distance?
In addition, Gebrselassie has held world records in distances from the 2000 meter up to the marathon distance. I know he is a world-class athlete, but he shows that you can be great in more distances than just one.
If you have ever spent time following the Road Circuit for USATF, it is very impressive to watch these elite athletes compete in the USA Nationals all distances from 5k to the Marathon, collecting points throughout the season to determine a USA Running Circuit Grand Prix Champion. It is very impressive to watch. With that in mind, it makes me wonder why doesn’t USAT create a circuit like this with the Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman Distance?
It would be interesting to see how the athletes would perform and if the attitude of "your not good triathlete unless you compete at the Ironman distance".
...just a thought
Have you ever been asked, “Did you do everything you possibly could to make your race perfect?” Me; most times my answer has been no, but this time was different.
The training itself wasn’t picture perfect, because I have a tendency to put my client’s training needs before myself, I don’t train at the intensities my body is capable of handling. It’s certainly not a complaint; I love my job more than anything in the world and I get just as much joy in seeing them succeed with their racing as what I do with mine. But I certainly could do better with my own training.
Arriving at Lake Placid is not the easiest; there are no really close airports, so your drive is one and a half to two hours getting in. The weather is very unpredictable where it is pouring one minute and 60 degrees outside and five minutes later sunny and 75. One thing I have learned with racing is that if it rains on race day; everyone gets to race in the rain. If it is windy; everyone gets to race in windy conditions. Two of the two Ironman races I have done it has been rainy and windy. So it is what it is and you learn to suck it up and deal with it.
Arriving on Wednesday before the race with lost luggage left us with not getting to get anything done; so the first day was a scratch. Thursday I got up and went for a drive around the entire course, both run and bike. The nice thing about this particular course is that it is two laps of everything, so you only have to go over half the distance of the race.
After taking a drive around the course, then headed off to race registration where it’s all the same; get number, show ID, weigh in, pick-up numbers and bag… Then went and picked up my bike from Bike Transport (which, if you have never done this can be nice if you don’t want to mess with your bike right after the race or uncomfortable with bike dis/assembly). I then had to drop my bike off at the local shop to be fixed…that’s right. A problem that couldn’t be fixed before my bike got sent out had to be done there. Surprisingly, as stressed out as I could have been over it, it didn’t even phase me.
Friday I got to swim the course; I put on my H2O Audio Headphones (best thing EVER), zoned out and had an amazing swim in Mirror Lake. The water was glassy and clean, from the center of the lake you get a spectacular panoramic view of Lake Placid unlike no other. Later on I hopped on my bike and practiced the big descent at the beginning of the ride portion a couple times and ran two of the big hills on the run course.
Saturday I will have to admit I got a little carried away and went for what started out to be an easy short run and ended up running an 8 mile run at an 8:00 pace. I had gone off into my own little world and came to 4 miles away from my hotel. Later in the morning I got on my bike and rode down the big 12 mile climb at the end of the bike course and turned back to ride up it. So my day before the race workout ended up being an 8 mile run and 25 mile bike. It was more than I had planned, but I didn’t over-stress that I had done too much.
I hadn’t drank for almost three months and sitting there a lunch with my friend and husband I out of the blue decided I would have a beer, so I had one…and another. It really wasn’t necessary to have the second especially after getting more than a buzz after literally three sips. This was Friday and I slept like a baby that night. Saturday afternoon I decided to have anther, but this time I didn’t go overboard; I only had one. Night before the race I slept so well.
Waking up the morning of my Ironman race was very uneventful. Ate breakfast; oatmeal and had 16 ounces of water with powered electrolytes, then headed to the race site, which we had to walk a mile since we were located on the race course and roads were closed off until midnight. I got everything dropped off and walked to the lake, which is another quarter mile from the transition area. Still I felt calm. When I know it’s going to be a long day, I surrender to the fact that at 7 a.m. I will be working out and so at noon, and 3 p.m. and still even at 6 in the evening. It’s just a long day. This year I have started something new with my warm-ups before a race; I actually go for a swim. So this is what I did and swam for about ten to fifteen minutes nice and easy.
Then the race was about to begin. Five minutes before the start I ran into my coach in a sea of 2700 people, we stuck by each others side as if it were to last the entire 2.4 miles…right. The gun goes off!
The first 400 meters really wasn’t so bad and then a guy (knowing this from the red swim cap) grabbed my shoulder and pulled me under. As I am underwater I look above me to see bodies all around and as I surface I made the biggest mistake ever; I looked behind me. I totally FREAKED OUT!
They are all about to take me down, it was a sea of red swim caps. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t put my face in the water, I couldn’t breast stroke, I couldn’t do anything to move forward! All I could do was yell for my coach who had long left my side at this point and I wanted to rip my wetsuit off because I was getting so hot I couldn’t stand it. Panic! I told myself to get calm, waited for what seemed like eternity and found an open pocket of water and took it. I swam in that pocket for the rest of the race and no one came close to me, it was unbelievable!
First lap took me 39 minutes to complete. At this point I was actually feeling a little sea sick, but it happens with me in the water, but after I found my rhythm and got comfortable, the second lap took 34 minutes. The swim was over in 1:13:33 and I was onto my bike.
As soon as I got onto my bike this was the first time that I thought maybe the 12 mile climb I did yesterday should have been done on Friday instead. But that feeling only lasted for a very brief moment because next thing I know I was already 15 miles into the ride. The descent you do about 5 miles into the ride is amazing. And for those who aren’t afraid to go fast; this is the time to gain time. Luckily for me I love to see how fast I can really push it down the hill, but on the other hand living in Chicago I don’t get as much hill practice as I would like to do so the climb up on the other side of the course was not going to be my strong point. 20 miles into the bike I was averaging 24.4 mph.
Then the rolling hills started, and I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t into the wind and you felt your legs working down the hills too. There was a sign at the beginning of the rollers that said, “make the rollers your bitch”, and I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to seeing that sign on the next lap…the little things that entertains you through a race like this. After you pass through the rollers you get one little descent that takes you to the very bottom of the valley right by White Face Mountain; it is where you see the 100 mile marker and then there is the 12 mile climb out of the valley and back into Lake Placid. The first lap it isn’t so bad, but the second round that final climb was the longest 12 miles I have ever ridden, 50 minutes to get through 12 miles. 6 hours and 6 minutes later the ride was over and I was quickly onto the run.
Surprisingly as I started my run my legs felt great. The first 5k I found it very difficult to run slower than an 8:00 pace. My body wanted to go fast but my mind was going slow down; but the fear of slowing down and feeling my body shut down if I did won the battle, so I continued with the pace. Gradually as the miles went on the legs started to slow on their own. The first 13.1 miles were done in around 1:50 and I was feeling great.
At this point in the race everything had felt great. Yes, there were a couple obstacles I had to overcome in the swim, but all in all this had been a pretty picture perfect race. My nutrition was spot on and stomach was feeling great. As I passed the mile 14 marker I remember thinking, “Where did the day go?” At that moment it felt like a blur; the months of training for the hours of racing and I couldn’t remember anything about it. Is this what it’s like to be in the zone? My legs never really hurt, nor did my lungs. I will admit that around the last 8 miles I started to feel tired, sleepy tired. Up to mile 22 I stuck to the nutrition plan of my run of water and oranges.
Then I saw the food table; I took the longest mile of my race here at 12:45 – stopped and had a schmorgasboard. I was out of control! I had a cup of pretzels (I don’t even like pretzels), an oatmeal cookie, a branch of grapes, half an orange; shoved it all in my mouth and had some water with it, just enough to make a thick paste I couldn’t even swallow. “Get it under control Kimberly!” That is was actually came out of my mouth, not just thinking it. It did take good though, but I knew that the next 4 miles could be the longest 4 miles I had ever run if I didn’t stick to the plan. As I made my way back into town and into the last 2 miles I found that my energy was picking up along with my legs.
I had a screen print of an Iron Maiden album cover put on my racing top and wore it through the race and it was the most brilliant idea ever. Throughout the entire run all I hear was “go Iron Maiden”, and people yelling and cheering me on, giving high fives, it made me easily recognisable. It really helped get me through the race. (My husband hated the shirt and didn’t find it appropriate given that I was married and not a maiden, however a maiden is also a female race horse who has never won a race…I have never won an Ironman so I loved it and found it perfect for me.)
The last two miles I continued to pick up my pace; naturally being a shorter distance athlete I always find I have a kick left in the end. 1 mile left, and then 800 meters…as I entered the Olympic Speed Skating Arena and made my lap around the track I continued to pick up speed. On the straight away I started to come up on a girl and about passed her, but decided to back off and give her that moment of glory as she crossed the finish line. I did and then she stopped – so I didn’t get to have mine, and she was in my age group and beat me by 1 second. To top it off; the announcer didn’t even say, “Kimberly Shah, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” It was such a disappointment. I was more disappointed about the announcer than anything else in the race.
12 hours is what I wanted to break and I thought is was going to be work to make that happen. But finishing in 11:46:21 was actually a lot easier than what I expected. Ironman easy? – it was challenging but not as hard as I thought it to be. Maybe I could do one of these and train hard for it and race it hard.
Never once in the race did I think why, this sucks or the infamous never again. In fact, it could not have gone more Picture Perfect (up until the last few seconds) and as the miles went on, the more excited I became for the next one, yes… The Next One.
With Sprint Nationals coming up in a week, I got to do a lot of quick speed work.
Swimming: I got to do pyramids and 100’s
Cycling: Some Tempo work and quick 1:00 sprints
Running: 2 mile repeaters and a good mid-distance run where I actually felt really good considering I just ran a marathon last weekend.
I am feeling really good, strong and motivated. Looking forward to racing next week and then take a couple weeks to rest my body!
My least favorite part of training…patience.
I want to dive in and start working at my big volume again; my body is feels healthy and strong. Mentally it is a challenge; I feel like I am loosing my level of fitness and taking steps backwards. I miss the long rides and runs (not so much the swims though)…I miss my old schedule. I know that I cannot maintain peak training for 40 weeks straight or I will end up injured or burnt out. Even though I completely understand the importance of rest and recovery and I honor that, it doesn’t make it any easier mentally. On the flip side, I really love racing sprints and doing speed work training.
I have squeezed in two races over the past couple weeks with one more in two weeks. The Chicago Triathlon I had a successful placing, but a not so thrilling finishing time (embarrassingly enough, my slowest 5k I have ever run). But I did try a new strategy in the swim which has helped me see what I need to focus on in the prep season with my swimming. This past weekend I did my second marathon of the year…back in France again, and had a wonderful time. And not wanting to put an immediate close to the season; I signed up for the Sprint Nationals in Alabama at the end of September.
As I continue to train through the end of the month; once I hit October I have to take a two weeks of lightheartedness to be a wife and have a little fun with my husband who puts up with my crazy shenanigans. But until then…let the training continue.