Monday, September 26, 2011

Success not Dog Meat: Update from Mamacat

OK, must admit I was a little concerned about my friend, when I got this email from her just three days before the Iron Girl Duathlon:
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Subject: DOG MEAT

I just read the rules for Iron Girl and I have to run 2 miles in 24 minutes. For you speedy types, this is a breeze. For a poky old girl who runs a 13 minute mile....umm. I be in big trouble. 

My Response to Mamacat: 

Just means you can't walk. Think turnover. You can do it. You just did a triathlon in a cold rain. What can't you do??? Here's some homework if you have time before Sunday. Go to a track and do two warm-up laps, then do 8 laps all at 2:55 or less. You need to run each 400 lap in 3 minutes to make it a 12-minute mile. If you can make that easily bump the laps to 2:50 or 2:45. Give yourself a minute to recover between each lap. Go!

Mamacat's Reply:

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011
Subject: RE: DOG MEAT

My first lap was 3 minutes. And trust me when I say they didn't get faster. Interestingly, I had to walk more in the first few laps but was able to keep going without a break in the later laps. But they were s-l-o-w. Husband insists that it was a longer track than 1/4 mile but I wouldn't know the difference. I am not worried about going the distance but do worry about the speed. I'll try again tomorrow and Saturday too - even if it's rest day. I'll just have to make it happen. 

My Response (and in my head I'm thinking how sweet it was for her husband to say that the track was long):

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011
Subject: RE: DOG MEAT

You are not factoring in the race atmosphere, which absolutely increases speed without you even realizing it. All that's required of you Sunday is to do your best. 

Mamacat's Reply:

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011
Subject: RE: DOG MEAT

Right. Good point. I will do my very best. The first two Tri's were about finishing and this race can be about starting to pick up the pace. 

We eventually figured out that the cut-off was 26 minutes, not the 24-minutes she originally thought. She made the cut-off time and finished with a grand Mamacat-signature smile. Here we are after the finish:

Now, 10 months after Mamacat asked me to help her become a Hot (Sweaty) Mama, we both know she has earned that title and owns it. 

Beyond Mamacat's personal goals, she has experienced the benefits of the last secret in Hot (Sweaty) Mamas, "Act Like Others Are Watching Because They Are." What started as a solo journey has ended with her whole family being more active, including "date" bike rides with her husband and "family night" at the running track. Her son wants to join the local tri store's triathlon team next spring and together they've set their next goal: to run a 5K at the end of October. Mamacat set out to be mentored, but now she has become the mentor.

I think that new role became crystal clear for her at her second triathlon, which was full of obstacles for her; namely, recovering from a root canal that put a crimp in her training, frigid water and a rainy, cool day. Here's what she said about that race, which includes a great suggestion she got from a fellow Hot (Sweaty) Mama:
When the kids saw me coming through the trail head in the woods, they started calling my name as they waited at the top of the hill. "Come on mom, you can make it, we'll finish with you!" When I got to the top of the hill and rounded the corner to the last few hundred feet, my wee ones were there and running with me and we crossed the finish line together. It was awesome.  
A day or so later I started beating myself up for not going faster or doing a better job in the race. I confessed this to a mom at Moms on the Run and she, after admonishing me for such behavior, gave me a nice little piece of advice. "Write a letter to each of your children. Tell them how you ran your first real triathlon when you were sick and it was cold and rainy. Even though there were times you wanted to give up, you didn't. You kept going and kept trying and you finished it. Doesn't matter how fast, it matters that you didn't give up. Write this letter to them now while it's fresh in your mind. Let them open it later in life when they need to remember all the reasons why they should "try" or "do the best they can do" or why they "shouldn't give up." It'll be quite a gift for them and a beautiful lesson. " 
Love it!

Whether because impressionable people are watching or your actions to mentor are intentional, paying it forward is part of living a fit lifestyle. 

When Iron Girl sent me their post-race email, they included this quote, which I think sums up Mamacat's event, as well as her quest to become a Hot (Sweaty) Mama. We should all aspire to do this definition of success:

Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.
--John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA basketball team

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