Thursday, October 11, 2007

What We've Learned

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Ghandi

Most of our blog posts this year have focused on something we've discovered through our training this. As we wrap up this transformative season, here are few additional things we've really learned that might be especially helpful for new endurance athletes and new fundraisers:

  • Having a coach makes a HUGE difference. We've been participating in various endurance sports for several years, but this was the year we really made progress. Our coach helped us understand and implement both the science and the art to this sport.

  • Heartrates! Who knew? Before this year, we'd pretty much just gone out and run, not paying much attention to levels of exertion. Discovering, monitoring, and actively training in our own personal five heartrate zones kept us honest when we were sandbagging (not that we ever were, of course) and kept us from pushing too hard, too often.

  • Speed work, hill repeats, and plyometics aren't just for elite athletes. We used to read Runner's World magazine and know that Runners did these things, but we couldn't really figure out (or maybe we were really just too embarrassed to possibly look like fools) how to integrate them into our routines."Normal" folks like us can get faster and stronger by actually going faster and harder - and risking looking foolish, too.

  • Nutrition is even more important than we originally realized. Making the commitment to focus on recovery calories and eating within 30 minutes of tough workout, made the next day SO much more enjoyable.

  • Partnership is critical. Yes, we could have done this alone, but knowing that the other sister was also getting up early and doing the day's workout -- and being able to talk about how that workout went -- was a huge accountability factor for us.

  • Our non-training husbands were also huge partners. This year's training and Tri to End Homelessness campaign was a family decision -- and remembering that family decision helped when training sometimes conflicted with other areas of our lives.

  • Figuring out strategies to integrate increased and intensified training into our days made us more efficient and effective in lots of other areas of our lives.

  • While our everyday lives may be filled with more email than adventure, signing up for races we weren't sure we could complete, taking on new cycling routes, and learning brand new skills really fed our deep yearnings for leading adventurous lives.

  • Connecting our season to an issue we care about deepened our connection to our training and our community. In a very short amount of time, anyone can raise enough money to make a real difference for a cause about which she cares. Think about what issues stir you. Find a organization that's working on that issue. Ask how you can help. Write letters to your friends, family, co-workers, places you shop -- tell them why you care, ask for their help, and thank them for their support.

  • People do care - but they need a personal connection to the issue. Most of the nearly $6,000 we raised came in small amounts from folks who had obviously heard of homelessness, but may have never felt a connection to this unsexy cause. Knowing us, knowing triathlons, knowing our sponsors and supporters helped build that connection.

  • Writing through this blog helped us become more reflective about the entire experience. That reflection deepened our emotional and intellectual learning throughout the year. Thanks for reading!