For ten years, from 2005-2015, an email was sent every morning. It contained my workouts for the day (which of course were no surprise to me, as I had already planned and re-planned my week around them in advance). I got up, most mornings before the first ray of daylight, checked my email, reviewed my workouts, and went about my day.
I got very used to my schedule. It brought structure to my life once I became an entrepreneur. It required discipline and attention to detail, which my psyche thrives upon. When I first began the journey, I didn’t know where I was headed, but I knew I loved the process of checking the boxes, monitoring my progress, learning new skills, enjoying the meticulous mastery of three sports combining into one race. Over time, my performance improved and my expectations heightened. It was still a battle with myself each day. How many 100-yard swim repeats could I come in at 1:30, then 1:20, then 1:15? How fast could my pace be for ten miles at my target heart rate? The thought of how much better I could get, intrigued me. What was the limit? I had yet to find out.
Running, my first love. At first after 10 weeks off, it felt miserable, I kid you not. I was tight, wonky and not myself! These days it's getting better one step at a time!
Once I turned pro, everything was turned up a notch, including my expectations. I tried not to let them rule my life, but I also knew everyone else on this playing field was at least as talented as I was, if not more so. More discipline, more early mornings, more fruits and vegetables, more time away from home training, more sleep, more strength training…more everything was required to compete at that level. At first I fumbled around, the pressure too high, my abilities to manage that pressure much too low. I crumbled under the weight. I questioned everything I’d ever known and why I made the leap. Over time, I learned what it takes to be successful at the professional level. The life it required was far from the glamorous picture I painted in my head. I thought I pushed hard before, I hadn’t. I thought I knew what discipline was, I didn’t. It was time to go all in, or find something else to spend my time doing. "No regrets," I repeated over and over to myself. The enjoyment was still in the process, but there was a little less fun in it. It was like building a house brick by brick each season, laying the foundation, solidifying the cement, rising floor by floor until the roof was put on and it was time to race. More time, more money, more emotions were at stake. Friends, family, sponsors, my husband, each one rallied around me and became more flexible so I could go to bed early, stay on track nutritionally, show up late to family events (or better yet, ride my bike the 100 miles to get there!).
My sponsors supported me throughout this season - Thank You! A special thanks to Coeur Sports, Ultragrain & Rudy Project
In 2015, we saw the fruits of our labor with my most consistent season yet - three third places at highly competitive Ironman races from Taiwan to Chattanooga. Yet, Kyle and I felt our family was not complete. At the end of that year we found out we were pregnant. This past August we were blessed with a gift beyond our wildest imagination. Emma Grace Schwabenbauer came into our lives.
Emma - aka my heart
If I never step on another starting line, it’s good to know that my team truly squeezed every last drop out of those ten years and the ride was beyond wild. We traveled the world, saw and experienced things I never dreamed I get the chance to do and see. The people I met were fantastic. I fulfilled 98% of the things I wanted to do while I was racing. The few last items on my list weren’t things that would change the way I feel about myself or my life. They wouldn’t bring me any additional happiness or make me feel more whole. My husband, daughter, family, sponsors and friends play that role. However, with that said, some days my mind still wonders what if? What if a Mom (with BIG support from her husband) could train 12 hours a week, then 15? Could she do an Olympic? A half?
Back on the bike OUTSIDE for the first time in over a year = happy Kim
While this fall has been impossible to find out, the spring presents a new opportunity and a new chance to see what the new normal might look like for me and for our little family. It’s not a question of knowing what it takes to rise to the level I did previously, it’s more a question these days of if I really want that anymore knowing how my priorities have shifted and changed. It’s about asking “if the juice is worth the squeeze,” as they say! What would I want out of another chance at a pro starting line? Would it be possible to get there while keeping the first things first in my life? Would I still enjoy the process just as much if it was slower, more arduous and required more flexibility? I can guarantee you one thing, it wouldn’t be perfect, or even close to it, but maybe that would be ok. Maybe it would be about finding out what I could do NOW with this new life and with little hands clapping at the finish line to see their Mommy. Maybe I wouldn’t need to place top five, maybe I would just need to see the finish showing my little girl hat you can do anything you put your mind to and knowing I’d put my heart and soul on the line like I always did, and that would be enough.
Getting back in the pool - scary!
For now, I’ll keep attempting to find an hour or so to work out per day like the rest of the world content to just be exercising for health and sanity. They call November and December dreaming season for a reason though. Are you dreaming of what could be next year? Do you see yourself crossing a certain finish line or riding your bike farther than you ever have before? What about a marathon – do you wonder if you could take on the distance? The dreaming is fun. It separates us from animals. It gives us hope and a reason to get up in the morning and keep striving. I know it keeps me alive!
If you’ve been looking for some help to help you succeed next year, I’ve got the perfect solution – Fuel Your Passion. After seven years of coaching, we know we have the right tools to create the plan and help our athletes stay healthy and happy as they complete their journey. Our athletes are all ages, sizes and from all walks of life. We have those who start walk running complete marathons and Ironmans to those qualifying for the World Championship (three in fact over the last year). Our track record is solid and our team will tell you just how much fun it is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. We race with heart, courage and a huge smile because we know it’s a true gift to be out there. Check out our website or reach out to me any time firstname.lastname@example.org and come join us in 2017! Your next BEST finish line is just around the corner!
Kathy Beith 66 years young qualifies and places 6th in her age group at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii - her third Ironman
Witek Lipski qualifies at Ironman Louisville for 2017
Greg Christiansen has a blast at the Marine Corps Marathon