When I first started running I went out by myself. I used the Couch 2 5K app on my iPhone so I'd go out by myself, plug in my headphones, and get the workout completed. There were many days that I struggled to find the motivation. Fortunately, I found a website called DailyMile.com that I joined. DailyMile is like Facebook for people who work out. You post your workouts and make friends. The best part about it is that you get a lot of encouragement from people you've never even met before. I continued using DailyMile for a lot of my 10K and half-marathon training.
But after a point I really needed some personal interaction. I searched online and found some local running clubs in Lexington. I reached out to a few people and before I knew it I was invited to a group run with John's Striders. I was thrilled. I'll never forget my 1st run with the group. The leader, Ernie Peel, was so encouraging and inspirational. Even though Ernie and I don't get the chance to run together now I still am so grateful to him for all he did for me. And I still am inspired by all he does for others. Also on that first run, I also got to meet my friend Casey Hill. Casey and I lived in the same neighorhood so we started running together a lot. We even started our own small running group that we called the "Polo Club Pacers" (because we ran on Polo Club Boulevard). Casey and the Pacers helped me prepare for my 1st half-marathon and my 1st marathon.
About the same time that I started running with the Striders and Pacers, I also joined the Bluegrass Cycling Club. I had been cycling on my own but was really struggling. I was riding a hybrid bike with big, knobby off-road tires and was really struggling. The Club took me in and made me one of their own. I learned so much from the members and was soon on my own road bike and on my way. I'm not sure that I would have developed my passion for cycling without the Club. They are just an amazing group of people.
I also joined the Bluegrass Tri Club. The group has all different levels of experienced athletes and it proved to be a valuable resource to me in my training. I also met some amazing people through the club who helped me train for Ironman. People like Rick and Jill Kimberlin, Coy Martinez and Bob Baney. And I enjoy this club so much that I am now the President. I just hope to be able to share what I've learned with others who are interested in learning more about triathlons. It's my way of paying it forward.
And finally, after my disappointing performance at Ironman Louisville in 2012 I knew that I needed to really improve my swimming. So I joined the UK Masters Swim Team. The team meets several times throughout the week and has an amazing coach, Susan Bradley Cox, who also happens to be in the International Triathlete Hall of Fame. Being around other swimmers and having the coaching made such a difference in my ability. I went from swimming the 2.4 miles of Ironman Louisville in 2 hours 16 minutes in 2012 to swimming it in 1 hour 37 minutes in 2013. No way that would've happened without the UK Masters.
So if you're struggling with your training I strongly encourage you to take some time and look for some groups around you. Whether it's running, cycling, swimming, or triathlon you'll most likely find a group that you can fit in with. Like I said it takes a village.