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Open Mic Friday: October ExtraOrdinary Runner Award Winner

Open_mic_friday Welcome and congratulations to Lana!

Lana is our October ExtraOrdinary Runner Award winner for her story of why she runs.  As our winner, she received a $100 gift certificate to OnLine Shoes! She originally shared her story on her blog, The Fire Inside, in October and shared it again with the Lounge after she became a member.  This weekend she takes on her goal - the Florida Ironman race.   Take time to read her story and then drop by her blog or profile to cheer her on.

Go Lana!

Tell us about your post, which is now an ExtraOrdinary Story (and Winner!) in the Lounge.

I went out for my final 20 mile run in the this IM training that morning, and when the alarm went off I wasn't motivated at all.  It was dark, I was running alone, and I just wasn't feeling it at all.  But knowing there was no where else in the day to squeeze in a 20 mile run, I got myself out the door and took off.  The first few miles were a little spooky and lonely, but the weather was great, and soon the sun came up, and I just felt amazing.  I couldn't get over how awesome it is that you can not want anything to do with runningLana1_2  when you walk out the door, but once you get going and you realize the potential you have inside yourself, what started off as something that feels miserable can turn into an absolutely amazing experience.  And I recalled so many times in my life when I have given in to those "but I don't want to" voices in my head...and who know what I have missed out on.  If I had listened to those voices that morning I wouldn't have experienced the beautiful sunrise, the crisp fresh air, and all the other wonderful things about running in the fall.  It just hit me really hard, and when I sat down to post the words just came pouring out.

Why did you start running?

I started running in 2003, basically just as extension of an effort to start exercising and lose some weight.  I had been changing my diet and going to the gym for a few months, when I decided to hop on the treadmill one day. I think I ran about a half mile or so, then a week or two later I bumped it up to a mile.  I kept at it, off and on, but I didn't really catch the running bug until I entered a 5k in the fall of 2004.  The adrenaline and everything about the whole race scene just captured me, and I've been running (and later added triathlons) ever since. 

Tell us about IronMan Florida, your upcoming race.

I decided to give triathlon a try for the first time in 2005.  I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid, and I had never swum competitively, but from what I could tell it looked like everyday, ordinary people out there doing these things.  So I bought a bike, hopped in the pool and just started doing the best I could.  I ran across the IM Florida web page a time or Imvisor two, but I didn't seriously consider it.  It seemed like something impossible at the time.  However, after getting ready for a sprint, and then continuing to train and get ready for more and more distance, I realized that my body could do a whole lot more than I thought it could.  I trained for and completed the Country Music Marathon in '06, and I rully realized that anything could be accomplished by taking it one step at a time.  I started increasing my distances and knowledge of endurance sports, and then one day I was sitting at work last fall, thinking about what I'd try to accomplish next, and I just said, "Screw it, I'm doing Ironman Florida."  So I went down and volunteered for the '07 race, signed up for the '08 race, and have been training since January for this thing.

Tell us about your training for the race.

I started training in January.  I had actually been training for the Rock 'n Roll Arizona Marathon during the fall and through Christmas, and I finally got a sub 4 marathon there in Janurary.  So I took about a week off and then started training for the Gulf Coast Half Iron Triathlon.  It was in May, and it was actually my first half iron distance, too.  I did much better than I expected at that!  I took it easy for a few weeks, and then started a 20 week plan towards Ironman Floriday.  The training basically consisted of about 6 days a week.  There were usually 2 - 3 workouts per week in each sport.  I do most of training in the early hours before work, so a lot of it had to be done in the dark.  I have a lot of friends who train with me a lot, so that makes it easier.  There are some days I don't think I could have gotten out of the bed for that long run if I didn't have someone waiting me.  The training was very manageable up until September and October.  That's when the weekend long workouts consisted of things like 5000yd swim followed by a 100 mile bike, and a 1 - 5 mile run.  I don't work on Fridays, so I would start swimming at 5:30 a.m. and try my best to get everything done in time to pick up my kids from school.  I thought it was pretty tough at the time, but in retrospect it was only for a few weeks...and that's not too bad to be able to complete a goal that you once never dreamed of.  I had about a 3 week taper, and now I should be ready to go!   

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

The sub 4 hour marathon.  What you may not know is that I trained to do a sub 4 in the Rocket City Marathon last December.  I was trained and ready, but I ended up having a really terrible day and ran like a 4:45 or something.  I was terribly dehydrated, threw up at mile 19, and I walked most of the last 7 miles. But I knew I had a sub 4 in me, so I went home and signed up for the Arizona Rock 'n Roll marathon.  I think a lot of people thought I was crazy, but I flew out there and ran a 3:56!  I was thrilled, and made a mental note to myself to never give up when you know you can do something...we all get knocked down, but those who keep getting back up bring home the prize!

How do you balance the demands of training with the needs of your family?

First off, I do most all of my training in the wee hours of the morning while my kids are still asleep.  Secondly, I have a very helpful husband and parents.  In the times that everything can't be done in the morning, they are always willing to step up and help me out.

What is your favorite/can't do without gear?

Body Glide - no doubt about it.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not training, racing or blogging?

I like to watch my kids play sports and help coach their teams.  I like to mountain bike and go camping.  And I'm always up for a game of Texas Hold'em.  I'm not much of a TV fan, except for the news.   

What is your favorite quote or saying?

The aim of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting WOW! WHAT A RIDE!


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A little late, but CONGRATULATIONS Lana! Your story is so inspiring and I'm so happy for you to complete your IM :)


Lana ROCKS!!!

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