does having a coach matter? Does
consistency in the relationship matter?
How do I know I’ve found the right coach?
are all questions that I have been asked since 2013 when I first started
coaching. In my opinion, the last
question is the only really personal response.
Only you will know when you have found the right coach, I will however
give some examples. Anyway let’s dive
right in to this.
a coach is nothing more than extra accountability to obtaining your goals. Certifications matter, do not get me wrong;
however, it is far more important to have a coach that you know will hold you
accountable. What to looks for in a
coach, doesn’t go all in with “one system” is the easy first step. I have had or maintain certifications from 3
different companies: ACE, CrossFit, and NASM.
I appreciate things I learned from each one of those companies but I am
always concerned when I see coaches that only have one background. If you always go through say ACE for all of
your information, by default you are just training what they tell you. Same can be said with any company, diversity
in knowledge is how you become a true expert.
consistency in the relationship matter? What
I mean by this, when you come to class do you always get the same coach and
have the same person who knows what you truly want and need. A wise and well respected coach Ben Bergeron
preaches the consistency of scheduling the same coaches at the same times… always
(with the exception of vacations). When
you walk in the door, that person should be intimate with every little detail
about your fitness and health journey.
If not, it is possible they critique you in a way that doesn’t help. We take pride in the fact that we know our
members PR’s by heart, because we see them every single session they come in. Consistency is what we preach but it goes
beyond just walking in the door.
do you know if you found the right coach?
This one is the most personal. To
me, it’s that click factor. They remember
the little details, they follow up with me when they know I am working on
something big. They *CENSORED*
care. They ask how the day goes and it
goes far beyond fitness and health.
for reading the blog, with social media and marketing being so overwhelming in
our society today there is a lot of inaccurate information. Pay attention to the little details, look at
the accomplishments of the clients not just the coach as an athlete and the
classes they’ve taken. Good luck and I
hope this helps.
We’ll see if I can write this coherently and without sobbing twelve hundred times.
I have been trying to find the words to describe the experience of this past weekend. People keep asking me how it was and I usually say, “It was insane.” Accurate. It was also wonderful, terrible, amazing, and horrible. What I experienced on Sunday will never be duplicated—both fortunately and unfortunately.
I like sleep. Friday night Lisa and my tent was attacked by raccoons all night. I am not a fan of the gross parts of nature (remember my opossum debacle?). Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of sleep for anyone. On Saturday, Jay, Kyle, and I headed out to pick up all of our packets and get everything set up in our transition areas. Kyle, being the OCD caveman he is, took his sweet time…but other than that, it was uneventful. I was panicking a lot. Pretending I was calm. PSA: If I tell you I’m calm, there is a 99% chance I am lying—I have never been calm a day in my life. While Glaspy’s went to the beach for Skylynn’s birthday (I didn’t want to be in the sun), I got to spend some time with Lunsfords and Lisa under the pop-ups and relaxing. It was perfect.
Saturday night? I slept three hours. I was tossing and turning, freaking out about getting a flat tire, going through every scenario in my head of what could go wrong. It was a long night. At 4:30, I finally got up and ate with Kyle and Jay. We made our way to the bathrooms for our special bonding time of nervous shitting within earshot of one another, and picked up a dude from Holland, Lars, and headed off to the beach.
Seeing everyone there was incredible. And overwhelming. We say Carey Pemberton and I gave her a big hug. It was exactly what I needed. No matter how long and how hard I looked, I could not find Carrie anywhere and I freaked out for a while wondering if she even got in the water. I made some new friends, Kate and BK, who were super positive and kept me grounded. I saw Eric right before entering the water—it was amazing to see a familiar face, and I knew I had it.
The swim was fine. Super congested, super chaotic. I was kicked and scratched and swam over more times than I remember. Due to constantly trying to dodge people, I swam about 300 yards over the distance and finished in 52 minutes. I saw Cortney (I know others were there—but she was the one I remembered) and knew I still had the support team there. The bike transition was eat, put on socks and shoes, helmet, sunscreen, and go. I saw my parents and brothers right before my first turn onto 23. I was so excited. They made signs and were cheering for me. I was on cloud 9. Until I wasn’t.
I saw all the cars slam on the brakes and bikes dropping to the ground. I heard someone scream, “Biker down!” and another start yelling for someone CPR certified. I jumped off the bike and said I was. What I saw I will never forget or unsee for the rest of my life. Ever. I stood over a woman who had been hit by a semi. I looked down and knew there was nothing I could do. It’s nothing like I can describe. And I won’t. Another woman ran up behind me and stated that she was a doctor. I backed away and went to my bike. All of my nutrition and water bottles were strewn across the road as I had thrown my bike down when I jumped off. I got back on my seat and rode on like I was in a dream. More like a nightmare. Kristen, we will never truly know what happened on that day. What was going on. But my heart breaks for you and your family. Ironman is supposed to be a wonderful day. I am so sorry and will always be thinking of everyone involved.
The bike is a blur. I sobbed for a long time. I saw my family a ton of times (they did a lot of driving and I will never be able to thank them enough for their support). Kyle came up behind me around mile 14 or 15 and yelled, “Sexy Lexi!” and that also boosted my spirit. I saw my new friends, Kate and BK, along the course as well and had little conversations with them. Miles 20-56 were constant headwind. Painful headwind. Thanks, Joe. Then it was intense hills from miles 46-56. When I finally got done with the bike, I knew I was in trouble for the run. My heart rate was through the roof the entire bike and I didn’t know how I was supposed to keep going. Out I went.
Again, I saw family and friends and saw smiles along the run. It was insanely hot. I was splashed with water and had ice thrown down my shirt almost every aid station. I chugged as much as I could without throwing up and kept moving on. I saw Kyle again. He was on lap two when I was on lap one. He looked incredible. His positivity gave me life for a little bit. Once I started lap two, I saw my family again. I remember my dad yelling, “You look great!” and me yelling back, “I feel like shit!” Just being honest! I walked a lot during miles 8-11, but I knew I was going to finish. At one point I realized I never had to do this again and got excited.
The finish line was perfect. The good thing about finishing last? Everyone was there to cheer for you. Haha. We had a sea of JG3 people in the stands, Amanda and her kids right outside the stadium, my uncles, aunt, cousins, and grama right outside the stadium, and my parents and brothers at the finish line. It was so loud. Incredible. I get emotional thinking about it. As soon as I finished, people were throwing a medal, a hat, and water in my hands and I made my way to the timing chip tent to sit in the shade and cry. The emotions. Wow. I got up and gave my family huge hugs and got to share the experience with my gym family. My heart was so full and so broken at the same time.
To everyone who came to camp, to watch, tracked me on the app, and supported me along the way – I will never be able to thank you enough. I won’t. EVERY SINGLE JG3 MEMBER was with us. You did this with us. My family? They saw my struggle. They saw the work I put in. They supported me and pushed me when I didn’t want to keep going. They drove miles and miles to make sure I felt supported the whole race. Like damn.
To the team. John was with me during a ton of pool swims and was so supportive. I cannot wait for your turn. Jason was the first person I swam in the lake with for open water and would check in to make sure training was going well. Next year? Absolutely your year. Kyle. Kyle, we ran in a blizzard together. Haha. But you were always so positive throughout the process. It was what we needed. Carrie, our swims and bike and runs together always had great conversation and always made me feel like I could do anything. And Jay. I already told you a lot of what I wanted to say. Thank you for making a program that worked best for me and always reminding me that I’m a badass.
A lot of people have asked me if I would ever do this again. My answer? Absolutely not. Seeing what I saw and the mental and physical pain that occurred over the last seven months…nope. I was honored to do this for Joe and know that the title of IronWoman will never be taken away. It was, as I said, an incredible and horrible experience. I think I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s been a rough few days since I’ve been home both physically and mentally. However, I’m super excited to get back to my home and workout with my favorite people.
Ironman 70.3 was one of the most emotional weekends of my
entire life. So many highs and
If you know anything about JG3 Fitness or myself, you know
we do things big and we do them as a group.
It’s just how I feel moments are meant to be spent. Friday started off with my family pulling a
camper down to Delaware State Park with Cortney, Kyle and Lex following. We got down and set up the camp site to be
joined later in the day by the Lunsford’s, Aaron and Christina Rodriguez and
Lisa Kramer. My brother and sister and
law’s and their families were down in a different area of the campground
too. The day’s mission was just to eat
and relax. We went to the beach and just
got as prepared as possible. That night we were chilling around the fire
eating, when raccoons galore showed up.
We had been warned about this but didn’t realize how quickly they would
show up so we learned to put our food away a lot sooner in the night.
Saturday was my daughter’s eighth birthday and the plan was
to get our athlete stuff out of the way so we could enjoy the night. This is the first time I let creep into my
brain how big of an event this was. The
bike racks, the expo, the rules, it was all overwhelming at first. We wrapped up with everything and had a huge
BBQ for my daughter’s birthday. The coolest
part of doing an event like this, a lot of the same people were invested in
enjoying my daughter’s birthday. So we
ate a ton of food, relaxed and enjoyed the little moments. Then we crashed really early. Side note: Jason Dunfee had showed up and
asked to sleep in our camper.
3:30 AM, some dipshit’s (yes Jason, I’m fucking talking to
you) alarm went off and it was time to get up I guess. We ate our prepared oatmeal bowls from CR
Juices and chit chatted. Walked to the
shower area to get the first of many “nervous shits” out of our system. Kyle made a friend that he offered to take to
the Ironman course with us and we patiently waited to get going. All trying to maintain our composure as the
day was here.
We showed up at the swim at roughly 5:30 and headed straight
to “Athlete Marking” to get our numbers drawn on us. I made a joke to the guy doing mine that he
was going to have to write them over tattoos and he laughed and said good
call. Then I heard someone yell “Jay” it
was Carey Pemberton. The first emotional
high of the day. We all hugged her and
chatted with her, handed her our bags.
Took “nervous shit” number two and then we headed over to a quieter area
to chill before the race. At this point I
realized I forgot my chapstick sunscreen and that Carrie Mayle still wasn’t there. I did happen to see Mary Mayle so Carrie was
there I just wasn’t going to see her before the event. It was time for emotional moment number
I hugged Kyle and Lex and told them to trust their training and
they fucking got this (along with some personal shit that is for their ears
only). Then I fucking stressed that I couldn’t
find Carrie. I had to go to the starting
line as I was going to be in the second group of people to go. So that went to an emotional low as I really
value myself as a coach, not just an athlete but it was out of my control.
An odd calmness came over me as I stepped up and wiped off
my goggles, this was going to be a good day I just knew it. Joe was with me and he would make it so. Then I entered the water…. And got kicked
right in the fucking Adam’s apple and swallowed what felt like a gallon of
bacteria infested water. I battled not
puking and immediately got hit with reality.
2600 people wanted to finish Ironman and they didn’t care if they ran
you over to do it. I should’ve seeded
myself faster, swam out ahead of people and just got out of the way. You live and learn. I veered off to the side of the course and
stayed clear from all but two people.
The guy who kicked me… I pulled his ass under me out of
frustration. Another guy who ran into me
and several women, I ran over him. Other
than that the swim was non eventful.
Exiting the water and seeing your loved ones is something
that I’m unable to put into words. I thought
I was so happy and had to have looked it, they said I looked angry. I guess I hadn’t recovered from getting
kicked. It was transition time which
meant eat, put socks and shoes on and apply sunscreen before moving to the
approved bike area. Then it was bike
Holy fuck, I am not good on a bike. Because of my swimming ability, I was able to
be out with a lot of the pros for the first part of the bike. They made me feel very inadequate and I had
to just ride my own race, I didn’t. Try
not to keep up, I did. And don’t do
anything stupid, I did again. I went out
the first hour in the fastest pace I have ever done by over a mile. I needed to pull my shit together or I was in
for a long day. That’s when I hit
emotional low, I forgot my salt tablets and started cramping… at mile 30 of the
bike. Fuck this was going to be a long
In saying that, I kept fighting and kept trying to stay in
the game. I kept asking Joe for signs
and he would hit me with a head wind that made me want to cry… he didn’t want
it to be easy. I just had to keep
moving. I was going to get it done, but
it would be a battle and slow because quitting wasn’t an option.
Emotional high number three came at the bike to run
transition when I saw my family again, this time my kids were there. I was done with the bike and dealing with
cramps but seeing my loved ones gave me a boost I couldn’t believe. Racked the bike and put shoes one, applied
sunscreen and 13.1 more miles to go.
Starting the run I forced myself to smile for all my friends
and family. I pointed to my kids, I smiled
at my wife and whoever was standing with her (I apologize as I don’t remember
which groups were where). I know I saw
the Lunsford’s, England’s and Carey Pemberton at some point too. Christina and Aaron. So many people were there for us. I had to keep moving and look happy, even if
Jason was telling them that my pace was off compared to training.
As soon as I could no longer see my family… I walked. I was in hell. Thinking about quitting and something being
easy are two different things. There was
no fucking way I was quitting, there was no way I was going fast either
though. Mile 1, I hit red bull (caffeine
for headache) and ice station to cool off.
Not a lot to talk about until mile 7 other than a lot of reminding myself
to stay in the fight.
Mile 7 I hear, “There’s that sexy ass I’ve been looking for
all day!” and a bunch of women saying what?
I knew the voice, he was talking to me.
Kyle came up and looked insanely good.
He picked me up and we ran together for a mile. It was very clear he was in good shape while I
needed to pace, he told me that the Carrie and Lex were out of the water and on
the bike. Which was a huge emotional
high. Then he told me about an accident
that unfortunately ended in a death on the course. He told me to finish with him. I told him I needed ice and let him go.
Mile (fuck I don’t know somewhere around 11-12) I get
squirted with a water bottle from none other than Mighty Mouse (Carrie
Mayle). She asked how I was doing, I mumbled
something about clearly being in good shape as everyone keeps catching me. She laughed and asked if we would finish
together, I said you are going to have to walk a bit, I have maybe the last
mile in me. Then she walked with
me. Carrie doesn’t like to walk, she
said walking means it doesn’t count… yet she walked with me because we were
finishing together. After hitting the
last aid station, we ran.
Emotional rollercoaster alert. We are about to enter the stadium to finish
and Amanda and her girls were right at the entrance, big high fives and so happy
to see. We enter the stadium and it
sounded like the loudest thing I have ever heard. Carrie and I both said no sprinting so we
casually ran. Then you saw the sea and I
mean sea of JG3 in the stands. They were
going nuts. Just get to the finish
before you lose it. We cross the finish
line and I look up (as does Carrie) and just said, “I love you Joe and I miss
you buddy this was all for you!” I hug
Carrie and tell her I’m proud and then I make a straight path to my wife and
I kiss my wife, my son and my daughter. Then I move on to Carey Pemberton and I did
what I’ve dreamt of doing for over five months, I hung the medal on her and
gave her a big hug. Then I don’t really
know the order of people I went but I just soaked up the moment. Then asked who was tracking Lex, to which
everyone was. And we got ready to go ape
shit when Lex crossed. Which she did not
long after. Which was amazing and I’m so
Debbie, you are my rock and I love you more than I can ever
show. Thanks for supporting me and being
there the entire weekend. This was as
much you as it was me!
Trenton and Skylynn, Daddy loves you so much and hopes you chase your dreams.
Joe Pemberton: This was for you. I miss you everyday bro. I love you.
Carey, Alayna and Taylor Pemberton, you are family. I love you all. This started for your husband/father but I
hope you know it will continue for you.
Kyle Tester: You are a different “Bread” I am so proud of
you brother. You are an Ironman. The rest I shared privately.
Lex Gedeon: You are far more mentally tough than you ever
let on. You are a boss and an
IronWOMAN. The rest I shared privately.
Carrie Mayle: You are
a pain in my ass, but you are still one of my favorite people in the
world. It was an honor crossing the
finish line with you. You are an
IronWOMAN. The rest I shared privately.
Christina and Aaron Rodriguez. Holy shit did you guys do a lot to prep us
for this. Lemony-lytes, oatmeal bowls
and so much more. Thank you for
everything you did and always do for me.
Lisa Kramer. You
helped more than anyone will ever realize.
Jason Dunfee. Thanks
for waking us up at 3:30 dick.
HAHAHA. Thanks for always knowing
every little detail of our training so you could communicate what was going on.
Thanks for dealing with our asses all weekend. You are a special individual and it’s been a
pleasure getting to know you.
Thanks for camping and being there for everyone and especially thanks for
The England’s. I know
you don’t miss church often. Thanks for
the encouraging words and being there because you knew it was important. You guys are awesome.
The Johnson’s. It was
awesome knowing you were going to be there.
It was even better when I was done and getting to thank you in person.
Amanda. Thanks for coming
down and seeing us cross into the stadium.
Magic Mike (Eric Torres): Thanks for being there and the
To anyone and everyone else that sent me text messages of
support: I thank you. I don’t want to
risk missing someone because there were so many. Thank you all.
Finally, to all the people who talked shit, said it was impossible, said we didn’t prepare right, said I wasn’t a smart coach, said anything negative or copied my actions for personal gain…. Thanks, your words were needed too.
I’m sure next week I will talk about the race week jitters and all the preparations for the actual event, this week is about relaxation.
When you spend seven to eight months preparing for an event, you sometimes get lost in the goal. I constantly caught myself thinking about the end result and being pulled back to enjoy the journey itself. Ultimately the journey is usually what you remember more than the accomplishment. If you don’t enjoy the journey, you won’t enjoy the result.
After finishing the trial run of 70.3, I just tried to enjoy life for the past week (it’ll end up being two by event time). Yes, I still worked out and got what I needed to for the taper. More importantly, I slept/rehydrated and spent a lot of time with my family. That is much needed when it comes to dealing with the stress of the actual event being here. So this week’s message, always lean on your loved ones and spend time with them when stressed… it helps.