From left to right, Team FIT: Natalie Herring, Jimmy Herring, Me, John Price, Aimee Price, Laura Tiller, Jeremy Tiller, Megan Miller, and Matt Herring.
Many people this year have asked me why I chose IM Louisville to do when there are so many other courses. It is because of Team FIT that I signed up for it.
This is the original group that I trained with for my first Ironman. We call ourselves Team FIT, aka. Friends in Training. The first year I trained for IMAZ, this was my main support group, especially on the bike. Without fail, almost every single Sunday from May through Novemember of that year we met and biked. But we were all doing different races. Natalie, Jeremy, and Laura signed up for Wisconsin, which is in September. So after their race they stopped training. Aimee and Matt did Florida, so although in November, it was still 2 weeks before mine. John and Jim where supporters in the ride only, neither did an IM. The result was that although we all trained together, we didn't all race together. So, after a year off, we decided that we all wanted to race one together. IM Louisville was picked by majority rule, mainly because of the location (closest to Columbus) and it was a time of year that worked for everyone. So my training times and plan have changed a bit this year and sadly, I haven't ridden with this group nearly as much as I would have liked. But, Natalie, Jeremy, Laura, Megan and I are in the same swim class, so I still get to see them, when I remember to show up for class! At this point in time all of us are doing the race except Natalie and John. John is a cyclist only, so he never signed up - he will be out there on the course supporting us as a spectator. Natalie, unfortunately had a bad bike accident a few weeks back. Her shoulder is on the mend, but not in raceable condition right now. So, much to everyone's disappointment, she will also be supporting us as a spectator on the course. However, I hear rumor she is already planning another for next year...
Team FIT (bib#'s for IMKY included): On the left is Megan (bib# 91), Laura (bib# 80) and Natalie, Meg and Matt (bib#860) in the middle, and Laura and Jeremy (bib#816) after IM Wisconsin! No extra pic of Jimmy, but his bib# is 2335.
So, this year my training support group has grown bigger. After I signed up, I helped to convince a few more along the way and through them, I also met others from some of the different training groups that are also competing for the same race. At this point in time, including Team FIT, I now have 19 friends doing this race with me. Most I have met through 3 main training groups that I either participate in, or have many friends that participate in them.
1) COTT: This is more of a loosely based triathlon training clubs. There are no coaches or plans that are set up for you as a member, but they do coordinate different group workouts, socials, and volunteer support for various events. I joined this group last summer and so glad I did, it introduced me to some terrific people and many new friends!
2) MIT: aka Marathoners in Training: This is primarily a running group although they are delving into the tri realm this year. I have been a member of this group since 2006. I have also been a coach for a few years, although I am not coaching right now.
3) Just Tri: A coached tri group. Although I am not an active member of this group, I know alot of the members and occasionally crash their group workouts!
So, in no particluar order, I am going to introduce the rest of my friends, their impact on me, how I met them, and their bib #'s for IMKY:
Christy Feamster #341 (JustTri): Christy is one of those people I felt I have always known, although I know I just met her in the past year. The first time I met her was at an info session for Just Tri last year. Although I didn't end up joining Just Tri, I am glad I went because we became FB friends shortly after that. Since that time we have cheered together during races and done some races together. Christy has one of the best attitudes of anyone I know and I wish her the best at her first IM attempt this year.
Aaron Fridenmaker #1425 (COTT, Just Tri): I met Aaron and his wife, Tani last year after I joined COTT. It was on the first group ride that I attended. I was newly single and very excited to go out with a new group. I was actually thinking maybe I would meet some hot tri guys! When I showed up, it was all girls, except Aaron and Philip. Both are happily married (to Tani and Amy resepectively), as I found out later! However, the ride was so much fun and it introduced me to a very good group of people who I now consider some of my closest friends. Aaron did his first IM distance at Rev3 Cedar Point last year. About a week after, I asked if he was ready and would sign up for another? I strongly suggested he should do IM Louisville. He took his time deciding, but eventually caved! Glad he will be going down and I know he will do some serious damage on the course. But I am even more excited that Tani and Kati will be there as well! Tani is hands down one of the best sherpa's/spectator/cheerleader, ever!
David Bush # 1128 (Just Tri, MIT): I haven't known David very long, but him and his wife Sherry seem to be really great people. The first time I remember actually meeting them was at a trampoline workout last year at a place called Skyzone. We had an absolute blast and I have enjoyed seeing David and his wife at various races and events since then. It will be fun to see another friendly face out on the course! Rumor has it, IMKY this year is his second and he is out to set a PR on this course...
Federico Menendez #1211 (COTT, MIT): The first time I met Fede was on a century ride with COTT this year. It was his first ever and my second of the year. It was a very slow paced ride, so we got to chat, alot. We also stopped for a very leisurely lunch at some BBQ place in Howard, Ohio. As we found out later, BBQ pork or chicken isn't a good choice of food to eat when you are doing a century ride! Since that time, Fede has become a very good cycling buddy, we have put a lot of miles on the bike together. I wish Fede the best during his first IM this year!
Jen Brown ?# (former COTT): I just recently met Jennifer at a ride down in southern Ohio. Fede and I had our COTT jerseys on and Jen just happened to hear us talking about a COTT ride. She promptly introduced herself and we have been FB friends since. I just want Jen to know she will not DNF this year, I have confidence you will make it to the end!
Julie Zedakar #170 (COTT and MIT): Julie and I were actually FB and email friends prior to actually meeting. The first time we met was at Muncie 70.3, and we got to wave at each other several times along the course. I am hoping we will get to do that again in IMKY this year! Go Julie!!
Aimee Price #262 (MIT and FIT): Aimee and I met years ago during MIT. We don't run the same pace at all, but we always used to go out to breakfast together after alot of our long runs. Through the years she has become a great friend and also a good bike buddy, when I get the chance to ride with her. I am so excited that we are doing the same race together this year and can't wait to see her at the finish line!!
Tommy Costantiello #2032 (Just Tri): Of everyone on this list, I have actually known Tommy the longest. His sister was a year ahead of me in highschool, we also all worked at Big Bear together. Some time passed, went away to college and didn't see him for awhile. After I returned from BGSU, I signed up for a flag-football league and was randomly placed on Tommy's team! We had a blast and played together for several years, and our team was awesome! Of course all good things often come to and end, as we got older our team kind of fell apart. Flash forward to last year. The same Just Tri meeting that I met Christy, Tommy was there! Since then we have spectated, cycled and raced together. I wish Tommy the best and I know he will love it when he crosses that finish line!
Rocco Maiolo #1860 and Susan Liston #275 (COTT and MIT): We met through MIT. I am not even sure how many years it has been, but Susan is another breakfast buddy. I have really gotten to know them this past year with some crazy COTT rides and have enjoyed every minute of it. They really struggled about the decision of which race they should do and I am so glad they chose IMKY. I know both of them are very strong athletes, and if they trust in themselves and the training that they have done, will have awesome races. It helps to know there are good friends out on the course and everytime I see them pass me, I will send as many strong vibes as I can and hope they do the same for me!