By Coach Mandy
Fleet Feet Triathlon started off with great tragedy this year. After the loss of Coach Brendan Jackson two days before the start of the program, it was hard to imagine how we were going to train without him. Brendan had been coaching the program for seven years and it ran like a well-oiled machine with the help of dozens of volunteer coaches. He was a master at leading an enormous and diverse group of athletes, from the first-time Iron Girl or Gillie Girl, all the way up to the Ironman distance. Moving forward without him was going to be a challenge. Thankfully our Fleet Feet Sports TRIbe was up for the challenge.
The season started out slow as we all walked through the familiar motions of training. Swim workouts at the Le Moyne pool (Brendan's alma mater) and weekend brick workouts around CNY. As a team, we rode the Tour de Phoenix on beautiful country roads, kept our eyes peeled for ghosts on 13 curves, and pushed up hill repeats on the Gillie Girl course. Many of these rides were rainy and wet, conditions that only added to the challenge of training. Brendan was always there, in our heads along the way, reminding us, "this is not a hill" and to "suck it up."
In July we moved to Jamesville Beach for open water swim and mini-tri practice. All the skills we worked on in the pool were put to the test. Our triathletes practiced sighting, mass swim starts and transitions. Little by little momentum started to build. Each practice brought us closer together as a team. We laughed, cried and shared advice about how to prep for our upcoming races.
This season the Fleet Feet Sports team had athletes racing Syracuse 70.3, Tupper Lake Tinman, Delta Lake sprint and Olympic distances, Gillie Girl, Iron Girl, Ironman and others. Our athletes took home multiple age group awards, new PRs and plenty of fancy medals. We brought our cheer game to each and every finish line and watched with great pride as out teammates crushed their goals. It was a summer of first-timers too, as runners tested the triathlon waters in all distances. In Lake Placid at the end of July, 14 Fleet Feet athletes took on the 140.6 mile-Ironman challenge. Brendan has been coaching most of them since the start of the Fleet Feet triathlon program and we know he was proudly watching them that whole day. This weekend we get to do it all over again at the Iron Girl triathlon!
The TRIbe has become a family over the last few months and it's been my sincere pleasure to be a part of it. Thank you Fleet Feet athletes for facing great challenge with focus, poise and determination.
Don't screw up.