Race 36 – Lake Guntersville by Amanda Foland

This week you have the privelage for reading a post by my friend Amanda Foland.  Amanda, and her husband Scott, were both there this weekend racing the Lake Guntersville Olympic triathlon.  I asked her if she would write this week’s post about her experience at the race.  Thank you Amanda.  All, enjoy!

What a privilege it is to write this weekend’s blog! I must first start off saying; if you have not donated to Team Chad, please considerate donating, and if you have- I ask that if you can; give more. I can assure you that David is not paying me to say this, or write this, all of this comes from the heart. My name is Amanda Foland and I am a fellow racer and friend of David’s. He has asked for me to write this week’s blog, to give all a fresh look at what goes into a race. 

This week’s race was held in the State Park, at Lake Guntersville Alabama, if you haven’t been there I highly recommend it, the sites are breathtaking. Saturday May 3rd, at 4:50am the alarm goes off, before my eyes open, I go through a check list of what needs to be done before the 8 am start; shower, prep, food and then off to the site. 

The drive into the park was just beautiful, green trees, sun rising up over the hills and the fog rolling off of the water, this is a site waking up for. You look around and are in awe of God’s creation. Pulling up to the race area you are greeted by the friendly volunteers and racers. That is one of many things that my husband and I enjoy about triathlons is that the community is outstanding and encouraging. After unloading the car, your next destination is to transition, setting up your gear is key, you do not have time to scurry through a big pile of supplies. As I set my gear up, I am visualizing coming in and out of transition- swim to bike and then bike to run, even though it may seem like a easy thing- put shoes on, helmet on, race belt on…it can actually be mind boggling after getting out of the water, or off of the bike. 

Now the fun begins, you are greeted by friends, and fellow racers. Seeing David at these races, always makes my husband and I smile, because we know what he goes though week in and week out- I will touch on that at the end of this blog, but when you see people you know, there is a sense of peace because you know they will be facing the same obstacles as yourself. After a short visit, it’s time to get warmed up, I always have a plan- run for 15 minutes to get the blood flowing, joints moving and heart pumping. This is my time to clear my mind, and it is my time to pray for the race, racers, volunteers and safety of the race-it is my quite time. Next I get my wetsuit on and warm up in the water, I like to warm up in the water to help calm my nerves, and to get my breathing on track. 

Out of the water and it’s time to line up for a wave start, today we are going off in age groups- starting in the water. I must add, I had to convince David that his wave was already in the water and he better get a move on, he finally believed me and all you see is a 6’7” man running then jumping into the water where the rest of the wave was waiting to go off. If you know him, you know this is nothing short of who he is. Siren buzzes, and they are off. We were competing in an Olympic distance triathlon, our swim was a two lap course, 750m two times around. The water was great, not too cold or choppy, just enough to make you remember you’re in open water. 

Two laps done and then off into transition where everything was where it should be. Out of transition and onto the bike, coming out of the park there were a few hills, but nothing that made me feel like it was going to be a hard course. The ride was an out and back course along the lake and country side, filled with more views that I recommend you traveling to see. I felt strong on the bike averaging 18mph and ready to run. I will add, my husband and I previewed the course a few weeks before the race so we knew what we were getting into…the run was 6.21 miles, and half of it was on gravel trails with hills. So my mind was already preparing for the best of the best, just convincing myself that I could take on these hills with no problem. 

Coming out of transition into the run my legs felt great, that does not happen all of the time, but today it was the case. Four hills into the run (1 mile) they were still going strong. At this point I finally see my husband, who is running in at a great 6’50”min/mile pace, and all I could say was “I couldn’t wait to see you!” He tells me “you only have to run the big hill once” I think- “ha ok, let’s do this.” Still going strong I take on those gravel hills and make my way back. Pushing along, encouraging other racers and again taking in all the views. Getting closer to the finish line, all I can think about is how great I felt during this entire race, and just praise God for His hand of mercy and safely.  I finished, placing 3rd in my age group and setting a PR. I was done, and ready to head home. 

Here is the most important part of this article, I was done. My next race isn’t until June 28th, I was able to go home and catch up on all the things that piled up during the week, and after that I am able to relax with my family. I would like you all to know, for David that isn’t the case, he was headed to another race, six hours away. I love to race, but racing two times in one weekend, for 52 weeks- I would dream of the day where I wasn’t racing anymore. You can tell how much Team Chad means to both David and Maggie. He wouldn’t be putting himself through all of this if he wasn’t passionate about it. Maggie, is so supportive and a true encourager because without her, David would not be able to do this. The time away from family is tough, not to mention the travel and expenses it takes to race. I woke up Sunday, and thought “hmm I am glad I am not racing today”, I will do a light run but not a full out race. Please keep in mind, that without your support Team Chad wouldn’t be funded, so thank you for donating and again if you have been thinking about it, please listen to your heart and give.

Thanks again Amanda for the post.  This race added 32 more miles to the tally.  We now have raced a total of 784.1 miles.  

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