Last weekend I was in Louisville, Kentucky to help out with the LifeSport Ironman preparation camp. It was a fantastic few days of casing out the course, meeting other athletes, and getting in some good quality training of my own. After three days of previewing the course by car; swimming, biking, and running over nearly every square inch of it, the only thing that remained somewhat of a mystery was how to correctly pronounce the town’s name : )
The other athletes who attended the camp were phenomenal. People from many different backgrounds, levels of experience, and with different goals were there. From first timer to Kona qualifier, each brought something special to the camp. Without going all NBC Special on you, I was totally inspired by the level of commitment that each of them displayed–not only throughout the weekend, but also in their journey to the starting line next month. There was the business owner who told us he gets up at 3 AM some days to get his workouts in–ouch! The mom of 3 kids who flew all the way to IM Austria, got too sick to race, but didn’t give up on racing an Ironman this year. And many others who, despite slavish work schedules or family obligations, are still finding a way to compete. To me, this is the biggest part of what Ironman is all about! To all of you, good luck in your continued preparation–see you at the finish!
Besides being there to help out with the camp, I also had my own little agenda. I came into the weekend a little unsure about whether or not I would be racing in Kentucky. Although it was on the plan Paul and I had etched out earlier in the year, a welcomed, but not totally expected, Kona slot at France left me with the option of substituting some shorter races into my Hawaii build up, instead. In some ways, this seemed like the “safer” option, since 6 weeks between Ironman races can be tough–much too long a gap to focus just on recovery between the races, but much too short of a time frame to do a complete recovery and rebuild.
On the other hand, I had been DYING to do this race ever since it was announced. Although I’ve become quite accustomed to the San Diego lifestyle, I spent the better part of my childhood growing up in Kentucky–chasing horses, attending tractor pulls, the whole bit. And, while the Southern twang I used to have has been almost entirely neutralized (it does tend to crop up after a few drinks. . .i.e., not that often these days), I am still very much a Kentucky girl at heart. Although Louisville is several hours away from the tiny town where I grew up, for now, this is the closest I’ll get to a hometown race.
By the end of the weekend, I had totally forgotten that whether or not I’d be racing was even a question. Although there were other factors involved in the decision, (you can’t get totally caught up in the emotional side of things, as Coach P chose to remind me. . .I’m a girl, Paul, what do you expect; ) ultimately, it just feels right.
By the way, while I don’t think there is an “officially correct” pronunciation, here my observations:
“Lou-IS-ville“: You are NOT from around here, nor have you ever visited. In fact, you probably don’t know anyone that has ever visited. Technically still correct, but it ain’t going to earn you extra helpings. . .(not that you’ll need them in these parts. Just ask Paul & Mark about their $6 carrot cake)
“Loo-ey-ville”: Nice try. Definitely better than the previous one, but you’re still not from around here. Could be from Canada, or something.
“Luh-vull”: Good chance you were born within 100 miles of here. Absolutely no more than 1 degree of separation between you and someone who drives a big truck with mud flaps and a gun rack.
Gotta get on my bike. See y’all in Kentucky!