|Eagleman, June 2009. Almost the last time I saw AK.|
AK is The Original Iron Woman, at least to me. When I first met her back in 2006? 2007?, she was already racing IM, already blithely placing overall female age-grouper at IM, and already throwing down (multiple times) at Kona.
In fact, and this is a bit of bragging, early on I didn't really understand how hard it was to qualify for Kona because even after she joined my training group (bringing it up to a whopping 3 total members), when a member of my training group raced IM, they qualified for Kona. Easy peasy japanesy.
In 2008 I was preparing for the New York Marathon and nervous. Her response: "what's the big deal? It's a marathon. You just run it." And honestly, as the third discipline in IM, later I would find this statement to be entirely true. But the way she said it, the nonchalant quality of "you just get through it" along with the blatant disregard for a marathon's own epic-ness because it was only 26.2 miles and not 140.6, was an formative moment in my own path to IM. I was in awe.
At the beginning, AK was who I was trying to emulate in triathlon. And that's not a bad thing because here's the truth about AK: she is a gorgeous, out-going, whip-smart, pocket rocket of epic proportions. Now that I know what this means: she must have a ridiculous VO2max, helped along by growing up at altitude.
And here's the truth about both of us: we suck at keeping in touch. So the tour bus stopped in Boulder. Now we are both grad students who don't race triathlon, and the first running of IM Boulder happens on Sunday. To wish we were in it? Or to sit back and say with an air of nonchalance: "it's an IM. You just complete it"?