Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running with Desiree Ficker

So, um, yeah. I went running with Desiree Ficker this morning. Well I was virtually running with Desiree. Desiree lives and trains in Austin, when she's not kicking a$$ at Kona. And see, I am in Austin too. For training, which translated means, "for meetings punctuated by training runs on Town Lake."

So I left my hotel early this morning before it was light and jogged to the nearest Starbucks on the corner of 15th and some uknown river name street here in the Cap City for some chemical inspiration to get in a key run session. In my ears I hear Simply Stu talking with Desiree about her Kona breakthrough.

Hey, this is Desiree's town. She could walk in at any moment. Right?

Well, she didn't walk in, but nevertheless her voice stayed in my ears through the Grande Drip and out onto the warmup portion of the run. How refreshing and wonderful she is, seemingly surprised that people were cheering for her and excited by her progress and accomplishments, an attitude so different from the average NBA or MLB player who acts as if we owe them our adulation and genuflection. Desiree told a tale of having the husbands and boyfriends of her competitors cheering for her at Kona. Man! Lisa Bentley's significant other giving Desiree time gaps back to Lise in the biggest race of the season??!!
I guess I should not be surprised, because in my experience, limited though it may be triathlon is not really about destroying your opponent. It's more about "striving with" your fellow racers against a common enemy--whether its the clock, the course, father time, your own fear of the water or your own perceived limitations, fear, failures and demons.
Desiree and Stu finished up about when it was time to work--about 6 miles of fartlek in the middle of a ten mile run. I was running on Town Lake, a course I'm sure Desiree has run many times. Although I did not see Desiree this morning, I saw the same wide range of folks she must see when she's out there "striving with" us.
I saw fetching pony tails attached to college coeds.
I saw biceps and beer bellies attached to UT frat boys.
I saw buzz cuts without beer bellies attached to freakin' fast Austin Firemen.
I saw a sweat band and grey locks attached to an amazing lady masters runner.
I saw birkenstocks and leashes attached to earth mothers walking their dogs.
I saw strollers attached to soccer moms walking their infant future soccer stars.
All of us were out there striving with each other and enjoying a perfect morning. The cool thing about our sport is that if I had seen Desiree at the water fountain, I would have felt perfectly comfortable giving her a high five and introducing myself, and she would have been just another runner out there on the same path.
We are all, after all, on the same path. We may have different starting lines, different goals, different limitations, different obstacles, but at the end of the day, the differences are not nearly so significant as our commonalities.
We're all in this together.


Flatman said...

Were you there yesterday too? If so, you should have run here:

Have fun in the weird city!

Shelley said...

wow, that was an awesome post..and so true..thanks for sharing. I love Desiree..maybe i'll get to see her when I go to Austin in Oct.

triboomer said...

Be on the lookout for Jamie Clevland and Andrea Fisher they could be running on the banks of Towne Lake too.

Have a good conference.

Stay tuned...

M said...

I think the down to earth attitude of most triathletes--pro or AG's-- is the coolest part of the sport. Lisa Bently grabbed a plate of pasta and climbed up into the stands right in front of me after winning at Racine last summer--just chatting away.

A little off topic--Anybody know what Desiree is carrying in the photo? They don't look like gel flasks do they?

Veeg said...

LOVE this post. You are so awesome. :)

desfan said...

Desiree is carrying a tube of nuun -- portable eleoctrlyte hydration tablets. They are incredubly rereshing and no sugar. one of her cool sponsors.

Spokane Al said...

Great post. I agree - we truly are all in this together.

Bolder said...


the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I can't stop looking at her. Skinny little thing with big arms. Dang - she looks really good!*

*this does not make me gay.

IM Able said...

Thanks for the post -- certainly reminded me of why I love this sport. You're right -- it's not about beating the other people (at least not for most of us!). More about beating our own preconceived ideas about our own ability -- whatever that is.

Anyway, thank Grey -- hope the neck's healing!


LoneStarCrank said...

Well said Greyhound... and for the record, I have witnessed Desiree on the trail in Austin and she is as humble as she is talented.

In the end, we all travel the same distance... for some the journey just gets savored more!