As you may have read in many of our September communications, D3 athlete Greg Lindquist won Ironman Lake Tahoe! As a coaching company, we could not be more proud of him notes Greg's Coach and the Head Coach of D3 Multisport, Mike Ricci. That win did not come without sacrifice or challenge, and that’s the true take away from his story. The journey Greg took to accomplish his goal (qualify for Kona) was filled with a dedication that persisted throughout his training and racing. It’s important that other athletes remember that with a vision and a plan, goals are achievable, but sometimes you have to be patient and allow the process to unfold. It’s with great pleasure that we honor Greg as the D3 Athlete of the Month!
We know you will appreciate his story about the journey Ironman Lake Tahoe!
My 2015 season ended on a great note at Ironman Lake Tahoe, but it took a few bumps to get there. Being my third season with Coach Mike (my first and only triathlon coach) we had set out some lofty goals, with the biggest goal being to qualify for Kona at Ironman Boulder in my third-ever Ironman!
The lead-up to Ironman Boulder was great. Since I had a lot of room for improvement from 2014, Mike and I focused on really just being consistent with volume from week to week and we did not try to force any big changes. Thanks to that approach, 2015 started with strong results at Ironman Oceanside 70.3 in March and Ironman Boulder 70.3 in June. Sandwiched between those two was a somewhat disappointing day in the heat at Ironman St. George 70.3 in May, but as August approached we were confident Ironman Boulder was going to be a great race and that Kona was within reach.
Unfortunately, Ironman Boulder turned out to be anything but great. At mile 90 of the bike course, while I was changing my third flat tire, the confidence that had supported me through the season was replaced with unshakable doubt. Doubt that I would even finish the bike course, much less achieve my goal of qualifying for Kona. I just couldn’t shake the thought, “Who qualifies for Kona with three flats?” While I physically made it to T2, mentally I was still out on the bike course thinking about the flats. So I ran hard and I ran angry. Maybe that works in a 5K, but not in a marathon. My day ended at Mile 19, my head spinning, and my first and hopefully last “DNF” of my career.
There was no way I could end the season the way I ended my day in Boulder, so that night I signed up for Ironman Lake Tahoe in late September. It was a no-brainer because the altitude is a little higher than Boulder, the bike course is tough, and the run course fits my strengths. More importantly, Lake Tahoe was one of the few Ironman races still open.
I had seven weeks to get my body, and my mind, ready to go again. I thought often about my Boulder race and still cringed thinking about the DNF. But I forced myself to focus on all of the positives instead of the negatives and I started to feel that confidence again. I can’t really explain it, but in the few weeks leading into Tahoe I kept visualizing crossing the finish line and grabbing the banner for the overall win. Keep in mind that I had only crossed an Ironman finish line twice in my life, just DNF’d in my last attempt, and had never won even a small race, much less an Ironman. But somehow the possibility of winning it all in Lake Tahoe seemed so real.
So by the time I hit the start line in Lake Tahoe, I was ready to go and confident. The race went just like it does for everyone. I had some great patches and some dark ones. I had some times of confidence and some times of doubt. But when I moved into first place overall at mile 8 of the run, I knew that I wasn’t going to give it up. So when I crossed that finish line in first overall (albeit only by 29 seconds), it was the most surreal feeling I have ever had in my life. It felt like I had done it before. I honestly don’t even know how to explain it any better than that.
Question and Answer with Greg.
What I have learned about myself through this experience:
I learned that consistency, not huge volume, is the key. We were definitely on the low end of volume as far as Ironman training goes, but we were consistent with training from the winter through the season. Mike was great in adjusting my plan when things came up or when I missed workouts (sorry, Mike) but we minimized the drop-offs in training and tried to keep on task without worrying about hammering the volume.
I learned that a change in my mental approach to racing may have been the biggest ‘X factor’ to my season. All the training and gear in the world isn’t going to amount to much if you don’t truly believe in yourself when you get to that start line.
Most importantly, the win in Lake Tahoe reminded me yet again that I have the most amazing support crew, starting with my wife Liz. I look up to her in so many ways and she deserves more credit than I could ever explain. Then of course huge thanks to Coach Mike and the rest of D3 as well as my training partners like Brian Lambert.
Three pieces of advice for moving up in distance to Ironman in an effort to KQ:
Never, ever put limits on what you think you can accomplish. I know it sounds cliché, but it is so true in so many ways. Everyone reading this has the ability to achieve some amazing things in this sport, but it starts with getting your mind right first and then the progress will follow.Set big goals but be patient. 2015 was my third season with Coach Mike. The first two years we focused on fundamentals and raced primarily shorter distances leading up to 70.3s. Only later did we get to the point where I had the tools necessary to be successful at the Ironman distance. Surely you can focus on Ironman-distance sooner than that, but be patient with your progress.
Don’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low. My old hockey coach used to say that all of the time, and it’s great advice. I was down mentally for a couple days right after Boulder. But, as much as I wanted to qualify at the time, I would never trade it for the success that I later achieved in Lake Tahoe. So in a strange way, my DNF at Boulder ended up leading to one of the greatest things to happen to me so far in my triathlon career.
Favorites:Race: St. George 70.3.Pre-race meal: pizza the night before and 2 bagels and a banana the morning of the raceRecovery meal: either pasta and sausage or carne asada tacosPart of the race: getting out of the waterEquipment: my 2011 Felt B12 bike. Not the flashiest but gets the job doneWorkout: weekend bike ride up to Ward and then down and out to Hygiene for some Magic Bars and a Red Bull. Finish it off with a few running miles on the Boulder Creek Path.
P.S. That’s Dave, a member of Greg’s support team!