A couple of weekends ago I participated in my 10th Door County race weekend, 14 years after my first. This race has always had a magical feel, with a sprit distance race on Saturday, and a half iron on Sunday. In a beautiful part of WI. Well organized, yet relaxed. Big enough, but not crowded. A huge charity supporter. And the course is the perfect amount of challenging for all abilities to have a fun and fulfilling weekend. (Want to read more about the race? Check out this article.)

I have many fond race memories from both distances over fourteen years. This year I took new challenges in the form of back-to-back relays. 

I swam and ran in the sprint relay so I could participate with my good friend who loves to bike. This was so fun, and a very special moment to team up with Krysten, who has always believed in me and supported all of my physical (and other) endeavors. I won’t bore you with all of the race details, but I was happy with a better-than-expected swim, and an expected run. Krysten exceeded her expectations on the bike. But, my favorite memory of this race was not about my performance. As I bent down to switch our timing chip from her ankle to mine, I felt her gently touch my back, letting her loving support transfer through her hand to me. 

I ran feeling the energy flowing through me, encouraging me to be open to showing up to my best. 

Fueled by love. 

We cheered and supported and celebrated together as a team. I was happy my kids paced first out of 72 relay teams (even though it reinforced their “no training needed” mentality 😉 ). I was excited for the other winners, and all other finishers. I was giddy for the first timers. And, two huge bonuses to my day included getting to see and celebrate one of my closest friend’s birthdays, and also meet my amazing coach for the first time. 

So. Much. Love.

The next day, I had the awesome opportunity to bike in a half iron relay with two other friends. I can truly say that this was one of the most fun experiences I have had on a race course. I LOVE to ride my bike. And it was such a gift to be able to ride 56 miles as hard as I could without considering how I was going to be able to run 13.1 afterward (or having come off a 1.2 mile swim). 

In addition to my family, and our “family,” our entire team SHOWED UP on the course. My vision was a constant sea of Zone Racing blue. And they brought the energy. At mile 46 I saw my good friend and relay swimmer, Jon. Jon exudes quiet thoughtfulness and deep connection. He cheered as I rode by, at the end yelling, “I love you!” 

This brought tears to my eyes and became the inspiration for this message. At that point I realized that the magic at the race had absolutely nothing to do with the beautiful location, the generosity of the organization, or the fun course. It was the sincere courage, support, excitement, and encouragement of the people. It was love. I chanted “I am fueled by love” throughout the next 10 miles— using it to propel me forward with strength and dedication, no matter how tired and uncomfortable I was. 

Fueled by love. 

After I finished my ride, I hung around the venue while cheering on our runner Emma, our Zone Racing athletes, and literally all of the other participants. While doing so, I was personally bombarded by many people sharing the love they felt from our team. And I wasn’t alone. Many of us were approached by other coaches who were racing, members of other various teams, and unattached individuals who have never had the experience of being on a team. They were emotional, grateful, and curious as to who we are and what makes us want to show up with so much passion and energy. 

I can say, without a doubt, it is love. Love of each other, love of the sport, and love of supporting big goals. Love of staying active and healthy. Love of finding connection and a sense of belonging in this big, complicated life. 

We always have some PRs and even some lightning fast results that come from our amazing members. But, most of all— we bring the love.

Fueled by it, and trying to share it—whether it is through heart pumping tunes, funny dancing, voice losing screams, rally towels, aggressive hugs and high fives… or gentle hands on each other’s backs, and sincere “I love yous.” 

I urge you to open your eyes to the ways you can experience love around you. Pour it out. And use it to fuel you.