Saturday, June 21, 2014

T-minus 5 weeks: Never let a stumble be the end of your journey.

Signing up for our first Ironman was a BIG decision that we did not take lightly.  When training started and we were putting in more hours 4-5 months before our race then we did when we were in the height of marathon training was exhilarating.  This was a huge deal.  Then it started to become the norm.  It was just what we did and  I loved it, but it started to not seem like such a huge deal...I would do my first Ironman in July and many more after that.  Not sure how or when I got into that mindset, but it didn't last long and let me tell you I have since snapped out of it.  Ironman training and racing is a big deal. Whether it is your first or your 15th, it's a really big deal that takes a lot of commitment, dedication, and respect.  You must respect your body, your training plan, your journey, your coach, God, and your spouse/family/friends along the way. You must stay committed and not lose sight of the goal and you MUST continue to have fun along the way and never forget why you started.    

Dealing with injuries and time off of each sport within 2 months of my first Ironman has taught me so much.  Never ever give up.  I am slower and less powerful now and I have to listen to my body so carefully, but I am running and biking and swimming...far...and happily.  And I will be at lake placid in July 27 swimming, biking, and running while proving to myself an the universe that challenges can be turned into opportunities, you just have to be smart, trust the plan, and enjoy the journey.  Life is good.  Triathlon is fun. And bumps in the road that have started as disappointments have ended up teaching me more about myself, my mind, my body, and the importance of self love and respect.  The count down is on.  32 days until we leave for our race-cation and just 36 days until Anthony and I swim 2.4 miles in mirror lake, bike 112 miles in the Adirondack mountains, and run 26.2 miles to a finish that ends with a title that we will forever hold and cherish.  IRONMAN.  The journey is far from over, but I can sense it winding down and I can't begin to put into words the emotions, strength, weakness, fear, happiness, pride, fatigue, energy, and joy that I have felt over the last 6 months as we've prepared for our first Ironman.  I have gotten closer to myself and God, but most importantly Anthony and I have tested our marriage with this journey and we have become so much closer and an even better team and support system to each other than we already were.  Two more hard weeks of training and then a three week taper will take us to the start line hungry for the finish we have worked our asses off for.  July 27 will undoubtedly be the hardest day of our lives.  I cannot wait to relive my journey as I swim bike and run the beautiful Lake Placid Ironman course.  

I am so thankful for every little bit of this journey.  Mostly I am thankful for the "ups" - the long rides and runs and swims that have me smiling ear to ear afterwards because I am proud.  I am proud that I have learned to push through and stay mentally strong.  I am proud that I have learned how to listen to my body and how to make that last mile my strongest.  But I am also thankful for the "downs" and that while they have been hard to get through, I am stronger for them and I will still be racing.  From getting through my tune up race only to have to take a month off, to my 2-3 visits/week to the PT, to my spill on the bike that left me with road rash that ended me up in the ER and kept me out of the pool for over a week... I know that there is a reason this is the path my journey has taken and I am thankful that the finish line is still in sight despite the obstacles that I have faced.

And how can I write this and not thank our amazing coach. have never given up on me.  If it weren't for you I likely may have postponed my Ironman debut.  I have given you all of my trust and you continue to believe in me as I overcome one obstacle after another.  From a month off of running and pushing on the bike to over a week out of the pool you have adjusted the plan and kept me on track.  You remind me to listen to my body and appreciate and accept when it says "no".  You have given me the confidence to know I CAN do this.  So, my longest run isn't what the original plan called for and my power on the bike isn't what it was pre-injury, but I am healthy and overcame so much thanks to you.  You redirected my energy when my training peaks had long walks instead of runs and I got to focus my left over energy on creating nutrient rich, plant strong meals to get me back on track faster and keep Anthony training strong. I can't thank you enough for your kind and inspirational words and belief in my mind and body.  You rock.

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