What Ironman Means to Me & Why I Will Finish It

I knew when I signed up for ironman, I wanted to test my perseverance, work hard, deal with obstacles, and focus my efforts to see what I could do. I was ready to understand what pushing my body to a whole new level was, experience the journey, and to one day call myself an iron{wo}man.  Ironman signifies hard work, dedication, and strength.  It’s a distance to be respected and worked for.  

But this didn’t all start at once.

I remember when…

  • I did my first 5-mile run, and it was SO long. Seemed impossible at the time
  • Completing my first sprint triathlon and thinking how good it felt to use my whole body
  • Being extremely nervous at my first organized tri swim team practice of 1700 yards
  • Passing a lady with an M-Dot tattoo during a run at a spring tri and commenting “wow, that’s amazing you’ve done an ironman!” And then she said “you could do it”. A seed was planted…
  • Thinking of how impossible an Olympic Triathlon swim seemed and working my way up to an Oly and Half IM distance triathlon with David. I have never seen him so nervous than at the start of our first Oly tri except for when he proposed.
  • Learning what intervals really are with Marni’s coaching and being amazed on how much she could push me in such a short period of time!
  • Realizing that mental tricks are a secret weapon and practicing them during training and using them in races
  • The first time (only a month ago) that I truly thanked my body for all that it has allowed me to do in training. And finally, through this training, learning to truly love my body, self and mind
  • The point in my ironman training when I knew my work was done and I was ready

I guess my point is that this race has been days, months and years in the making.  Every pedal stroke, every time I kept going when I wanted to stop, and every activity that added or maintained my fitness has been a step towards ironman; it’s a journey.

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During ironman training I have experienced new emotions, dealt with physical/mental exhaustion, and have pushed myself to new levels.  My body has performed in ways I didn’t expect and my mind has stayed strong. I can only imagine what race day might bring.  Sure I am nervous, anxious, and self-doubt still rears its ugly head from time to time, but I know I’m ready as I’ll ever be.

This race means I have put in the hard work, and is a day that my family has made sacrifices for. This race means so many early morning swim practices, long bike rides after work, and numerous runs on tired legs. This race means dealing with frustration on “off” days or with equipment failures, and endorphin highs after workouts when I killed it. This race means careful nutrition planning and thoughtful recovery. This race means my husband waiting for me for dinner on late nights and my in-laws opening their house to me for weekend training. This race took a lot of support from a lot of people – my husband and family, coaches, training buddies, and the TriMarni & Betty Designs families.

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This race is a dream years in the making and something I didn’t think I was capable of just a few years ago. It’s taken sacrifices and resources (personal, time, social, financial). But my dream is not to just finish, it is to finish strong and have an amazing day, and I knew that would take a lot. Having an amazing, memorable day is key – it won’t always be easy, and there will be discomfort and pain, but I am getting to do these 140.6 miles altogether this one time, so I better enjoy it while it lasts!

I know that I will finish (barring any major incidents) because I know I’ve followed a solid training plan and each session I’ve left nothing on the table (of course, listening to my body).  My goal is to stay calm and deal with any difficulties that arise on race day and to focus only on what’s in my control. I’m doing this for my family, my coaches that believe in me, my hubby that has supported me despite the fact that he is the one that needs support right now, and for ME and my body. I put in the work, so it’s time to show what I can do. I’ve put my body through a lot this past year, always with ironman in the back of my mind. This is what I chose to do; this is what I will do. I will race smart, have a fun day, and finish strong. I can trust in my training, and I know Marni wouldn’t put me up to this is if she didn’t think I could do it. In my heart I know I will keep moving forward and see that finish line very soon.

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6 thoughts on “What Ironman Means to Me & Why I Will Finish It

  1. An Ironman is absolutely a journey and adventure! I think that you have made the most of it! The race is just the icing on the cake!! Your first is always the most memorable. Take in every minute of it and do as you said! Race smart! Have fun! Finish strong! Good Luck!!

  2. You are so strong, and so ready for this! It has been so motivational reading all about your journey! I’ll be cheering for you this weekend! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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