Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Full(ish) Ironman: A Completely Full Heart (P4)

Part Four: Reflections and Thanks

So, as I mentioned before - the course had been shortened and I did not have the opportunity to complete 140.6 miles at an Ironman race course. To some people, it probably seems silly to be upset about such a thing. But it was honestly heartbreaking. I was offered a lot of very well-meaning advice from a handful of folks. But, probably the best advice came from Andrea Peet, who referenced the movie Gleason when she said, "It shows the power of the human spirit -- even when things are hard, or sucky things happen for no apparent reason."

I know that Andrea, and raising awareness for ALS, are my "why." I know that showing my children that you work as hard as you can - whatever that may be - and you do your best is also "my why." And that you show up and keep doing your best even if you aren't going to be the first-place winner. (or get your 140.6 sticker). That it's perfectly fine to have things in life you love and enjoy, even though you aren't pro-level. (And even when you're not even close). Those were all "my why."

So, yeah - it's kind of a big deal to me that I still showed up that morning on race day. I showed up while the winds were howling. I showed up despite having had two bike crashes and not really trusting my bike. I showed up even though I knew that if I crossed the finish line, I wasn't "technically" going to be an Ironman finisher (in the 140.6 sense). I showed up even though I had people raise their eyebrows at me, "you've never run a marathon before?" I showed up even though I was terrified at the thought of running a marathon, and was convinced I was going to get hurt doing it. I showed up even though my training volume wasn't as high or as consistent as most recommend. I showed up even though I had an anxiety attack one week prior.


And I would do it (a not-by-choice shortened race) again in a heartbeat, because we do the things.

I finished the race and immediately knew I wanted to try another full. I felt fantastic after the race - and even my massage therapist noted today that nothing felt injured or strained. I took my time on the marathon, especially the second half, because I knew I had plenty of time. I didn't want to injure myself. I never pushed on the bike because I've made the mistake of killing my legs on the bike course and never finding them again. If I had been wearing my HR monitor, I would guess my heart-rate probably averaged around 135-140, and probably closer to 115-120 the second half of the marathon.

I am extremely happy about all of that. Very grateful and thankful.


Thank YOU to Erin for this picture of me starting my second loop on the run :-)

Thank You!

Thank you to my husband and children for their amazing support during training.

Thank you to Team Drea - especially Erin Leventhal (and Brian and the kids!), Christine Stalvey, Robin Fowler and all the members who trained with me and offered supportive words of encouragement and congratulations. It meant so much to see many of you on the course!!

Thank you to my training partners. Jennifer Liptrot - for the runs and never leaving me behind (and for SO much!). Preston Mitchell - for all of the rides, the phone calls and the words of encouragement. Sara Scheck, Kathleen Pelczynski, Gayle Banic, Nici, Tanner, IOSTC friends - everyone who has gone out on rides with me! They were all my "hay," and I enjoyed the time with all of you so much.

Thank you to Rebecca for the swims! Great advice and supportive words helped me finish that swim faster than I ever expected. AND enjoyed it.

Brooks Doughtie - I didn't train for this race with you, but the months of training with you the previous year built a foundation that taught me to respect the process and to know what consistent and smart training can do for athletes.

BASE - a GREAT product and great team, so much support.

Tri-Life - Jon helped patch up my bike and patched up my mental state going into this race.

My massage therapist and chiro - helping put "Humpty Dumpty" back together again. And again.

To my parents - for believing in me throughout my life. And teaching me to believe in myself, because that's what really matters when we set out to do anything challenging.

To the Ironman North Carolina volunteers and race staff - thank you for your time and helping make the experience memorable and safe.

Thanks to all of my friends and family who've encouraged me on this journey. Everything from a "like" to a "comment," phone calls and texts -  I have appreciated (and needed, many times) the encouragement. Thanks to Chandra (my IM70.3 teammate next year!) for being at the race, too!

To Jon Blais and his parents Mary Ann and Robert - "freedom!" We WILL find a cure.

Thank you to Andrea Peet and Dave Peet for your support. I know it isn't the journey you would have EVER chosen, but your steadfast love for each other, your support for finding a cure for ALS, and the way you support your friends - old and new - has taught me so much about appreciating life and the gift of love.