July 23, 2017…my first full Ironman…Ironman Lake Placid 2017.
It’s an event I have been thinking about for four years. A day I have been strategically planning for over a year. A race I have been training for since the day after Christmas…
December 26, 2016. My first official training day for Ironman Lake Placid. As my family slept soundly in their beds, snoozing off the Christmas coma of the day before, I quietly made my way to the gym. It was cold out and a light snow dusted the ground. I was tired and still full from the day before, but I took the first official step of my Ironman journey that morning…
Cold, rainy mornings at 4AM followed. Friday nights spent in were next. There were many solo, dark mornings where I was pissed to be out there training. There were trips to the pool where I dove in and sank to the bottom, feeling miserable, sore and tired. Times when a 5-mile run felt harder than a 15-mile run. There was no glamour in it. There was no medal or smile to flash as I got on the bike trainer day in and day out.…But there were also mornings where I would watch the sunrise and smile to myself, feeling lucky to have the chance to be out there training. There were days I would complete a 3-hour workout by 7AM and feel amazing the rest of the day. There were times when it felt good to get in the pool and just swim. Moments during training where I would be on my bike in the warm sun, surrounded by new friends. Afternoons of hard work followed by the triumph of knowing I had pushed myself to complete it.
It has all been part of my journey. The ups, downs and everything in between. The smiles, the tears, the nerves, the excitement. Through it all I have felt grateful. Not all day everyday, but most days I have felt thankful to be able to do this. To GET to train and to travel to an amazing race venue. Grateful to afford the insanity that is Ironman registration.
I plan to bring all of this to Lake Placid. To reflect on my life and know how lucky and grateful I am. To live in the moment and to take in every last second of the experience. To leave it all out on the course and to compete with my heart and spirit… because I know in my soul that my body is physically capable of what I am about to do. The pain will come, I am sure of that. The dark moments will arrive, but I will push through it. The strongest part of myself will carry the weakest me to the finish line.
I have been on a roller coaster of emotions these past few days. I know that it will get even more intense as we begin the drive to Lake Placid tomorrow afternoon. I’m never sure when a wave of emotion will hit me…when I look at my husband and think of everything he has done to support me and my dream the past 30 weeks…when I saw the sunrise driving to the pool the other morning, knowing it was a drive I had been making since December…when I was on the treadmill and a particular song came on…
My co-workers and friends have been so amazing and supportive of Ironman too. I know that some of them probably don’t understand, but it really means a lot when they TRY to understand. This week I have found myself repeating the Ironman distances to people and every time I do I just want to inject “but it’s SO MUCH MORE than just the distance!!” but I never feel like I articulate that well in conversations. It’s the entire Ironman journey. About the highs and lows, about finding the deepest parts of yourself in the suffering of training. It has been about meeting new people, getting well outside of my comfort zone and about chasing a dream that few people understand.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by a local news outlet last week. I was featured with Cleveland Triathlon Club and spoke about the club and about training for my first Ironman. A club board member was present as well as another member who has also been training for Lake Placid as his first Ironman. The experience was incredible and I am filled with so many emotions as I watch the video. It’s perfect as I reflect back on this journey.
So — as I sit here writing this I feel good. I am nervous and I am scared, and that’s OK. I am also excited, happy and eager about the next couple of days. I will never be in this moment again and everyone I will meet and race with this weekend will never be in the same place again either.
Thank you for following my journey over the past 6 months — I will see you on the other side of Ironman!