35 days and I will find myself in the waters of Kailua-Kona bay with 1600 other amazing athletes. For me, as for most people, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. It is a where I get to race, on the same course, on the same day as the best triathletes in the world. I didn’t secure a spot as most of the 1600 athletes do, with a qualifying Ironman race. I am not an elite athlete, not the fastest or strongest in my age group by any means, but I will be there at the starting line. I have volunteered in the medical tent at the World Championship race for the past 8 years and was fortunate enough to be rewarded for my dedication to the Ironman community.
Dedication is the quality of being committed to a task or purpose and training for a race like this takes 110% and then some. For some of my other 7 Ironman races I had a coach, but not all of them. This time was different, this time I decided to hire a coach (Complete Human Performance coach Jon Fecik). Kona is not just any other Ironman, it is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. I have had the utmost commitment and dedication to my training for this race. I am not saying that I didn’t miss workouts, I did. I work full time, have a husband and a dog and well, there is just life that happens. I tried to be as consistent as possible everyday and not miss key workouts. I was honest with myself and with my coach about what I could do and what I couldn’t. I have made sacrifices along with my family. And I hope, come race day, it all pays off.
I have had a stellar racing year and I believe it is all due to my commitment and dedication. I ran my first 50 miler, my first Boston marathon, had my marathon PR and most recently, my Half Ironman PR by almost 10 minutes. Almost 10 minutes faster then I was back in 2006, when I was 36 years old.
This says 2 things to me, one is that good coaching really works. If you have a good coach/athlete relationship, the athlete can really thrive, but the athlete needs to give 110% too. Second, commitment, dedication and perseverance pay off. You get out what you put in and then some. So no matter what it is in life (not just racing) give it 110% and don’t ever sell yourself short.
A wise man named Abraham Lincoln once said ” Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Growing up my parents instilled in me some very valuable traits. Gratitude and the importance of family are just 2 of many things they taught me.
My family means the world to me and I believe they are truly the only ones you can count on when times are tough. Friends come and go throughout our lives but your family is always your family. That doesn’t mean that family has to be blood related. Family means different things to different people, it is the people in our lives that will be there for you no matter what the circumstances; they will support you, comfort you, and be honest with you. They will tell you when you are being a jerk and then tell you that they love you anyway!
My parents have always been there for me. Always. No matter the circumstances they have stood by my side, even when they did not agree with my decisions they still stood by me. They have sacrificed a lot for me and for that I am truly grateful. They have been there during difficult times in my life; in my hospital room every day of those 19 days, and not once did they think about not being there. On the phone with me, listening to me cry, and wishing they could make things better during my difficult marriage and subsequent divorce. During my long days of training and racing, they sacrifice their time to help me achieve my dreams. They have been by my side every step of the way, watching me fall down, helping me back up and cheering me on.
I am ever so grateful that they want to be so much a part of my life. That they cherish the time we spend together, as do I. I never want to take this for granted. None of us are immortal and our time here will come to end, one day. So, I try and appreciate all the little things and tell the people in my life how much they mean to me and how much I love them, on a daily basis.
“Each day I am thankful for nights that turn into mornings, friends that turn into family, dreams that turned into reality and likes that turned into love”-Anonymous
I recently heard a quote that resonated with us today. “Some days you win and some days you learn”. Well today was both for us. David had a difficult day today at the Tunnel Light Marathon. He knew at mile 19 that it was not going to be a BQ kind of day. So instead of pushing through and potentially injuring himself, he backed off a bit, and met up with me at mile 24.5. I was pushing really hard, I hurt really bad and was not sure how much harder I could push. He was a ray of sunshine when I saw him in front if me, he had amazing words of encouragement and he knew I had it in me to not only get a BQ today but a PR by over 3 minutes. He kept me motivated to the very end and despite how bad he was feeling, he focused all his attention on getting me to that finish line. He is truly the world’s best training partner, my best friend and an amazing husband and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
This race was about 2 things, training for Kona and qualifying for Boston. I was fortunate enough today that all the stars aligned, the weather was perfect, I felt good when I woke this morning, my nutrition was on target, and I didn’t have to stop at the porta-potty during the race.
I was so tempted to stop and take a picture along the way as this course is unbelievably beautiful. Nice wide non-technical gravel trail with about 2200 feet of drop over the entire marathon. Along with the 2 mile long, pitch black, cold Snoqualmie tunnel, trees as far as the eye can see, several trestle bridges with amazing views, it is easy on the quads and makes for a super fast course. What more could one ask for in a marathon. I highly recommend this race or even just taking a hike on the Iron Horse Trail on a nice day. There are a handful of opportunities to do this race and all are Boston certified.
Kinetic Sports Rehab is one of my biggest supporters and the feeling is mutual. I am not just saying this to promote their business or get you to click on their site, I have no invested interest if you do or you don’t. I do know that I would not be talking about them if I didn’t believe in them and what they do. They focus on functional fitness in a way that I have never experienced before. A combination of sports chiropractic doctors (http://www.kineticsportsrehab.com) who do soft tissue work, along with rehab specialists that work with you on the floor. For me, this has been a winning combination.
My first experience with the staff there was after a 19 mile trail run that went horribly wrong. I was in pain, in tears and thought my days of endurance sports were over. They have supported me throughout my journey of rehab and the realization that I would be able to compete again.
Since I started with them several years ago I have accomplished so much, my qualification race that took me to Boston, the Boston marathon itself, my first 50 mile trail run and now my training for the Ironman World Championship race in Kona on October 14.
Why am I talking about this, because I believe that there are no limits. It is all about your mindset, your attitude, your perseverance, your commitment, your drive and your dedication to what you really want in life. I heard a saying recently that stuck with me, ” The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” Sarah Ban Breathnach. So as my cousin Deb would say, Go and Be Great!
Someone recently asked me how I got started in the world of endurance sports. Well, it has been quite the journey. I was not an athletic kid, and as a matter of fact, in high school I would do anything to avoid PE class. Fast forward 10+ years and this was me. I woke up one day, somewhere near my 30th birthday, and decided that being an overweight, unhealthy couch potato was no longer the lifestyle I wanted. So I joined the local YMCA, started walking on the treadmill, changed my eating habits, learned how to use the equipment and began to see changes. I started to loose weight fairly quickly but thought that if I could loose weight walking, I wonder how fast I could loose it running. So, I began to run on the treadmill. And when I say run, I really mean jog, and that lasted about 15 seconds until my legs and lungs were burning. But, I didn’t give up. I would do run/walk intervals and slowly increase the run portion of the interval until I could run an entire mile without stopping. From there I eventually ran my first 5K. I remember thinking there was no way I would be able to run the entire race without walking, but I did and I finished in just over 30 minutes. A very proud moment for me. That race is one of my most memorable experiences, even today.
So a 5K turned into a 10K turned into a half marathon and eventually my first marathon, The New York City Marathon, November 2004. My family was there to cheer me on along with the thousands of people that line the streets, but my body was not happy and I walked a good part of the race, from mile 18 on. Again, I didn’t give up there. I did run 2 more marathons, Las Vegas x 2, before turning to the world of triathlon.
My triathlon experience was very much like my road running, first a sprint, rather about 50 of them, then some Olympic distance races, then eventually a half ironman and then my first full Ironman race, Ironman Western Australia in December 2007. This was an incredible day and a huge accomplishment for someone who was a former couch potato.
Fast forward 15 years from that overweight, unhealthy, couch potato and here I am. 7 Ironman finishes, over a dozen marathons, including Boston, dozens of trail races, numerous local crossfit competitions and I am now training for the biggest Ironman race of all, Ironman World Championship in Kona on October 14.
This is my lifestyle now, I am proud of it and grateful that I get to spend everyday doing what I love with someone I love. So remember, it is never too late to make a change for the better, whatever that may be.
Most people think of triathlon and running as individual sports. Although we participate as individuals, most times, it takes a village. I have had so much help along the way from so many people. I need to thank these people as I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for them!
My parents have been huge supporters of mine. Coming to as many races as possible. They were unable to join me for my first Ironman in Australia but they would not sleep until I was out of the water and then watched the live feed until they saw me cross the finish line. They have been my biggest cheerleaders throughout this journey into endurance sports.
My friend and first triathlon coach, Eddie Herd, was a huge influence on me and a huge inspiration.
My husband, David, has been amazing support. Not only does he encourage and inspire me everyday but we get to spend a lot of time training together. Not sure I could have done a lot of this without him.
More recently, as I get older, I have also needed more help staying healthy. Kinetic Sports Rehab has helped me change my story. When I first saw them several years ago I thought my days of endurance sports was over. Well, here I am many marathons, ultras, crossfit comps later, and I am now having the most amazing year ever, so thank you.(https://www.kineticsportsrehab.com/)
G4 athlete came on board more recently and has been an amazing supplement to Kinetic, with more directed physical and massage therapy. ( http://g4athlete.com/ ) Then came my friends at Superfeet who have been so amazing and supportive, making sure my feet as well as my body stay healthy. ( https://www.superfeet.com/ )
I have been through a few crossfit gyms since living in Seattle. My first experience was with Mike Ross from Sodo Crossfit Endurance, now part of Crossfit RE. Mike, along with Darrick and BeckyJo of RE have always been huge supporters of mine. ( http://sodocfe.com/ ). Currently I belong to Crossfit Felix and have met some amazing people there. (http://www.crossfitfelix.com/ )
My current coach, Complete Human Performance coach Jon Fecik, has been pushing me to be the best athlete I can be and preparing me for the biggest race of my “career”. Ironman World Championship in Kona on October 14. Thank you Jon for your guidance in this journey. (https://www.completehumanperformance.com/jon-fecik/ )
So, when you are riding, or running or swimming or whatever your sport of choice is, don’t forgot all the people that helped you along the way.
Thank you to all of my friends and family for all your support, past, present and future!
David and I are always looking for our next fun adventure, something new, different, exciting and challenging. We came across this inaugural race for 2018, SwimRun Lake James. SwimRun is not a new sport to Scandinavia but it is in the US. This race is by invitation only, the application requires a “race resume” and then you wait to see if you and your partner are accepted to race. We applied on Sunday and today David got the coolest email from the race director. We are super excited to take on this new adventure in 2018.
Check out the origins of SwimRun. http://otilloswimrun.com/
Super excited to make this my inaugural blog post! Great day today out at the West Seattle Beach Run. Low key race with many distance options-13.1, 25k, 26.2 and 50k. Great support for a low key race and the registration fee goes toward the aid stations and the rest is donated to charity.
David did the half marathon and kept me on pace for a 2 hour half then left to go to work. I was feeling that the second loop would be a bit slower but somehow I managed an even split. My second fastest marathon to date, behind my Boston qualifier, and a huge confidence boost.
One month until our “A” race to try and qualify (again) for Boston and 83 days until Ironman World Championship race. Hard work is paying off and it doesn’t come without some suffering.