Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Wildest Trip - part 1

When I was a senior in high school, I discovered the Ironman.  I remember sitting in front of the TV and seeing these people run through lava fields and thinking wow that looks hard and kinda cool.  Keep in mind - at that time in my life I really wasn't up for anything that was "hard" but this touched me.  From that time on I rarely missed it and have many memories.  Here are a few - I remember watching when Lori Boden and her Mom race, I remember the "Ironwar" (although I am not sure if I remember it from live or from seeing it so many times since). I remember all of Peter Reid's hair colors (I dare say I have had some of the same).  I remember the orange Saucony shirts worn by Heather and Paula, I remember missing a Sunday that I was supposed to work at church because I was watching the Ironman when I had a 2 month old, I remember seeing lots of Lava fields and trying to understand what it was like to run in that kind of heat.  I remember Tim DeBoom winning the Ironman Title the year of 9/11.  The list really goes on.

In 2002, I married my soul mate. In that time where you stay up all night talking and telling those things you never tell anyone else, I told him "I want to do an Ironman before I am 40".  ( I didn't know that there were many Ironman races, that the Ironman in Hawaii was the World Championships and that to get here required qualifying).  I also told him that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon - something that had eluded me at the time ( I have since done that twice).  Shortly there after I also set forth on my journey towards learning more about spinal disease and scoliosis that I thought I would ever know.  At the beginning of that "trip", I had a therapist tell me to stop running and get a bike that I rode outside to develop my core and balance.  I did and then told my husband that this was a sign that I was to embark on the whole Ironman thing ( I was 37 and no I didn't heed the stop running advice).  I went to the gym and hired this guy that I knew was about to go to the Hawaii Ironman to teach me how to ride a bike so I could go too! Yep he "schooled me" on all things Ironman as well as how to ride a bike - he was one of the top ranked cyclists in San Antonio.  Rather than being discouraged the fire got stronger and the goal was set.
During this adventure, I had to address the fact that my spine still needed attention and the more I pressed the more it required it.  One of the greatest things about this sport is how transparent the top professionals are to the amateurs.  I came across an article written by the great Simon Lessing and was soon introduced to the best Neurosurgeon in the country who happens to be an Ironman as well and the best Physical Therapist who also happens to be an Ironman.  After his handy work - I was back at it and in search of getting to Kona.

I have made myself a student of this sport.  I studied everything and everyone.  Shortly after my first Ironman (Florida in 2005), I came across Hillary Biscay and started to follow her career.  She was a lot like me - an English major, loved teaching, loved a challenge and started this thing with a "whatever it takes mentality".  After getting close to qualifying on more than one occasion, I decided to ask her to coach me. After 3 long days, the email came through that she would.  Two months later, I raced Ironman Arizona, had a fantastic day and reached the podium and got a slot to race in Kona the following year.

So here we are - 2012 and I sit here listening to the wave crash and I am in Kona.  While this is the condensed version ( my unbelievably supportive family will tell you the VERY condensed version), it is my journey.  So much has been learned and some of it is here on this blog.  The one thing I know now, is that it is far from the end.  The list of amazing people that have helped me get here is endless.  I am certain I would have to have an entire new post just to scratch the surface.  I have to say that without my family and their undying support, this would not have happened.
Jesse- I love you with all my heart.  You never doubted, never said no, never said wait, always said what ever we need to do.  Thank you.
Devin - You always said go for it Mom and were amazing at making the connection of what I hoped you kids would get from this.  You and your brother put up with me riding my trainer at your games.
Jonah - You reminded me "no plan B" and said go for it. You put up with me missing some of your games for training.
Paige - You just always looked at me with those "starry eyes" and said I want to be like you Mom.  You held me to the highest standard.
Mom and Dad - Even when you didn't get it - you got me. I love you for that
Keane and Ashley - You even met me along the way - discovering your "inner athlete" and let me be the big sister to feel like I showed you a way.
Diane and the Elders - I couldn't have a better family to have married in to.  Thank you for being there and supporting me. Di - you just have always made me feel so important. Thank you
The "sisters" - Thank you for keeping me grounded and reminding me that a girls night out is important.
Here we go....

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