Since finishing the Ironman in July I have thought over and over about how I would write about it. The experience was so all encompassing, putting it to words on paper seemed impossible. My plan is to tell this story start to finish over several posts. I guess like everything else it is best to start at the beginning.
In September of 2009 I crossed the finish line of my first 5k. Earlier that year I had decided to take up running to get myself off the coach and out of the funk I was in. I wish I had an awe inspiring reason for taking up running, but my number one goal was shedding the 50 pounds I put on having the girls (and the additional 40 pounds I can’t blame on them).
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I decided I would take up running. What I found was a world of movement with purpose. I found a community of the most compassionate, driven and empowering people I have ever met. I found a love of fitness that came as a huge surprise to this gym class flunky. I also found that you can’t be afraid to dream really really big.
One of the beautiful things about running is when you do a race you are rarely alone, but you have to cover the distance on your own. When you line up and wait for the starting gun to go off, you are surrounded by people covering the same course, but most of us are out there for different reasons. Other than the 20 people lined up at the front who actually think they are going to win the race, the rest of us are out there racing something else. We run against the times and distances that we are afraid of. We run from the doubt that lives in our heads and tries to say this is too much for you. We run toward goals and dreams of becoming someone we never though we could be.
Shortly after finishing that first 5k I watch the Ironman Championships and had one wild thought- Someday, that is going to be me.
Let’s review, I had just trained for 6 months to be able to run 3.1 miles without stopping, I didn’t own a bike, and I didn’t know how to swim. All those things aside, some crazy part of me looked at the athletes on TV and and dreamed about being among them.
That is where it stayed, the idea of an Ironman stayed in someday land for years, six of them to be exact. Every once in a while I would come back to it thinking about how amazing it would be to reach that level of discipline and fitness. Then I would think about how friggen hard it would be and bring my head back down from the clouds. My love and drive for running grew from that first 5k to take on the half and full marathon. Along the way running changed from something that I did to who I was.
I made the switch from runner to triathlete in August 2014 when I finished my first sprint distance triathlon with some friends. To my great surprise, I did not drown, crash my bike or finish last. For the first time taking on an Ironman became more than the glimmer of someday and felt like an actual possibility.