Sunday, September 27, 2015

an open letter to my iron-friends & family

"There is no shame in taking pride in achievements or position. 
But nobody gets to the top alone."
- Harvey Mackay
To some of my favorite people in this world:

Well y'all, it's been a journey.

I could go on and on about how many hours of training I've put in, all the mornings my alarm went off at 4:30am (or earlier!) and how what I really wanted to do was roll over in bed.  And I am proud of everything I have done to this point.  I've paid my dues and logged the man-hours.  I am ready.
I have the wonderful Team Z to thank for a lot of what helped me get this far.  My swim lane-mates holding me accountable for showing up Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  My ride buddies and the SAGS during our long rides sticking around, often when I was one of the last cyclists in.  All the cheering and encouragement throughout the season.  I absolutely could not have gotten this far without my team, and I will dedicate a separate post to them later on....
...but, my teammates and coaches are all triathlon-minded, so it's a little different. You, my iron-friends and family, didn't sign up for this. You didn't take on the commitment of training and racing an Ironman. Yet you have been standing beside me, supporting me, every step of the way.
You ran with me and didn't care how slow I am or how many walk breaks I had to take. We suffered through long runs together in hot temperatures and lots of humidity. We ran through pouring rain and thunderstorms and snow and ice... We ran on ice!! You did races with me... On cold rainy mornings... And made them fun. We faced Eagleman together... Again. You drove long hours and came and cheered for me in races, and still had a smile on your face even when I didn't finish.
You let me piggy back on your gym membership to get in some spin classes when the weather was terrible and I just couldn't bare another session on the trainer... When we didn't feel like spinning... At all. We suffered together. And when the weather got nice, we biked outside together. You took time out of girls weekend in Vegas to go on a long bike ride with me... In the desert sun... On rented bikes... With over 3000 feet of climbing!! We swam together... In the Potomac.
You switched to primarily day drinking on the weekends so that I could participate and still get to bed early enough to make my morning ride or run the next day. You listen to me go on and on [and on and on...] about my runs, my bike rides, nutrition, wardrobe decisions. Sometimes (most times?) things you have zero interest in. But you let me jabber on about all these subjects as you smile and nod and even offer your best advice when you can.
You listened to me bitch, moan and whine about early morning workouts, tired muscles and persistent injuries. You sat with me through my meltdowns, after bad workout days, when I just wasn't sure I could do this. You didn't let me give up. The term "build cycle" has become part of your vocabulary. You looked forward to recovery weeks [almost] as much as I did. You know the exact distances of an Ironman event.
You let me learn from your experiences and your knowledge as you tell me about the day that you became an Ironman. You made pasta dishes for me when my stove was broken so I could eat well and support my workouts.  You brought me ice and heating pads and Ibuprofen and dinner and milkshakes after my long training days.
You came to my super long workouts to cheer me on and support me. You have sent me notes of encouragement and believed in me, even when I have not believed in myself. You told me that I'm strong enough to do this. You told me that I have what it takes. You helped convince me this is possible.
You will be right there with me, along the course during the long day. You are traveling through multiple states to come support me. You are coming after doing your own longest training run ever for your upcoming first marathon! You will make the bike a little easier, and the run more bearable. You've offered to run with me and pace me to help me reach that finish line. You volunteered to be my sherpa and I know that everything will be taken care of so I can focus on racing. You will be cheering at the finish line with a hard cider in hand for me as I hopefully complete 140.6 miles.
I don't know what is going to happen on race day. What I can promise you though, is that I am going to give it all I've got and leave everything on that course. When I toe that line, you will know that I put in the work and paid my dues, and whether or not I become an Ironman, you will be there with me to celebrate the completion of a long hard season.

I thank each and every one of you for all your support and encouragement. Triathlon is an individual sport, but it took a village to get me to the start line. I'll see you all on the flip side!


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