The bags are packed. The bikes are racked. I’m en route to Lake Placid. This is maybe the 6th or 7th time I’ve made this trip, but this time it’s dramatically different.
It all started in 2010 when Matt and I made a last minute decision to head to Lake Placid to watch the IRONMAN. We knew a couple people racing, and why not leave the hot and humidity of Connecticut and make our way into the mountains.
I wasn’t prepared for what I would witness that weekend. I think the only way to describe it is magical. First, the scenery. The mountains a constant backdrop no matter where you were. Then the actual event. An energy that is palpable.
I’ve said it time and time again, but if you ever get a chance to watch an IRONMAN, do yourself a favor and go. Even if you never have a desire to do one yourself, it is certainly something to see. It’s hard to put into words, but there is just an electricity at this event like no other I’ve been a part of. Couple that with the thousands of inspiring athletes and Mike Riley MCing the whole day…just unreal.
I cried several times that Sunday in 2010. One specific memory I have of that day is Mike on the Mic talking to the racers as they waded in the water, waiting for the gun to go off. Mike said, “only you know what it took to get here today. Only you know the sacrifice, the early morning swims, bike rides and runs.” THAT made me lose it.
That day as I sat at the Olympic Oval watching so many athletes finish with unfiltered joy, I committed to my brother I would do this race.
Many years went by, and this event would become one of my favorite trips of the summer. I watched so many friend cross that finish line, hearing Mike Riley say those famous words, “YOU are an IRONMAN!”
Somehow I knew that 2017 was my turn. I’m not even sure why. I can’t even recall my thought process as I signed up. I just knew it was a bucket list item and if not now, when? I knew it would give me a goal for the winter training, which I had planned to do in Florida. I needed something to keep me motivated since the winter before was tough for me, being away from all my peeps.
So, I signed up…and for the next couple months nothing changed. Exercise as usual. It wasn’t until March that I started to ramp up my training.
As the training got more intense, so did my stress. I work two jobs and I was finding it more and more difficult to get the training in. My husband and dog were in Florida and trying to balance 60 hour work weeks, cleaning, cooking, shopping, and training for an IRONMAN proved to be one of the hardest things I have done.
However, in those tough times is when we learn the most about ourselves. Like, we are capable of more than we ever knew.
My days would look like this:
430am: wake up
8am-4pm: work at PGA
430-730pm: work at mission FITNESS
At this time I was living in South Glastonbury, which made it very easy to get to work, both jobs being a mile away. This was one positive.
However, come May when my husband came back to CT we moved 35 minutes away. Now I had an extra hour that had to be accounted for. It was around this point I hit a breaking point. My ability to shower in my SoG home was gone, so I would some days shower in a sink after my workout then work all day, drive home 35 minutes sweaty, tired, hungry and just cranky.
So this last month I feel I became this person I hated. I was in a deep abyss of self loathing, negativity, and becoming the person I despise. This continued until about a day ago. Everything that could go wrong, did. Ripped wetsuit, 2 shipments of the wrong bike shorts, sunglasses on backorder and not coming in time, bike making clunking noise 3 days before we leave, etc. I was miserable and not representing the character I want my clients to mimic.
Then, I received a card from my Dad Monday night. He will never understand why my brother and I do this crazy event, and this time around I was giving him every reason to question it. In the card he wrote, “I think is supposed to be fun, not a dreaded event.”
At that point I decided that with less than a week to go it was time to let go of all the negative talk, the self doubt, the worry, the stress. I wrote a letter back to them, but it was really to myself. I took a deep breath, sealed it, and let it go.
Guess what? Yesterday things started to turn around. I woke up with amazing news. From then the day kept flowing positively. Bicycles East looked at my bike, cleaned it up and gave it back with no clunking.
I know IRONMAN isn’t going to be “my thing.” I know I could be very good at it, but it isn’t where my heart is. The trails and woods is where I feel at home. It is where my stress melts away. It is my everything.
No, this race was going to have to be more than just training and finishing. I must have signed up for something more, and that’s what I got. I go into this race knowing that what I used to think was busy, was not busy. What I used to think was an early wake up call, is now sleeping in.
More than anything, I learned that “The Secret” is real. We attract what we put out. Never have I been so negative than in this last month, and never have I had so many bad things happen to me. I truly think that is what this race was meant to teach me. You get back what you put into this universe, I believe it now more than ever.
So, with the race just 4 days away I am filled with positivity. I am on my way to the beautiful mountains with my husband, where we will share digs with my brother, sister in law and nieces. We will be right on a golf course, away from the chaos, relaxing. My parents will join, and I’m so excited for my Dad to see how beautiful it is up there.
More than anything, it is so important to me to enjoy this big day. I want to finish happy and healthy and in a way that my Dad may slightly understand why we do these crazy things. I know I am capable of being very good at this sport, but that’s not what I’m in this for. I’m here to experience what many have called, “the most memorable day of their life.”
I’m proud of myself for getting the training in, even when it seemed impossible. I have already become a better person because of this race, and THAT IS WHY WE DO THESE CRAZY THINGS! Bottom line. When you push limits, you discover what you can be. When you stop playing small you begin to realize you aren’t even close to the top of the iceberg of what you can do.
Thank you all for all of your support. For those that will be out on the course on Sunday cheering me on, you have no idea what that means to me. Here’s to another amazing moment in my life, one of many more to come.