YOU are an IRONMAN

YOU are an IRONMAN

I was told it would be life changing. That it would be one of the best days of my life. With each day that passes post race, I can honestly say they may have been right.

This race holds so many memories, thoughts, emotions, and lessons for me. Warning: this is a long one.

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PRERACE:
About 10 years ago a sat on the couch with my husband watching the IRONMAN Kona championship on TV.  I knew of traithlons, but was unfamiliar with an IRONMAN. I will never forget him explaining it to me, “They swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles then run 26.2”

We then had a ligit argument, me telling him he had it wrong. There’s no way possible a human can do all of that continuously. At the time I was working as a banker, getting into hiking and just starting to get into 5ks. (My goal at the time was a 5k under 24 minutes)  I was a collegiate athlete, but after college got a little lost in life, struggling to find my place when my whole life (basketball) was done.

Fast forward a few years. I find myself in Lake Placid watching my first IRONMAN. As I said in my last blog entry, I was overwhelmed with emotion and awe of the event. I cried most of the day, as I watched THOUSANDS of athletes complete 140.6 miles. They seemed no different than me, some even 70+ years old.

This was when we had just started mission FITNESS and I was starting to get my fire back as an athlete. I had left the banking world, luckily snapping out of it & realizing this was not me, this was not my destiny. I would not be a 9-5 corporate zombie I was becoming, comfortable with being comfortable…I was meant to be more than that.

So, I sat at that finish line 7 years ago and vowed to myself I would do this event.

However, as the years passed I realized my extreme love for the woods and the mountains and I ended up doing a few ultra marathons (50k/50 mile trail runs) all while never missing but one year of IRONMAN Lake Placid.

While in Placid I would bike the course (one loop) but get into the Adirondacks as much as possible. While the excitement of the triathlon buzzed around town, I found my true bliss deep in the mountains away from the craziness.

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Then race day came. An energy no one can hide from. At 630am you are all-in, fully vested in every athlete in that race. Mike Reilly begins to get the crowd into it from the jump, and from that point forward the day is forever a part of you. Whether you are 8 or 80 years old, a triathlete or out of shape, this event makes it hard to walk away from without part of you wanting to one day be on that course.

So, 10 years after I passionately argued that 140.6 miles was not humanly possible, I began my journey to prove myself wrong. To up the anti even more, at our MF goal setting party I wrote down a lofty “stretch goal”…to complete it under 12 hours.

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As the reality of life, 2 jobs, and training for this race set in, I slowly started to shift my goal. I opted to not buy a new TRI bike, and use my old road bike instead. I refused to put THOUSANDS of dollars into this sport, just to be faster.

This was hard for me, being so competitive,  but it was truly against everything Erik and I are trying to do in our lives. Buy less, live more. Minimize, minimize. This proved to be very difficult in the triathlon world. I will say one of the hardest things for me in this process was all of the “stuff”. I hate it.  I hate that the person next to me can buy a more expensive bike & $2000 wheels and beat me by an hour because of it. I missed running in the trails when the ONLY way to beat someone was to outwork them. End of rant. Sorry.

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So, as my training ramped up and my decision was made to not buy speed, I decided the 12 hour goal was going to be very tough and developed a plan B:

1.) Enjoy the race and LOOK like you’re enjoying it.

2.) Finish happy and healthy & able to watch the midnight finish.

RACE DAY:

As the race approached my level of stress and anxiety dissipated a little. I think I kind of let go of the uncontrollables & knew what would happen, would happen.

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However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t  worried. The thought of the swim would immediately break me down, to the point just a few days prior I had a ligit emotional breakdown thinking of the swim….Full blown sobbing, my brother and Erik reassuring me I would be fine.

*I had to add this because I think for some odd reason people think I’m unlike them. I have the same fears, nerves,  etc. This was truly a race I was 100% uncomfortable with.  (I should add here that I went into this race with only 4 total triathlons under my belt in 7 years. All sprint tris. Nothing more. This was truly unchartered territory for me. I felt lost, confused, nervous, and truly scared.)

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SWIM START:

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I was very fortunate I had 4 amazing peeps doing this race with me. As I made my way to the water I not only had Erik and Matt with me, but I was joined by my childhood friend, Kyle, and her friend Jolene. We then met up with Drew and Mike, Kyle’s boyfriend and friend. The four of us were able to spend the next 15 minutes together, before the race start.  This was huge. I cannot thank these 4 enough for their support during the race.

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As I started to file into the water I looked to the side and saw Amy (an amazing friend who happens to be a Tri coach)  She looked at me with so much confidence and said, “you’ve got this.”  I believed her. Then I saw Patti, so excited for me all week and all day.  Lastly, my husband Erik was right there on the other side of the fence as I marched forward into that water. I will NEVER forget seeing him with tears in his eyes, as he could only nod at me. He was literally there every step of the way as I approached the scariest race I’ve ever done. As always he knew what it took to get there more than anyone. As always, he was my biggest fan.

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I won’t go into too much detail, but I managed to complete the swim without having a full blown anxiety attack  (my biggest fear) If you saw an aerial I’m pretty sure I zig zagged the whole race.

“Why is no one around me?” – OMG, I’m almost on shore.

“Why am I being attacked by 5 men?” OMG, I’m almost at the boueys.

And so on…

Finally, 1:18 later, I was on my feet and running down the chute. SO. HAPPY!!!!!

BIKE:

I cannot say enough how amazing the volunteers were. As I transitioned to bike they basically did everything for me. Unreal.

I have to say the first 10 miles or so on the bike my hamstrings hurt SO BAD. I began to think, “how the hell will I do this for 112 miles?” Luckily,  that went away at some point 🙂

Soon we would hit the downhill. I was super nervous about this, and I held on for dear life for 8 miles while I got passed by huge men literally doing 50 mph.  By the time I got the bottom my arms were so tired from the stress and hanging on so tight. I passed a couple people on the side of the road who crashed on this downhill. Urgh.

The next stretch was flats where I was told several times prior to the race to hydrate and EAT like crazy. I did, in fact I followed my nutrition plan almost to a T.

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Amy told me to make sure my first loop on the bike I go easy. Super easy.  Take in the scenery, and if you aren’t then slow down. I did this and the few times I did catch myself trying to attack I slowed.

I read the day earlier that the elevation gain in those 112 miles was 13,800 ft. which scared the shit out of me, but I have to say the bike was fine. East Haddam and Glastonbury Hills were amazing training.

The two things I wish I changed on the bike was:

1.) Slowing at each aid station to get water/Gatorade. It was chilly and I wasn’t  sweating which leads to…

2.) I had to stop 4 times on bike to pee. This added a bunch of time to my bike.

If I only stopped at every other aid I would have saved a ton of time plus less peeing.  Oh well.

Final bike time: 6:36

RUN:

This was the moment I envisioned so many times leading up to the race.  Being done with the with the disciplines that I was really worried about (bike fears= flat tire/crash) and on my own 2 feet!!

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As I started the run route I saw all of my family and friends, hugged them, and I couldn’t have been more happy to be feeling good. I thought I consciously SLOWED DOWN because I knew I could go too hard here, but apparently that didn’t work; my first 3 miles were a 7:20 pace. Whoops.

I have to say, at this point I knew I had to do a 3:50 marathon  (based on my fuzzy calculating) to do sub 12 hr race. This was a constant battle in my head to go for it and to forget about it to ensure a healthy finish.

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I felt good, but Bill told me time and time again, “go slow on that first 13 miles. You can easily blow up in the 2nd 13 if you don’t”

I was passing people like crazy, literally hundreds of people on the run. People were cheering for me like I was a rockstar (your bib says your name so everyone calls you by name=awesome) While I occasionally doubted  being able to sustain this pace as I saw others puking, cramping, etc. I truly was confident in myself.

Why???  Because I trained hard. Very hard. I knew I was different than most of them. When my plan said 90 mile ride, I did 90. Not 89. When I saw my car on a run and I still had 15 minutes,  I circled my car for 15 minutes. Thirsty, hurting and just wanting to get in that car….I kept running. Why? BECAUSE OF THIS MOMENT. If I stopped I would be the one puking and cramping. To be elite you have to go the extra mile. You have to do what others won’t. I learned that as a child playing basketball and I NEVER want to lose that quality.

So, I kept running. I ran the hills that I was told to walk. I ran, and I continued to feel good. Spectators told me I looked amazing, and I felt amazing….until about mile 16. Things started to shift a little then. I kept running, but my stomach started to turn a little and I could only stomach water.

At this point I was trying to calculate and I knew I could hold a 10 minute mile and still do sub 12.  However, I kept pushing and I was soon out of River Rd and climbing back into town. 3 miles of climbing,  an easy 2 mile out and bike and I was in that oval.

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(At this point I saw Kyle who ran to me with open arms saying, “YOU did it. I’m so proud of you, you’re amazing.” I can’t say enough about this girl. She is just absolutely amazing and to do this race with her was such an unforgettable experience. Her, Drew, Jolene, and Mike are just amazing people and I can’t wait for many more adventures with them!)

I had just passed one of the many amazing signs Matt had made for me, this one saying “you haven’t come this far to only come this far. Finish it.” It had one of my fav pics of me high fiving my Dad as I approached my first overall race win.

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So, that’s what I did. I finished it. I entered that oval the way I spent so much time envisioning. Feeling strong,  with my family and friends on the sideline, with enough time to hug them all and still finish sub 12 hours!

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And to hear those famous words by my dude Mike Reilly,  “Darcy Lucas you are an IRONMAN”

Run time: 3:40

Final Time: 11:50

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Vermont 50 and IRONMAN Lake Placid Registration

I really just moved to Florida to get away from the Winters. I knew it would just be a place we would hibernate, make some money, and leave when May came.

I had no idea what would come next. Would we spend the Summers in Coastal Maine? Would we take the camper and go out West and see the National Parks? Would we end up back in CT?

If you asked me last October, the last option was not my favorite. I knew financially it would be the best option, but I was ready to explore. Nothing about going back “home” for more than a few weeks made me excited.

Fast forward 2 months. As I came down from my “Marathon High” I quickly lost any desire to train. My body felt broken, and my head was in a bad place. I would hear about, and see pics of my bro training “Bill” who would soon be attempting MT. EVEREST. He would send me pics of them in the trails, doing hill repeats, etc. For the first time I started to want to be in CT.

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That’s when I started to realize the significance of being surrounded by people who make you want to be a better athlete and person. Something that seemed so normal at home was actually not so normal. I wrote a blog about it, expressing how what we have at MF could NEVER be replaced.

Three months later we were offered an amazing opportunity to come back to CT and stay at a beautiful Lake house. It was all of a sudden a No Brainer. I needed to go back and surround myself with my MF Family…”Yes, we’ll take it!!”

Within hours of stepping off the plane I was at a mission FITNESS bootcamp. I left that night on a high that I hadn’t felt in 6 months. “This was what I need.” I thought. “This is home.”

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Leading up to this point I had taken a month completely off from working out, trying to mend my broken body. I was unable to even stand without immense pain. I had done Yoga 30 days straight in an attempt to be able to begin running again when I got back to CT.

Well, 1 week after my return I had a date to meet Matt (my brother) for a trail run at one of our favorite spots. I was nervous, given my running was nearly non-existent for the past 5 months. I show up to the trailhead and Matt says, “Bill’s coming.” Shit. I’m running with my brother and a man who just came back from climbing Mt. Everest. Any other day I would have been psyched, but I was unconditioned like I’ve never been.

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The run started off manageable. Bill says, “this is a good pace” Matt responds, “yeah, none of us are trying to kill ourselves” Bill was still suffering numbness in his toes from Everest, Matt was battling back and knee pain, and my hip and back were still sub par. We continue to run, holding a casual conversation. Then came the 1.5 mile climb…

Matt all of a sudden took off. My lungs and legs immediately felt the absence of ANY elevation and as we neared the top, I was doing everything I could to not walk. Bill was behind me, and I told him to go ahead. (I wasn’t about to walk with him behind me. Not after what he just did on Everest.)

Unfortunately, he said he was fine and stayed behind me. So I pushed. I wanted to walk. Vomit. Stop! But I kept going. Because Bill was behind me and he just did freaking Everest!!! It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast, but I made it to the top.

After that it’s about 2 miles to the car, mostly downhill. The 3 of us, all hurting from injuries, took off. I want to say we probably averaged a 7 minute mile to the finish. Where the hell did that come from? Here’s what it was..it was 3 like minded people feeding off each other’s energy. Not one word was spoken in those last 4 miles, but no words were needed.

That run was a turning point for me. My soul had reawakened and I was ready to start training again. Not 3 weeks later I text Bill, “I’m thinking of doing Vermont 50. Should I do the 50K or 50 Mile? I don’t feel ready for 50 miler.” His immediate response, “50 miles.  Sign up today” Five minutes later I sent him a screenshot of my registration. I was back!!! Back home and back with people who make me better!

Since that day I have enjoyed my time in CT like I never thought I would. My training has been going great, and I’m loving being back in the trails.  I am also doing some road runs, biking, swimming and strength.  My heart is happy with such a great group of people to train with and I feel so lucky!

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Just last weekend I joined my brother and a bunch of other MFERS to cheer on our peeps who were competing in IRONMAN Lake Placid. I attended this event in 2011 for the first time and it was such a powerful experience for me. I remember standing at the finish line, eyes full of tears and saying, “I’m doing this event”

Years passed and although I continued each year to spectate and be incredibly inspired, I never took the plunge. I watched my brother run the Olympic Oval to the finish, full of pride & happiness, yet still feared making the commitment myself.

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Sometimes the timing just has to be right. Sometimes you just know when it’s your moment. I left this years IRONMAN on such a high. I felt drunk with happiness and inspiration watching our MFers finish, but still went home that Monday with no real thought of signing up.

Then the texts starting pouring in. Many asking if I was going to sign up, and a couple from 2 bad ass chicks (one a close High School friend) saying they had signed up!! With the thought of moving back to Florida in October looming, I suddenly realized that this may be the year. I could work on my swimming in Florida and hopefully stay motivated with the focus of being an IRONMAN while down South.

I reached out to 4 men that I admire deeply. I admire them for how they push limits and do things that many don’t even think is possible. Mt. Everest. A TRIPLE IRONMAN. 100 Mile Trail Races. Each one of them gave me their own bit of advice. Then I hovered over the “Registration” button for a good 30 minutes.

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Then something clicked. These amazing athletes that I have the pleasure of surrounding myself with have shown me that FEAR and our MINDS are what hold us back from so much. Once I get rid of that, I am unstoppable. And this was the first step. 140.6 miles scares the shit out of me. Especially that first 2.4. However, I wasn’t meant to be average or to live an average life. And I’m sure each one of these men will try to explain that the reason they do this “crazy” stuff is because it is the closest to LIVING that you will ever get.

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So, in the next year I will do another 50 Mile Trail Race and an IRONMAN. Then I will continue to keep doing Races, Adventures, and LIVING. Life is short….Time to start getting uncomfortable.

3 Epic Race Weekends

I know my blogging has been slacking, but it is definitely for a good reason!  I have been busy crewing, pacing, spectating, and participating in epic races!  Each one so completely different and awesome. 

Saturday, July 19th: VERMONT 100, Windsor, VT 

Crew/Pace for Amy Rusiecki:  if you read my blog post about Cayuga 50, then you know who Amy is. If you are an ultra runner from New England then you know who Amy is. She is a rockstar in the Ultra scene and I was lucky enough to share the trails with her nearly the whole Cayuga Race.

It’s amazing how things work. I was out running with a couple girlfriends in the trail a week before the Vt100 and told them, “I think pacing would be a great gig. Enjoy the race, not a lot of stress, etc etc”. No joke, I got in my car and had an email from Amy asking me if I was free the following weekend to pace/crew her for the VT100. I wasn’t, I had 2 jobs that I was working, but I knew I had to make it happen. This was a chance to experience an amazing race with a runner I have so much respect for in some beautiful scenery. 

I got coverage for my jobs and headed up to Vermont with my friend Melissa to experience our first VT100. What an amazing experience. We got to crew with two extremely enthusiastic up-and-coming Ultra Runners and I was able to pace her from mile 77-88. I was very nervous with it being my first pacing duty and the fact that it was for someone who was TOP 2/3 female. This was not a middle of the packer just trying to finish. No, this girl is the real deal. Not to mention she is next years race director, so it was as if I was running with a celebrity!  

I learned so much from this event and had an amazing time. It was beyond gorgeous and running alongside the horses was just cool as hell. Amy finished the race with a PR (18:47) and 3rd female overall. Her husband would break the course record that day (14:47) and win the race. This couple. Come on.

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Sunday, July 27th: IRONMAN 140.6 Lake Placid, NY

The following weekend  was the IRONMAN in Lake Placid. I have been attending this event for the last 6 years and it will always hold a special place in my heart. This event is something every person needs to experience in person. The energy is unlike any race I have ever experienced. Add that to the constant backdrop of the Adirondacks and you have a girl who is at her emotional edge for 5 days straight. Then throw in the fact that MY BROTHER is doing the race. Stop it. Too much. 

This year my husband was able to join me….YES!!!!!  Best. Thing. Ever. Breath taking bike rides, hikes, and moments with him.  My Mom was there. My sister in law and nieces. Then add in two other mission FITNESS clients doing the race and about 10 MFers up there to spectate. Enough said. An amazing 5 days. 

Race day. Unreal. Too much. My brother KILLED it. Finished about 11:42. He is just unreal. My two friends finished happy and feeling good with great times! So amazing. One thing I will never miss at an IRONMAN is the midnight finish. If you have been, you know what I mean. 11pm-12am is THE MOST AMAZING HOUR IN SPORTING EVENTS. I can’t even explain it. You have to be there. But, as I sat there and watched it this year I couldn’t help but think about the finish line I was at exactly one week prior. People finishing a 100 mile race, and MAYBE 10 spectators. A horse. A few claps. That’s it. INSANE!!!  You DO NOT do a 100 miler to finish with thousands cheering you on. You need to have something else that drives you. But, I guess that’s with ANYTHING we do.

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Saturday, August 2nd: GMARA Bitter Pill 12 Hour Adventure Race, Richmond, VT

last weekend I headed back up to Vermont to participate in an Adventure Race. I did one of these years ago with my brother and LOVED it. It is basically finding checkpoints in the wilderness by orienteering (using a map, compass, etc) while doing several different disciplines (Could include: Trek, Mountain Bike, Kayak, Canoe, white water raft, Repelling, etc) I have been wanting to do one ever since I did one with Matt, but I’ve had a hard time finding someone to race with.   Traditional AR teams are coed teams of 3 and it is hard to find people who can take a weekend away from family. I luckily bumped into a guy in the trails when training one day and he happened to be a Rev 3 sponsored Adventure Racer. He contacted me to race with him and his other Rev 3 teammate and I jumped on the chance. 

I was extremely nervous since my I have not been Mountain Biking a lot, and I knew these were professional racers. Turns out I kept up just fine and we ended up destroying the competition. With bonus checkpoints we beat the 2nd place team in our division by 6 hours. Crazy!  Results can be seen here

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So, that’s what I did my last 3 weekends. So amazing. Life is good!

 

IRONMAN Lake Placid: Spectating is an Endurance Sport

This past weekend I went to Lake Placid for my fourth consecutive year to spectate the IRONMAN event. When I witnessed this event back in 2010 for the first time, it rocked me like no other event ever has. I have always been emotional when it comes to races, but THIS event….forget it. As the athletes bobbed in the water, waiting for the gun to go off to signify the race start, “The Voice” Mike Reilly had me in tears within minutes. “Only YOU know what it took to get here. The early mornings…etc”. I lost it. The rest of the day was no different. It was a day I will never forget, and one that keeps me coming back every year.

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This year I was able to experience the weekend with a first timer. A client of  mine who is just starting to get into triathlons and wanted to see what this IRONMAN was all about. it took just 4 hours in the car for her to start to realize what the hype was about. The Adirondack’s serving as a backdrop as they surround the lakes and rivers of this picturesque town. So majestic that they can literally veer you off the road as you are mesmerized by their overwhelming beauty. The thousands of athletes that migrate to this small town, filling the streets of downtown making even the most fit feel out of shape. The inaugural “bike loop” that we do every year, the Saturday before the event. The feeling of camaraderie you feel as you interact with strangers who quickly feel like friends. Then….race day.

I will admit, that while the race start was much safer for the athletes, having them start in waves rather than a mass start made it a lot less dramatic for the spectators.  Selfish, I know.  However, the drama of the swim was still to come.  We decided to stay for the end of the swim, watching the athletes chase down the 2:20 cut-off.  Mike does an awesome job of rallying up the crowd to cheer for the swimmers who are going to cut it CLOSE.  There were 2 athletes who JUST made it, literally within 10 seconds of the cut-off.  Then came the woman who finished about 20 seconds after the cut-off.  She was pulled from the race, and immediately embraced a family member, both of them crying.  The 5 of us girls lost it.  Near sobbed.  Ugly tears.  Welcome to IRONMAN.  It was only 9am.

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As the day went on, so did our emotional roller coaster.  Cheering for the handicap athletes, the 76-year-old, the 18-year-old,  the first timers, the 106th timers.   The elite professionals, finishing under 9 hours.  The “weekend warriors” finishing in 16 hours.  The married couples, crossing the finish line holding hands.  The Dads that would stop and hug their children before they finish.  The husbands who would kiss their wives at the oval finish.  The father/daughter who we are friends with who crossed the finish line holding each others hands high in the air, finishing a day that they will never forget.  The RAW emotion as the athletes finished.  Some pumping their fists, screaming with joy.  Others overcome with tears of joy.  Some doing cartwheels, while others LITERALLY collapsed over the finish line.  The one man who crossed the line and went right to the side fence, where is wife stood, both of them sobbing as they held each other for no less than 3 minutes.

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As I type these words, tears stream down my face.  This event is the platform for what athletics and racing is all about.  Sacrificing and working for months, and even years for this one event, this one day.  An event that has no room for anyone who is just going to “wing it”.  Every single person who dips their toes into that water at 630am has their own journey of how they got there.  While each one is different, the common factor is EVERYONE gave it THEIR best.  The literal BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS that go into training is all for this one race.  Therefore, this day and this event strips every one of their emotions.  When these athletes hit that oval, whether in 9, 12, or 17 hours…they enter it with their hearts on their sleeve.  And they deserve that.  They OWN that oval because they have put the time and effort in to have that privilege.  Us spectators can only cheer and scream, but we wish we could do so much more.  At least I do.  Those tears I cry…they are for you and all you did to hear Mike Reilly say, “YOU are an IRONMAN”

If you have done an IRONMAN, be proud.  If you have no desire to do one, at least do yourself the favor of attending this event.  If anything, you will see what dedication, hard work, and pure emotion looks like.  And if you want to see what a hot mess looks like, come to IMLP next year, I will be the girl with the ugly tears as I watch my brother compete in his first IRONMAN event!

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Why Competition Makes Me Cry

hard workOne thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is competition, and the emotions that go along with it.  There are a few things that have sparked this in the last week:

1.) Watching a Michael Jordan cry like a baby while clutching the NBA Championship Trophy.

2.) Reading a letter from my Aunt that was written for my High School Basketball Senior Day.

3.) Hearing a friend say she “doesn’t understand why anyone would cry at the end of a race.

I could go on for days on this subject, and I hope I can find the limited amount of words to get my feelings out.  First, I have to say that the emotion that is involved with competition is what I miss most on a daily basis, and what I crave to seek as much as possible in my current life.  What you may not know about me is I was a 3 sport athlete in High School & went on to play collegiate basketball.  I traveled since the age of 12 all over the country to play in AAU Basketball Tournaments, learning at a young age the the price of hard work is worth the reward.

So, here I am at the age of 32, still trying to find my way in an unknown world.  A world without practice, coaches, teammates, and games.  For 20 years, my life revolved around one thing: competition. It was why I slept, why I woke up, why I ate, why I lived.  I had a team around me, working towards the same goal.  I had a family that surrounded me that threw there lives into my sports career.  They traveled all over the country, following my AAU, High School, and Collegiate career.  They saw the “behind the scenes”:  shoveling off the driveway to shoot my 100 free throws. Turning on the spotlight to work on my jumper until 11pm.  Doing my homework via flashlight in the car after softball game followed by AAU basketball practice.  They saw all of this, therefore, when I lost, they lost.  When I cried, they cried.  They saw my hard work, and they knew it was for one reason….to excel at game time.  They felt each loss, and rejoiced in each win, because it wasn’t just the 40 minutes of the game we were feeling, it was the work that came before that game.  THIS is why I felt the tears Michael Jordan shed as he clutched that trophy.

This brings me to present day.  The one way I have found competition is through racing.  It will never be the same as basketball, but it at least gives me the idea of training hard for the end product: race day.  What this means is every training run, every minute spent cross training, this is done to get me ready for GAME TIME: race day.  So, as you cross the finish line of the race, your thoughts are not always on the race itself, but the work you did to get there.  The days you woke up early when you just wanted to sleep in.  The nights you skipped the bar with your friends so you could get up early for a training run.  Only you knew how hard you worked before and DURING the race, and when you cross that finish line the emotions flow.  THIS is why I cry at races.

One of the most emotional, energetic races I have ever attended was IRONMAN Lake Placid.    Why?  Because to compete and finish an event like this EVERY single person there COMMITTED to it.  Every person gave up so much, and gave so much.  To me, THIS is living.  And if you have never crossed a finish line with a lump in your throat, maybe you just aren’t emotional, but MAYBE you didn’t give it your EVERYTHING?!?!