Saturday morning is coming. Quickly.
At 7am I will be treading water with 2500 of my closest friends, waiting for the gun to go off so we can begin the 2.4-mile swim. Before the 112-mile bike ride. Before the 26.2-mile (full marathon) run.
On Saturday, I will be racing in my first Ironman!
I kept it a secret for a long time. From friends, from teammates, from coaches. I didn’t want to hear the negativity – that I couldn’t do it, that it was crazy, that I wasn’t experienced enough. They don’t have any idea what I am capable of. I don’t think I even have an idea yet. But hopefully I will on Saturday.
I was reading the intro to Chrissie Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits. For those who don’t know, Chrissie Wellington is a 4-time Ironman World Champion. She didn’t start triathlon til later in life, had no natural athletic abilities, and honed her skills merely through determination and heart – lots and lots of heart. She said that all Ironman competitors ask themselves the same two things before the race. 1) Will I finish? And 2) At what cost?
I got this someecard from my in-laws this morning. Aren’t they funny?
Goal #2 for me is always to finish the race. I know, it should be Goal #1, right? Yeah but Goal #1 for me is always to not shit myself. Seriously. If you don’t know much about endurance sports and effects on gastrointestinal issues, Google can help you. When your blood is busy keeping your legs moving, you can lose control of basic bodily functions. TMI, I know. And Goal #3 is always to finish in under [whatever time goal I have set for myself]. Well, my friends…the day has come when Goals 1 and 2 have switched places. I want to finish. And that’s the price I’m putting on it. Shitting myself. I would rather shit myself than not finish. That’s how badly I want to finish. Ideally, I will finish AND not shit myself, but hey, we can’t have everything we want. Cross your fingers.
Why am I doing this? Why would anyone subject themselves to this? What is the pull, the desire?
Put simply, because I can. Because WHY THE HELL NOT. There are people who can’t do this. I can, and I will. Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has changed my life. A year ago I had not yet run my first marathon. I didn’t really know anyone in Houston. I weighed almost 140 pounds (while not at all a heavy weight, not MY happy weight and not my natural weight – it was a result of eating garbage and not working out – oh, and lots of wine). I was very unhappy. Today, I have run 4 full marathons, 5 half marathons, countless 5Ks and 10Ks, 2 sprint triathlons, 3 Olympic triathlons, and 2 half-ironman distance triathlons. I have many amazing friends whom I’ve met through TNT, several of whom are blood cancer survivors and have been directly impacted by LLS’ efforts. I have bonded even more with my friends who have since joined. I weigh 115 pounds (would like to gain just a little back, this is my race weight). AND I AM SO HAPPY. I feel healthy, and while Shane and I are both busy bees, we have the best time together and I think this has truly helped our relationship. It was never rocky, but my unhappiness made it not as bright as it could be…does that make sense? I can’t say enough good things about TNT.
I want to raise awareness about TNT and our mission to cure blood cancer. But I NEED YOUR HELP. If you have even $5 to donate today, if you’re even slightly interested in what I’ve written here, or just think that the idea of doing an Ironman is pretty cool – won’t you help? I will not stop until we have reached the ultimate finish line – a cure.
On Friday I get to meet Chrissie Wellington and she’ll sign my copy of A Life Without Limits. And that’s the way I want to live.
I can do this.