February 1 is National #GetUpDay founded by U.S. Figure Skating to provide a platform for people around the country to celebrate Get Up stories and urge others to Get Up also. It is an opportunity to share inspiring stories of perseverance; when we’ve fallen, we pick ourselves back up and keep striving to achieve our goals and dreams.
Here’s my story of perseverance:
In January of 2004, my world was turned upside down when my ex-husband and I finalized our divorce. I was lost…technically I was lost long before the divorce, but didn’t realize it until the divorce was finalized. As I faced the “Y” in the road in front of me, I had choices as to which route I wanted to take my life and I had no idea which route to take. I was not an athlete. I was not passionate about anything. I was simply going through the motions of life. With no place to turn, I decided to sign up to run a 5K in October of 2004. It was SO HARD!! I felt so much pain throughout that run, but the pain I felt running made me temporarily forget the pain I was enduring in my everyday life.
After this 5K, I decided to sign up for a 20K training program in the spring of 2005. I met fun, inspiring, and amazing people. I finished my 20K race. I signed up for a fall marathon. I crossed the start line and then the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in October of 2005. I had finally found myself and my passion! I wanted more finish lines! I was hooked!
Fast forward to July of 2006…I met the Iron Hippie at a group run. We would chat at group runs, became friends, and went on our first official date on New Year’s Eve in 2006. I continued to run marathons and had the dream of one day qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. With the help of the Iron Hippie, I qualified for the Boston Marathon at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in October of 2008! In April of 2010, I crossed the start line and finish line of my 9th marathon, the Boston Marathon, with a HUGE smile on my face! I had fulfilled my dream!
In July of 2010, the Iron Hippie and I were married. I had an even BIGGER smile on my face on our wedding day! We continued to train and run marathons, but I had also gotten into triathlon racing. I loved the variety both in training and racing!
Fast forward to 2011 when I decided to try my first Ironman…I was in a lot of pain and discomfort on race day as it did not go as I had planned. I was so sick (with hyponatremia) that I don’t remember the last 8 hours of my race. I don’t remember crossing the finish line (though I know I did as I have pictures and video footage of my finish). I took a couple of years off from Ironman racing, but continued to do triathlons of varying distances.
In 2013 I decided it was time to compete in another Ironman race in 2014. So, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. My only goal for this race…to finish + remember the ENTIRE race. I did just that! When I crossed that finish line, I was SO happy! I enjoyed + remembered my entire day! My passion for endurance sport was only magnified by this experience!
Not only have I persevered through the roller coaster ride that is life, but I have also persevered through the difficult times that training and racing have bestowed on me. I’ve had bad training sessions. I’ve had bad races…even a DNF. I’ve been injured…resulting in a DNS. I’ve overcome mechanical issues. I’ve overcome physical obstacles. I’ve overcome mental barriers. Through each of these struggles, I’ve persevered.
I continue to dream and chase what lights my fire. I have a dream…qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I will continue to work hard and persevere until I one day cross the start line and finish line of the Ironman World Championships in Kona!
What’s your inspiring story of perseverance? How do you get back up when you fall?