“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” ~Mandy Hale
I’m not really sure where to begin with this…the beginning, middle, or end. I guess it depends on what you want to hear, so the beginning is where I’ll begin. If you want the cliff notes version, skip to the end 😉
My focus word for 2019 is EXPLORE and when I picked this word, I had NO idea just where it would take me, but I’m so grateful for the journey it has taken me on this year. If you’ve been following my blog, EXPLORE is definitely the perfect word for my 2019 journey. I have changed careers, had some tough conversations with those that I love which has brought me so much freedom + space, and have created lots of amazing memories. Ironman Lake Placid did not disappoint as I #explored and #discovered so much about who I am and who I want to be to live my absolute best life.
Swim: 1:16:52 (1:59/100 m or 1:48/100 yards) PR
The Iron Hippie and I lined up just behind the 1:21-1:30 finish time. As we approached the shore, the pro men were coming out of the water finishing their first 1.2 mile loop and heading back out for loop #2. When I crossed the starting mat, I had open water and was in very little contact with other swimmers during the first loop. I came out of the water right where I was aiming for at the end of my first loop.
As I entered the water for loop #2, I encountered a bit more physical contact in the water, so I made my way to the inside of the buoys where the water was much cleaner. I went outside of the two turn buoys on the far end of the course, and then back to the inside line for my return back to the shore. With the underwater cable, this was perfect for sighting and swimming a straight line! My second loop was a tad bit slower than I was aiming for, but with more physical contact on the second loop, I had to fight more to get around slower people in front of me.
As I entered the transition area, I saw a social media friend! Erin and I quickly exchanged hugs before heading into the change tent. Thank you for lifting me up in that moment Erin! ❤ I flew solo in the change tent as the volunteers were all helping other ladies. I briefly struggled getting my aero top on over my wet body, but quickly made my way to Mojo so we could head out on the bike and start our 112 mile journey.
Bike: 7:48:38 (average speed = 14.34 mph)
This is the place where things changed. Not only did my legs feel like lead from the start, but my mind went back to those tough conversations and the freedom + space I’ve gained through having those conversations. When you ride 112 miles, it gives you A LOT of time to think, process your thoughts, and make sense of your true feelings. I asked myself multiple times “why” am I doing this? Not the superficial why, but the deep down to the depths of your soul why. I knew my superficial why, but this was not the answer I was truly seeking on this day. Ironman finds a way of stripping you down to nothing, exposing your true self, and helping you discover who you really are on a daily basis. As I was being stripped down to nothing during the 112 mile bike portion of the race, I came to the revelation that I have been using Ironman training and racing (and marathon training/racing before that) as a coping mechanism. Taking all of the negative energy I have been holding on to for 35+ years and putting that negative energy into something I could control. Something that gave me my power back. Something that taught me I am worth so much more than I have given myself credit for. Something that has taught me to believe in myself. Something that has taught me to obliterate self doubt that has been holding me back…not just in my athletic endeavors, but in all areas of my life. Something that has given me a gift…the gift to figure out who I am and who I want to be.
At about mile 50, the Iron Hippie went by me on the bike. By this point, I had already decided that I was going to pull out of the race at mile 56 when I got back into town. I had nothing left to prove; I realized I was racing Ironman and chasing someone else’s dreams for all the wrong reasons. Using it as a way to channel the negative energy that I no longer truly possessed was not the reason I wanted to be racing Ironman. The first 50 miles allowed me to open my eyes and heart. Racing Ironman distance triathlon is not something I truly want to do when it perpetuates those negative feelings. It is time to let go of the hurt and negativity. I knew I wanted to support the Iron Hippie and do whatever I could to ensure he had the best race possible and finished strong. His journey to the start line of Ironman Lake Placid has been less than ideal. I was planning to put my bike back in transition, turn in my chip, change clothes, and cheer him on from the sidelines. In those last 6 miles of the first loop on the bike before returning to town, I came to the realization that I needed to keep going so that I could finish with him and support him while being beside him. I knew I could catch him on the run as his longest run prior to this race was 10 miles (running 5 minutes/walking 1 minute) one week before the race due to having his knee scoped in February.
So, I came into town, swapped out my bike bottles at special needs and headed out for loop #2. I felt so relieved knowing that this race was my Ironman swan song centered around negative energy and would no longer be used as a coping mechanism. I decided in those moments wasn’t going to do another Ironman unless I one day found a joyful, positive reason for doing it. I knew deep down to the depths of my soul that I really didn’t want to do another Ironman for all of the wrong reasons and this was my last one for all the wrong reasons. I kept pushing forward (even through the 10 minute heavy down pour). As I came back to town, the crowds carried us up the bears and into transition.
I handed off Mojo to a volunteer (these volunteers are truly amazing!), grabbed my run bag and headed to the change tent where I again flew solo because all of the volunteers were helping other athletes.
Run: 6:17:00 (14:23/mile)
As I left T2, I saw our friend Carol and she told me the Iron Hippie was only 4 minutes ahead of me on the run. I talked with her for a few minutes telling her about the revelations I came to on the bike and then hunted down my fave!
I caught him between mile 2 and mile 3 of the run. As we continued to run/walk for a bit, I told him about everything I was thinking, the relief I was feeling about not doing another Ironman for all of the wrong reasons, and how I wanted to support him in whatever future races and adventures he decided to do. We saw lots of friends and family as we continued to make forward progress.
As our run/walk became more of a walk, we talked about so many things. It was so nice to have this time together.
Ironman Lake Placid was my Ironman swan song centered around negative energy and for all the wrong reasons. Maybe someday I will do another Ironman, but it has to be centered around joy positive energy, and for all of the right reasons. This is not letting go of a dream, but having the courage to let go of past demons and start on a new path where I follow my heart and live more freely. As I close this chapter of my life I am grateful for the freedom + space it has provided me and the lessons it has taught me. I’m not sure what the next chapter has in store for me, but I know it will still include swim/bike/run as I strive to find a better balance. I have learned lessons that have shaped me and will continue to do so in the future, and I am so grateful for every moment. I feel relieved. I will continue to be a part of Ironman as a volunteer and spectator. I love giving back to others, supporting them on their journey, and watching them cross the finish line. Ironman Lake Placid gave me a gift! It gave me the feeling of freedom! It gave me the awareness + focus to discover myself anew! It gave me an opportunity to recreate my “why”! It opened my eyes + heart, teaching me that it is time to live my life instead of survive it!
I couldn’t have gotten where I am without help and support from others. It takes a village and I am so grateful to have an amazing village supporting me!
- To my Coeur Sports family for their amazing support and for creating top of the line kits + gear!
- To Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy and ready to tackle everything that came my way.
- To SBR Sports, Inc. for the best anti-chaffing lube on the market!
- To Nick at Vitality Massage for helping to keep my body physically read to handle the next challenge.
- To Chris with Team Chiropractic for helping to “fix” all of the nagging aches and pains; preventing them from turning into injuries.
- To Coach Kelly with Ever Racing for customizing my plan and helping me become the fittest and strongest version of myself.
- To my Dad, Aunt Linda, and Cousin Neal for making the trip to Lake Placid to cheer us on and photograph the day.
- To my parents for their unwavering love and support in life and sport. I love you both more than you can possibly know.
- To my Fave for always being by my side through the easy + challenging times; encouraging me, supporting me, and always helping me become the best version of myself. I love you to infinity and beyond!