It was June 2016 when I saw two of my friends finish their journey at 70.3 Ironman Coeur d’Alene. It was there that I saw athletes of all sizes, shapes and ages finish and the fire was lit. Standing next to me at that moment was my husband and he knew, immediately, that I was going to go on my own journey to the finish line at the end of a red carpet at an Ironman. We both knew that finishing was the ultimate goal and that I will not quit.
In September of 206 I committed to racing Coeur d’Alene 70.3 From that day until the spring of 2017 I trained, on my own, for the Troika, an Olympic distance triathlon, held at Medial Lake, Washington. I was looking forward to taking my first step toward that coveted red carpet, but things didn’t go as I had planned or hoped. I never got to that finish line at the Troika Triathlon as I had DNF’d (did not finish) after being pulled from the swim. In that moment I fell, literally, into the arms of my soon to be coach, Robin DeRuwe. We decided to push the 70.3 CdA until 2018 and give myself time to train and have a few successful races under my belt. I also told myself that I will not quit despite any other setbacks or failures that come my way.
Nutrition Is An Achilles heel
Swim, bike and run are not a problem but the 4th discipline of triathlon, nutrition, is my achilles heel. Despite receiving coaching and being informed of what I need to do, I almost always under and the over estimate my needs. I can’t put my finger on it but I’m not as dedicated to this aspect as I am to the training components of the sport.
I will say that I am also a person who compares. This gets me in trouble because I let fear take over and that stops me in my tracks. I know that fear is a liar. Is my tribe younger than me? Yes, and I know that as well. I also know that I need to hydrate and feed my body and yet I still struggle with these things. The mental battle of this sport is constant for me.
Overcome Fears and Comparisons
These fears and comparisons are why I stated, out loud, to the world and beyond that 70.3 at Coeur d’Alene was going to be the goal. There was not a chance that I would go after the 140.6 distance. Wasn’t going to happen, but then another thing happened. I met a teammate for dinner, which included wine, and that decision was reversed. Seems that Pinot Gris gave me some courage and allowed me to make a brilliant decision.
I chose to race at Ironman Cozumel but Coach DeRuw put her foot down and said ‘absolutely not.’ Her insight into that race was stronger than that last glass of wine and we decided that racing at Ironman Arizona would be a better decision for me. That is How I Got Started down the path of racing the 140.6 distance at Ironman Arizona.
The next step was to volunteer. In June of 2017, I traveled to CdA to watch the 70.3 race unfold but to also gain invaluable experience. I had a blast and volunteering fanned the flame to be a finisher. At that moment, I knew I wasn’t ready to race but I could tell that the desire and motivation was bubbling inside of me and I could not wait to get started with my training.
I Will Not Quit
The start of training was going well. I was building fitness and confidence when I had a tumble on the treadmill. I was angry and disappointed in myself but I thought to myself that I will not quit. Not much later, I fell again. This time it was in December and I thought to myself that my race was in June so this wasn’t that big of a deal. That is not to say that I wasn’t terrified, because I was, but I had no quit in me.
It was February 2018 and while on vacation in Hawaii, I rented a bike because I was determined to have a successful training cycle and to finally see that finish line at the end of the red carpet. While there, I went swimming in a pool and also rode the rental bike. I would ride and run up and down the hills according to my training plan. When I got back from my trip the training continued and prior to racing the 70.3 at CdA I went back to Troika. I knew this is where my journey started and I wanted to turn that DNF into a medal. When I crossed the finish line my mental strength went up a few notches. I can do this.
Confidence Led To Success
In June 2018, I lined up and was ready to take on 70.3 CdA. Having the confidence from racing and finishing Troika, I was determined to make a good showing in Coeur d’Alene. Sure enough that showing resulted in me achieving an age group award and walking on air for a weeks afterward. That race rolled into the rest of 2018 and I had a successful racing year.
During 2019 and the start of 2020 I competed in a few events so that I could keep motivated and focus on the big goal of Ironman Arizona. As we all know, 2020 didn’t unfold as we had expected but I did commit to racing Ironman Arizona in 2021 (there may have been some wine involved!)
IMAZ Is Almost Here
Ironman Arizona is a few months away and the training is going well. Despite another fall in May of this year, I will not stay down. I’m going forward and I will not quit. I have a sinister mantra that fuels me. The mantra is: You’re in the terrible too’s: Too old, too fat, too slow. I think about that mantra and breathe, narrow my focus, get up and go because that finish line is waiting for me to cross it.
From a visit to a race to spectate, to volunteering at a race to now training for Ironman Arizona this journey has been amazing. I look forward to starting the race and while it makes me nervous, it also lets me know that I am alive. See you soon on the Red Carpet!!!