I started running 16 years ago because I had 3 young children and I needed an excuse to get out of the house. I ran for a year before I told ANYBODY what I was doing (truth be told, I had NO idea what I was doing). I timidly mentioned to a friend that I regularly ran a 6 mile loop on the weekends. She promptly suggested we sign up for a race (she was an experienced endurance runner). I tried to beg off, saying I wasn’t really interested in running in front of other people. She countered with “It will be a weekend away from your kids. I’ll pay for the hotel. The race is at Disney.” I signed up without even asking the distance.
This Is Truly Magical
Twelve weeks later had me running my first official race. It was a 15K at Walt Disney World – the now defunct Minnie Marathon. I remember watching the sun rise in the sky as we ran through the EPCOT and thought “this is truly magical”. And a runner was born. It would take years before I thought of myself as a “runner” though. I continued to sign up for races and learn as I went along.
Sure! Why Not?
Several years after that first race, the same friend voiced to me her desire to complete an Ironman. I didn’t know how to swim, and didn’t own a bike. . .but for some reason said “Sure! Why not?” She found me a Craig’s List hand-me-down bike, we joined a community pool. We completed a Sprint and Oly distance. . .then I got pregnant with baby #5, followed shortly by baby #6. So our plans went on hold. When the youngest was 11 months old, we volunteered for Ironman Florida and secured our spots the next day.
I’m Doing It Again
We spent the next year being students of the game. I hired a coach, she used a book plan – and somehow we both made it to the start line a year later. It was another magical day. It was so hard and scary all at once. But I had so much fun. As soon as I crossed the finish line I thought “I can’t wait to do that again.”
It has taken me FIVE years to get to another full Ironman start line, but on September 26th, I will be at that start line in Chattanooga – super excited to complete my second full Ironman race.