It seems like everyone has a different reason to train for months, devote 4 summer days, and lots of money to compete in a race that takes all day in heat and up and down brutal hills. I thought it would be a bit remiss to not share why I departed from the norm and relative comfort of the Olympic distance circuit. It probably came as a bit of a surprise to my coach, sponsors, competitors and triathlon community. But not to me.
My senior year at GWU I had to take a speech class to fufill a requirement. It was a silly easy-A class meant to teach public speaking. One of our assignments (the one after having to do a speech while sticking out your tounge in front of the entire class), was to deliver a short talk on post graduation goals. I decided to talk about doing an Ironman. No one in the class except for one of my swimming teammates even knew what Ironman meant, so I was sort of happy to take up most of the time requirement just explaining - 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then AN ENTIRE MARATHON, to the gasps of my classmates. That was in 1997.
In 2004, the year that Nina Kraft specatcularly crushed the field in Kona (unfortunately, cheating her way to it) my grandfather and biggest fan was living out his last few days in a hospital. Bec and I stole away to the computer (no smartphones, no ipads) throughout the day to check on race uptdates. It was a distraction but it was also so inspiring to follow her progress. We were cheering at the screen. In all that was happnening around us, I remember thinking that my grandfather would want me to do that someday.
So, when the Ironman in NY was announced I knew it was my chance. I couldn't have asked for a better debut. I would have liked to place a bit higher, but, in the end I felt great, enjoyed the entire day and got to high five my dad as I sprinted down the finish chute. Yep, sprinted - who does that at the end of a marathon?? Remarkably, I wasn't even tired or sore when I was done. I know that probably means I didn't race hard enough or anywhere near my potential. But, what really mattered to me in this race was to finish with a smile and a fast run. I did both.
I have a list of thank yous a mile long...my family, my sponsors, everyone who cheered for me, my competitors, the volunteers who gave me water and ice...which will get its own seperate post. Everyone who does these races knows it's not a solo effort.
Stay tuned for more details on the race!