For sure this time around has been completely different than my first in 2008. Although I signed up almost a year ago....not sure the reality hit me until a few weeks into my training. I'm not sure I was 100% into it in the beginning and was full of self doubt. One day and one event made me realize that more than before....I needed to do this race.....mainly because I CAN!!!
I consider myself lucky that I get to "torture" my mind, body, and soul by choice. The training hours and commitment can often seem grueling and not so fun! However, this is how I enjoy spending my free time the most. I learn more about myself through this training process.....or perhaps I just have more time to spend with my thoughts on those 5-7 hour bike rides. Ironman training alone is very rewarding for me in many aspects. Again, I appreciate life and those around me more than ever. I'm truly surrounded by love, laughter, and fun almost everyday. I'm so thankful for my family, family members and friends (near and far). However, more than ever, this training season has been consistently impacted and/or driven by some amazing women that inspire me every day and more often when I'm having a "hard" day. My "hard" days seem frivolous and really are compared to a hard day for these women.
Cancer hit too close to home as it found it's way into the body of two very dear friends. It was hard not to think of these women just in my everyday life but while training, for some reason, it gives me even a more powerful perspective. A greater appreciation for everything...and for what not to take for granted. I know I've been guilty of taking life and people for granted at one point or another. Another friend, has a mom with ALS and it's recently progressed to where her mom can not walk or stand on her own. I hate what these close friends and their loved ones are facing in their lives....not fair for any of them. Now, with two weeks away from my ironman race, I have to thank these courageous women for showing me strength and amazing spirit like I've never seen before. So unaware these women have helped me accomplish a goal I set out to do (yes, for fun) but still found myself struggling to accomplish it. So it had to be bigger than Ironman and now it is.
With a heavy heart, but yet strengthened because of these inspiring women, I will, in their honor, face a long grueling attempt at another Ironman race on June 27, 2010. I will swim 2.4, bike 112, and, run 26.2 miles within a 17 hour period because, for now, I CAN!