To be an Ironman is to be the ultimate badass.
Ever since I can remember, this is the story I’ve told myself. Growing up as a competitive swimmer and runner, I admired those that could put it all together for 140.6 miles and wanted to join their company someday.
Think about it. What other event in sports tests the body like the Ironman? Swimming 2.4, biking 112 and running 26.2 miles over an eleven to seventeen hour span for most mortals.
I never quite envisioned I would be gnawing on this enormous elephant at the age of 36 with four little ones, their ridiculous sports schedules, and a full time job of my own. But hey - I figured I wouldn’t be getting any younger.
So I decided to make it happen.
Maybe it’s the fact that when you are an athlete, it never leaves your blood and you miss the competition. Or maybe it’s the fact that as moms, everything we do is about someone else. It might even be that you thrive on setting an enormous goal and achieving it. I think it’s safe to say that all played a part in my decision to troll the Ironman website in the fall of 2017.
I asked my husband (Bryan) if I could pay the $700 and do it. His immediately said, “I don’t give a shit as long as you promise me you’ll be committed.” From that moment, he had my commitment and I had his. If you have dreams of Ironman… take some advice here. It’s critical for your partner/spouse/family to understand the demands of training and be fully on board with the decision.
Fast forward to early 2018 when I broke some toes when I tripped over a damn toy in the dark. I wasn’t able to run, but tried my best to get in the pool five days a week. I hopped on the bike here and there for 10 miles, but I was clueless as to what it really would take to train and race an Ironman. As my toes healed, I felt like I needed some help. If I was serious about this and really wanted to do my best, I needed a coach. In the sport of triathlon, there is a tremendous amount of learning that happens. Not only is your swim, bike, and run important but the gear, heart rate, training plan and nutrition needed are equally critical.
By this time I was swimming with the Master’s Swim Team out of O’Fallon, MO two mornings before work. I’d developed a bond with a Tori Hamill. She had competed in a number of triathlons, knew her stuff and happened to be a Tri coach. So that was it… I connected with Evolve, felt confident in their program, and became a study.
On June 1, 2018 shit got real. I checked Training Peaks for the first time to see the workout plan for the week and about died. Thank goodness for Tori and the Evolve staff because I wasn’t doing nearly enough. I thought my 10 mile bike ride was cutting it, and then I did 50, and 100 miles.
With four kids and a full time job, I’m sometimes up at 3 am to get on the trainer in an effort to fit it all in. I’m lucky to have the most amazing husband that steps up to help get the kids where they need to be on longer training days (I told you you’d need that support).
Here’s the thing… we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s a choice about how you wish to spend it. I laugh when people say they don’t have time. That’s a bullshit excuse they’ve told themselves over and over until they believe it. Whatever your goal in life, it’s important to maintain focus to see it through. If that means you wake up earlier or skip that happy hour after work – so be it.
I’ve trained more hours than I can count. While it’s personally rewarding getting physically and mentally stronger – I’m most proud of what it’s doing for my kids. They saw me struggle on the bike in my first race, and they’ve seen me work my ass off to get faster. They understand what it means to establish a goal and work each and every day to make sure you achieve it. The oldest girls competed in two triathlons this summer as they develop active lifestyles of their own.
My family tends to be a bit competitive, so it’s normal for my kids to ask “did you win” after a race. Though I won’t be crossing the finish line first this October, I will absolutely be able to say, “yes I did win! Your mommy is an Ironman!”