Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I’m officially on winter break for the next few days and I couldn’t be more excited!
Since I’m gearing up to write a recap about my Ironman experience, I first wanted to give you guys some background about my racing history. I’ll be following up with some more in-depth posts about a few of these events, but I just wanted to show where I started and that Ironman wasn’t something that came easily to me.
I moved to Kansas City in 2008 without knowing a soul. I made friends (and got a cat!), but had plenty of downtime during the week. I needed a hobby. One day at work, I saw a flyer for a 5k in the break room. I dismissed it immediately because I had never been a runner, but then I couldn’t shake the thought. So, I signed up and started training without a real plan. I just got on the treadmill and tried to run a little more each day. The day of my race, I went out way too fast. I walked some and struggled a lot… but I crossed the finish line in 34:20 and was determined to beat that time.
I loved racing. I signed up for a few more 5ks and a 10k. I also started reading healthy fitness blogs. The first ones I followed were Meals & Miles (the Graduate Meghann) and The Fitnessista. With motivation I found in reading their blogs (and many others), I trained for and ran my first half marathon in May 2010.
Paul had moved to Kansas City in Summer 2009, but he was working long hours and on weekends. I had had plenty of time to train for the half marathon alone. However, like any runner probably knows, I talked about it constantly. I like to think that I wore him down, but I know he had his own motivation. We ran our first race together in the Fall of 2010. By April 2011, he beat me at our first half marathon “together”. I’m still trying to keep up!
Thankfully Paul was hooked. We took the plunge and registered for the Chicago Marathon in 2011. Crossing the finish line, I felt the same way that I did at my first 5k: Pure elation and that gut feeling of ‘I could totally do that FASTER’.
Before I knew what was happening, we had completed a few more marathons. We then signed up for an Olympic triathlon in May 2012 AND for IM Kansas 70.3 (which were just a month apart). Long story short: Don’t do this. The Olympic Tri went well, but the 70.3 did not. I missed the bike cut off by less than 2 minutes and got a big ol’ DNF.
I came away from IM Kansas completely empowered instead of defeated (yes, despite all the crying). I didn’t want to dwell on it and let it get me down. I knew what I did wrong and knew I had to train better. I signed up for a sprint triathlon. I felt strong and confident before the race, but less than a mile into the bike leg, I crashed. Someone walking their bike just stepped right in my path. Everyone involved finished the race, but it really shook me.
Unfortunately, it also absolutely killed my confidence on the bike. I struggled riding outside and REALLY lost it trying to use clipless pedals again. I liked racing, but the crash happened because of something completely outside of my control. Uh, how do I prepare myself for what I can’t predict?
The DNF and crash happened both in June 2012. It was one ROUGH month. I wanted to get serious about triathlon and I needed a plan, guidance and someone to keep me accountable. So, I temporarily hired a coach and set my goals on Redman 70.3 in Sept 2012. I saw some awesome improvements and I got a lot of my confidence back just by spending a lot of time in the saddle (I plan to write a post more in depth about overcoming fear, but I’ll be honest in that I still struggle with riding outside at times). In Sept 2012, I crossed the finish line at Redman a half ironman!
I always knew the ultimate goal was Ironman. Even after my DNF, I only wanted it more and one of the biggest motivators at overcoming my fear of the bike was knowing that I didn’t want to walk away from triathlon. I raced 2 more half iron races in 2013 and then dove head first into Ironman training. Paul and I completed Ironman Arizona in November 2013 and it was one of the very best days of my life.