Sport has taught me more about life than I ever envisioned. Who knew lacing shoes would open up so many doors of opportunity and teach me lessons about life that otherwise may have been left unknown. I had just one goal for Ironman CDA, to come home in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. All of which would mean I finish the course, one that once quit, and KONA.
The amount of notes I get telling me how lucky I am to have sponsors fly me all over the world to swim, bike, and run could fill a shoe box. Little do they know, that is not how it works for me, I have been given a bike, shoes, gels, swim suits, and an opportunity. The rest is up to me. While I'm so thankful, the harsh reality of chasing a dream always catches up to me. My dream is to race Ironman Hawaii this year, after sitting out the last 2 seasons because I was too financially challenged to chase the points us pros need to qualify. The thought to retire sport and go back to teaching, a much more knowing income did entertain me, but greater than the question to take an easier path has been those in my life that just believe with me...
My friend Tammy help fly me to Idaho, Robyn and her Family took me into their home, and I was in position to grab points for Hawaii. A top 3 would seal the deal and I was near certain I'd then be on the start line in October, no more need to wonder what race next and how. Done deal. That made my race plan simple. Be smart, but when you need to be brave, be that...
Bravery sometimes looks like stupidity to those that have yet to understand or be brave in their own lives. My race went like this....
A very cold swim, but I was smart. I used the first loop to warm up and hung on to feet, the second loop I felt right at home and passed one of the girls in our little pack to run up the beach in 2nd. It felt easy, it was safe. On the bike I rode my own ride, let Heather go knowing she was on a mission to undo some damage that was done to her on the course last year. A little pay backs. Watching her was my own personal inspiration for my mission too. Humbled, she was so far out of any woman's league Sunday. Riding in 2nd till nearly the end of the 112 mile bike, it was time to run. I felt great, it felt like wings grew passing mile one, knowing the last time I was on this course I didn't even make it that far.
Running in 3rd, holding strong and feeling good, better runners than me were gaining. And so, the time to be smart, what I felt all day, grew into the time to be brave. I ran as fast as I could up a hill trying to chase down the girl who just over took my 3rd place, and I blew up. Just like that I crashed and tumbled. It may have been dumb, but it would have been horrible to land back in Kona, with a safe 4th or even 5th place, and wonder, "What if I ran hard, what if I tried?". I went for the goal and blew up. It was the only way I thought I could hold a chance to grab all the points I needed, playing it safe works sometimes, but not when you have just this one chance.
I finished 7th. And while it did move me up to 32nd female pro of the 35 they will take to Ironman Hawaii. It is such an unsafe place to be. 21 races left in our season, points will change us girls with each race we do or don't do. That means I still need another race other than my Philippines 70.3 (that has thankfully been all set & paid for). Back to the drawing board leaves me wondering now...how and where and when.
Onto more thrilling parts, the giant hill we run up and over 4 times has a lot to do with the courage I grew out on that marathon. The support that has been given to me is by far some of the most beautiful gifts in my life. Thank you to the little town of CDA for the cheers, the spankings, the water hoses, the dancing girls, all the fun 140.6 miles could hold.
Thank you too, to this man that made me run, and never walk, no matter how much pain I was in. Knowing the longer I was out there meant the more time I would have to put up with that speedo was enough to keep me shuffling. Congrats to his wife too., on her Ironman finish. Visit them in AZ at Cadence Running Company if you need help running (or new shoes & speedos).
Now that I'm one more flight from home, I can officially say, I want to go back. Everything about Idaho became very special to me. In some ways I grew confidence that probably was buried a little deeper than it should have been. It took finishing I once started, chasing a dream, and good people to make it all possible...good boots help too!
After the race was all fun and games, because there was still much to celebrate. My homestay family took me on the boat for cliff jumps and freezing. It took my breath away to be back in that lake without a wetsuit, but I highly recommend it if you ever land in position to shock the piss out of yourself!!
AS for my thank yous, the list is really, really long. I think I'll write them all out tomorrow. For now (since the airplane woman is telling me I have to board), I really want to thank Robyn, Rick, Alex, and Ben. Your family is beautiful and I am so thankful for you... thank you!!