Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm Not an Athlete. (and 19 days to go!)

I'm not an athlete. I'm not a triathlete either. I never have been and never will be.
It started when I was about 6 or 7... I played t-ball. I had the cutest little red white and blue outfit with those fun little sock stirrup things. Boy was I excited! Well, up until I had to actually play some ball. I was more interested in the flowers and grass than whatever might have been happening in that t-ball game. I got a trophy, and of course loved it but...I'm pretty sure everyone got a trophy regardless if you came in First place...or dead last.

Move forward ... 10-15 years ... Yeah. You know when you get to high school and have to have some sort of physical education in order to graduate??? Yeah, I took P.E. and tried my best to sit out as often as I could. I remember just cringing that day we had to run a mile. I hated it with a passion and was probably one of the last to finish my mile.  I then went into athletic training. Much more my style. Didn't have to run, got to play nurse to the cute football players. All was right in the world!

Let's move ahead to present day. (We'll a few years ago...)

When Denver was diagnosed with NF. Although I knew it was coming...that very day I signed up to run in a half marathon with The Children's Tumor Foundation. Why on this beautiful earth God created would I do such a ridiculous thing? I mean, CERTAINLY there is something out there OTHER than running I could do to raise awareness and funds. SOMETHING other than the thing I despise  most in this world. I chose running. What was I thinking?

Honestly...easiest choice I've ever made. Because it was for Denver.

Jason and I have made it through 7 half marathons together and nearly $45,000 for the Children's Tumor Foundation. Since 2008 We've ran in Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas and Disney. We've had fundraiser after fundraiser and have done awesome! We have trained 7 different times and ran through 7 different finish lines.

None of that can compare to what we're doing now.

IRONMAN training is like nothing I've ever been through. This is flat out the most difficult, trying, strenuous, demanding, emotional and powerful time in my life. It has tested my limits to no end. I have cried more in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years.... I have wanted to quit too many times to count.

Before all of this craziness started almost a year ago, I was not an athlete. Period. Sure, I ran some half marathons. But just barely made it through those.
The furthest I had ever rode my bike was about 6 miles....Once a year on vacation. That's it.
The most you would see me swimming would be floating in a pool while my kids splash around. I had NEVER ever consider swimming as a sport or hobby - and I most definitely would never swim in the ocean.
I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition. When I ran my halves, I had 0% nutrition. I drank a cup of water here and there on the course and that was it. (I felt like poo for days after...)

My oh my, how things have changed. I have learned so much about my limits, about passion and about what total physical and mental exhaustion feels like. I've learned about what strength I have and what strength I don't have. I've learned that no matter what, the love for your child will power over ANYTHING.

I'm struggling terribly believing that I can do this. My mind is fighting my body and telling me this is out of my reach. Telling me to give up and throw in the towel. It would be so easy to call it quits and just be happy with how far I've come. It would be so easy to just give up after 6 months of hard training, long weekends away from my kids and even longer weeks of constant workouts. There are so many lazy weekends at home with the family missed. and too many to list missed girls night out and missed date nights.

 It would be sooooooo easy to give up, because the hardest part about this is to keep pushing on.

But, instead... I keep going. I don't give up.

Easiest decision I've made since 2008 when this whole journey began.

You know what makes it so easy?

This guy....

Never. Give. Up.
Easiest. Decision. Ever.
We're doing this thing in 19 days!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reflections on IRONMAN Camp

This past weekend was IRONMAN Camp... a Training camp that was held in Panama City Beach at the race course. We rode the bike course (minus 5 ish miles), ran the run course (plus 3 ish miles) and swam the swim course. I have mixed emotions on how it went...

We arrived in PCB on Friday afternoon after a long drive from Burleson. We got checked into our hotel and pretty much went right out to the shore to swim in the BIG 'OL Gulf. Now if you've been following me at all you know this is one of my biggest fears, Open water....more so, THE OCEAN! I have an endless fear of deep, open water with waves and creatures. HUGE FEAR! Luckily that day, the water was almost completely calm. It was just as easy as swimming in the lake I've been practicing in. The water was beautiful. I could see the bottom almost the entire time. I swam a little under a mile that first day and I felt GREAT about it. Really great. I thought "I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!!!"

Saturday was our ride. We got on the bikes and started our 108 mile trek. I had been a little sick the night before with an upset tummy so I was not all that excited and it. I barely got any breakfast in me and I couldn't get much of any other nutrition in either. NOT a good thing....
It started out rough simply because of my tummy. I was having trouble getting anything in me including liquids. I pushed through the harsh headwinds and made it to the half way point. I had a little pep talk from my friend and IRONMAN mentor, Angela, had a banana and off to finish it up I went. After that, I slowly started to come around. The headwind was slowly vanishing and I was finally starting to feel better. I ate as much nutrition as I could as fast as I could to try and recover from the first half. I finished in 7:15 (had several stops) and was depleted. Had to follow the bike with a short run and was done for the day. I rode the course with my friend, Sarah and we were both down about the ride. We of course wanted a better time and wanted to feel 100% confidant in ourselves, but did not. FAIL # 1.

Sunday.....OH, Sunday. This must have been a joke from God about me skipping church. A small storm was rolling in and of course we had a swim first thing. The waves were definitely there....and with that all the creepy creatures were coming in too. I got in the water and almost immediately came face first with a jellyfish the size of my head. After we "warmed-up" the swim was on. We swam .25 miles out and back. It seemed like it took me forever to get out there.... Once I finally reached Coach Bob on his paddle board, I was on my way back to shore. It was at that point that I started to panic. I actually may have had a little cry fit bobbing in the Gulf. It was ugly and I wanted to quit right then and there. I wanted to somehow get back to shore and throw all of this hard work away. I wanted to put the last 7 months of training in the trash. I was done. Then Coach Bob comes along. Tells me he's not leaving my side and coached me back. Gave me advice and stroke tips all the way back to shore. I made it back, but that wasn't the end. I had to swim back out past the break and then swim along the shore about .25 miles again. I slowly made it, with a short cry here and there. I had to keep reminding myself WHY I was doing this. I had to remind myself that I was actually swimming in the choppy ocean....and not drowning. I had to pray like no other!!! But I made it. After the swim I was just at a loss. I was really down about how it went and I was honestly wishing for some sort of injury so I couldn't compete in IRONMAN. I cried on the phone to Jason and told him that I didn't think I could do it. It was the lowest I h ave felt through this whole thing. It just stunk! FAIL # 2

A couple hours later we were ready for the run. Of course by then, it was raining. A nice steady nasty misty rain. I was soaked by a mile in and my shoes were sloshing. I honestly felt OK for the run. I was a little low on energy but overall was confidant I would get it all in. HOWEVER.... the rain and my feet DO NOT mix well. I could feel my feet slowly blistering from the wetness. Every step I took got a little more painful - as if I was running on needles. If it were not for that, I would have done great on the run, BUT, this weekend was not about getting more confidant now, was it? Finished the 16 (give or take) miles and was so glad to be done. (It's a 2 loop run course, so we ran it one time with a little extra). FAIL # 3

I went into this weekend with high hopes of totally rocking it. I was hugely wrong. It was the complete opposite of what I thought. We did have some good times, and learned a TON.... but coming home with less confidence than going was not expected.

After a couple days of reflection, I am slowly starting to feel better...
You now what?
I RODE 108 MILES!!!!!!!! WITH and upset tummy...

WOW! It may not be pretty, but I may be able to do this thing in 31 days. (whoa!)
I am truly looking forward to doing this and absolutely can't WAIT until its over!

With just a month left, we have a month left to fund raise! Jason and I have raised $17,450 out of our $20,000 goal! I KNOW we can make it with YOUR help!!!