Monday, November 9, 2015

IRONMAN Florida Race Recap

IRONMAN Florida 2015 has come and gone. Wow. What a ride. It seems like the past year went so very slowly but now looking back, it went by so stinkin fast.

Well, here is my story....

We left for Florida on Tuesday afternoon and drove half way, then completed the trip Wednesday. We were so excited to get there. Such a weird feeling driving into Panama City Beach again. You can certainly feel the excitement that comes with IRONMAN, but for me there is still just this anxious feeling and connection I can't explain.

We got checked into our condo overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and immediately went to get checked in.

IRONMAN Village was like it always is. Lots of spandex and buff people. I remember feeling so out of place last year and still somewhat had that feeling this year.  We got checked in, said our hellos to some of our CTF family and had dinner with part of TEAM DENVER.


Thursday was a packed day. It started off with me being the CTF rep for the IRONMAN athlete panel. Myself and three others (from other organizations) were on a panel that got interviewed by Dave Ragsdale, IRONMAN Florida's official announcer. It was fun and I hope that it brought some awareness to CTF.



After that, we rushed over to the CTF brunch where most of the CTF team was there. We got to meet some new athletes and Denver was able to spend a little time getting to know a couple of his athletes. Ryan and Eric... You guys are awesome and we are so proud to have y'all as part of our family now! Anytime you have a race, let us know and Denver will root for you near or far!

By the way, we were the NUMBER 1 fundraiser for the 2nd year in a row! In total we raised $16,200! This could not have happened without the love and support from all of you. I am overwhelmed with how much friends and family continue to give. You gave money, love, support, words and prayers and we are forever thankful to YOU!

Thursday night was the athlete banquet. It is always great going because it is truly just a bucket of inspiration. You'll go in only running a 5k or perhaps just a couch potato and come out signed up for IRONMAN. (Yep, happened to me in 2013..) CTF was able to make a presentation and show a video I'll post later!

Friday morning was a practice team swim. We went out and the sea was calm...And nice. It was measuring 77.1 degrees and anything above 76.1 would mean wetsuits were "illegal". At first this sounds bad but overall it means unless you want to qualify for Kona (like, you're super fast) you can wear your wetsuit and be ok! We swam one lap with our wetsuits and one without. I had mostly decided to go without my wetsuit and just swim in my trikit. After all, I did that in Cozumel and my swim there ROCKED! When I went to bed the night before, I had it in my head I was swimming wetsuit free. I felt good.


3AM Saturday came quickly. We got up, had a big breakfast and got ready to go. I felt nervous but excited. It was a weird feeling. Very somber and quiet... but my heart was pumping with excitement - UNTIL I looked outside and saw big white caps. Jason tried to tell me that it looked like that every morning but I knew better. The nerves came and the uncertainty hit me like a brick. I got scared and started to think the worse. Jason and I had packed up and at the last minute decided to take our wetsuits with us. Thank the Lord I took it. With less than 30 minutes to go until the race start, I decided to wear my wetsuit and I am so glad I did. I think I just might have washed up onto the beach if I had not.

Since it was technically not wetsuit legal, there were 2 waves. Non-wetsuit participants went first and about 15 minutes later the folks that had on wetsuits went. There was a fairly good group from CTF starting together. Some of my favorites in fact. Jason, myself, Craig, Angela and Tony we're all going into the big angry sea together.

The horn blew and off we went. The second I stepped foot into that ocean I panicked. My heart rate must have shot up like crazy in that very instant. The waves were almost over my head and I was getting beat down pretty hard.
We got through a couple of smaller waves and all the sudden there it was. A wave that was trying to show me who was boss of that ocean. The wave that I had feared since the day I signed up to do this. The one that takes you under and you can't find your way back above the surface. The wave that makes me never want to step foot into the ocean again. I instinctively turned my back to let it pass and I went down. Hard. It knocked me on my face and back to where I started. I was ready to call it quits there. I had a mouth full of salt water, my goggles were pushed aside and I felt like I had already swam 3 miles. 
(this is the non wetsuit group going out. LOOK at that wave...)

A complete stranger picked me up and (kindly) yelled at me to dive through the waves. Jason and Craig were waiting and they too were (kindly) yelling at me to dive through these waves. Im telling you, this is something I had never done. I hated it and was ready to get out of that ocean. A big wave came, I dove. Another...dove again. I wanted to go back so bad. Every time I went under a wave I seriously thought I may not come back up. I wanted to quit. Jason was right beside me and was coaching me through each breaking wave. Craig wasn't leaving either. Those two awesome guys had my back and saved my day. Jason encouraged me to "just keep swimming" and Craig just told me to put my head down and follow his feet. They talked me off the ledge, I put my face in the water and started to follow Craig's bubbles. Im forever thankful for that moment and what Jason and Craig did for me. Once I got going, I did pretty well. I would have to stop and catch my breath here and there and I would also look for Jason. He stayed by my side in that swim. The whole time. Do you know how hard it is to swim with someone with 2500 other people around you? It's not easy but Jason was sure to be there every time I lifted my head to look for him. Before I knew it We were at the first turn, the second turn and at the beach again. Unfortunately we had to go back in for another lap. Getting back out was a little (that word being used lightly) easier. And the second lap went fairly smooth. (Also saying that lightly) I don't think I have ever wanted to be done with something so bad my whole life. I so badly wanted to quit, it crossed my mind more than a couple times...but I also wanted to show that stinky ocean who was boss that day. And I did! I conquered that swim like a boss! Finished it up in 1 hour and 40 minutes. A little slower than I thought but I was ecstatic that I did it.

Running up to transition, it just hit me. I DID IT! I started that swim and I was DONE! Right there, I started sobbing. Like, LOUD-CANT BREATH sobbing. I couldn't even control my emotions. I mean, literally 2 years in the making. All the anxiety, the paralyzingly fear, the crazy thoughts...the training, the practice swims, your prayers, my prayers... That moment was done. That moment that I had worried over, stressed about and prayed over for 2 years was over....I was a mess.
The kind volunteer in the changing tent helped me and consoled me. I am so thankful for every person that helped me in that moment. It was so terrible but i wouldn't have had it any other way. It was perfect.

"Because I, your GOD, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’" Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭13‬ MSG

We got on our bikes and headed out of town. Right out of transition we saw all of our people. First we saw the CTF crew screaming their heads off for us and right after that we saw our family and a few other CTF family. :)
This was the part I was just NOT excited about. I was trained for it...but I absolutely just don't like my bike right now. I think I'm just tired of it. 5, 6.. 7 hours on your bike at a time is just annoying and boring. I also can't stand to eat all of my nutrition anymore so I hate eating while on the bike. I got seriously bored. I also had trouble getting food down. Not because I was feeling sick, but I think my mouth and throat was so dry and nasty from all the salt water I took in, I just couldn't actually get it down and swallow it without gagging. Gross, right??
Compared to last year, the bike was great. The wind was minimal and we had nice cloud cover. At the halfway point some of my favorite CTF girls were there screaming for us! Tara..Carolanne you girls make me so happy and your attitude and joy for life is contagious. I love y'all and absolutely loved that I saw you not once, not twice but like 5 or 6 times on the course!!!


We were off for the last half of the bike. With about 20 miles to go, it started to sprinkle. At first I got a little nervous with the wet roads, but it felt nice. THEN.. It started to pour! It rained pretty hard on us for a good 15 minutes. A lot of people were slowing down, but I kind of just wanted to be done so I sped up and just went for it. The bike really was pretty uneventful. Just boring. I'll take that over mechanical problems, flat tires or a crash. Unfortunately Jason and I weren't able to talk too much due to drafting rules...but knowing he was right behind me the whole time was comforting.
 I cried here and there just when I started to think about the day and what was happening. I felt the prayers. I felt good and I was so excited to be there. The bike took us 7 hours and 27 minutes. I wanted it to be a little faster, but I can't complain when I just simply finish the ride safely. We rounded the final corner back into town and saw all our people again. It was so much fun seeing everyone so often. Having such a big group there was awesome!
Transition 2 went much better than the first. I didn't cry this time. Got changed and off we went.



Coming out of transition my legs felt like they were done. I knew that all the CTF peeps and our family were right around the corner so Jason and I were just taking it slow to take it all in. We said our hellos. Gave hugs and kisses and we were off for our first 13.1 lap. Waist up, I felt good... But my legs were screaming. They weren't happy and I didn't want to run. But Jason made me. It was dark by 5:00 pm there so it really messed with my head. I figured we would be going until midnight...use my full 17 hours but Jason brought it to my attention that we could pull this off in under 16 hours, he was pushing me to get a 15:30 time. I didn't think that was possible because of the way my legs felt. Fortunately, my training started to pay off. I started to feel better as the night went on. Jason and I were on a walk run schedule. We would walk...when I wanted to. Ha!


We actually had a great pace and schedule. Running for a short amount of time then walking. It's amazing how quickly the first lap went. I couldn't believe how good we were doing and feeling. I was only eating the nutrition off the course because anytime I tried to eat my nutrition I was gagging. But I'll tell you. I thoroughly enjoyed the potato chips, cookies, pretzels, Coke and ice water and oranges. And we found one aid station with Popsicles and it was the best stinkin Popsicle I ever had in my life! Towards the end of the run Jason and I were running more than we were walking. It was late-ish so a lot of the folks out there were walking - it felt good to pass people. I'm not usually a passer, I'm usually the pass-ee. Got the first lap done and the second lap was all we had left. Once we headed back out to the park I knew we were good to go. I still felt good and was ready to finish this thing once and for all. We hit the 18 mile mark and I was ready to get it! 18 miles was where I dropped out in Cozumel. I KNEW that I was finishing this thing. I still had over 2 hours to finish up 7 miles. The closer we got to town the more excited we got. We could begin to hear the music and every now and then I would get a small glimpse of the announcers voice. 2 miles to go and it started raining on us again. I hate running in the rain...it seems that everything I was afraid of happened that day. But it was downright awesome.
I secretly cried a little then...Just for a second though. I was exhausted and the reality of the day was setting in.
My excitement and adrenaline quickly stepped in and Jason and I took off for the finish line.

And there it was. I had seen it before, but this time it was real. I completed my journey. That light at the end of the amazing red carpet with the cute little M-dot...that was it. Jason and I (escorted on the side by the fabulous Carolanne again) took it in. Saw the CTF peeps SCREAMING and there it was....

"Jason and Katy Wakin, coming in together. 
YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!"

The second we crossed the finish line I saw Denver reaching over the gate for me. I ran strait to him and gave him the biggest hug. And right beside him was the rest of our family. All of them just completely as excited for us as we were to be done.
Amazing. Simply amazing.

What an incredible journey. From the grueling training starting in March 2014 to the disappointment of the cancellation of the swim last year to the heartbreak of not finishing in Cozumel... It all led up to that moment.
And it was absolutely perfect. Every single moment of that day was perfect. I'm so thankful that Jason was by my side 100% of the time. He is my rock and I would not have wanted to do this any other way.

My love and thanks of course to Jason. But also to our family for being so supportive. For following us for two years through this crazy journey. For supporting us 100% and loving us through think and thin.

To all of YOU who have supported and encouraged us for the past 2 years. For those that continue to give to the Children's Tumor Foundation in hopes to find a cure for NF. For your continued prayers and for your prayers on race day.

To the amazing men that joined TEAM DENVER and made their IRONMAN dreams even bigger than they are. Thank you. Each of you have been such a huge part of this and I can't imagine have doing this without you and your families. You made this journey of ours complete and now I know that "everything happens for a reason"

God surely knew what He was doing when he put that first little thought in my head 2 years ago. We've made incredible lifelong friends along the way and Jason and I have become 110% closer than we've ever been. I laugh when I see the signs that say "if you're still married, you didn't train hard enough."
We have learned so much about each other, our relationship, friendships and how seriously amazing God is.

This journey may be over but the joy that's after the finish line last forever.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭10‬

Monday, November 2, 2015

Here We Go...It's RACE WEEK

Putting into words how I'm feeling going into my THIRD IRONMAN is quite challenging. From starting off last year doing this one alone to having an amazing team of 6 from right here in Burleson all doing this together is strait up crazy!
I cry at the drop of a hat from the gratitude I have for this team. (and shear exhaustion) My thanks and pure admiration and love for the guys that have joined Team Denver, fund-raised and given their all is beyond words.

Thank you to all of you who have continued to pray for and support us throughout this journey. It has been a crazy and totally unexpected twist to life I would not change for anything!

As far as tracking us on Saturday, there are a couple of apps you can download... IronTrack, IM Trackr... My family uses IMTrackr from the app store - it sends push notifications.

OR, you can just go to www.IRONMAN.com click on Live Coverage and then Ironman Florida. You can the search by our last name (Wakin) or BIB number which is 463 (me) or 500 (jason). We'll be together the whole time.  I hope you can stay up until midnight with me!! 
My request...pray for us this week as we prepare for IRONMAN Florida:

-pray for strength as we get ready for race day. For continued health and endurance until we reach that finish line.
-pray for amazing weather on race day. For a calm, happy ocean swim and for the wind to also be calm and (somewhat) quiet.
-pray for each of us to overcome stress and anxieties we may have (me...ocean swim...)
-pray for our bodies - to withstand the stress they will endure ALL DAY. For our feet to stay strong, our joints and bones to be pain free and our legs to carry us to the finish.
-pray for our minds to stay clear and positive. It's such a mental thing especially after you've been going all day. Just pray that each of us can overcome them mentality of the "Q" word at any point.

I'm doing this not just to (finally-and hopefully) get my official full ironman.
I'm doing this for my kids.
For Denver who has this...disorder he didn't ask for.
This kid is a champion and NF doesn't own him. He owns it and is proud.
Sometimes he's scared. Sometimes he's anxious.
But most times, he is just Denver.
I'm doing this because there is so much awareness happening. There has been almost $30,000 raised by TEAM DENVER this year alone.
I'm doing this because there's still not a cure or effective treatment for my boy.
I'm doing this for Brita. I'm doing it because she is watching me. She is watching this warrior mama fight my way to the finish.
She watches me cry.
She watches me struggle.
She watches me and she sees me NOT GIVING UP.
Both of my kids are watching like eagles as we do this - and I will never quit.

If you want to help us get to our fundraising goal... CLICK HERE (we're about $10k away...)

 I can FEEEEEEEEL the goodness of Jesus welling up inside of me, roaring to go. I'm nervous yet content. Scared yet confidant. Thank you for your support and most importantly your prayers - keep them coming!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

17 days to go

I am in some sort of disbelief that IRONMAN Florida is just a VERY short 17 days away. Two weeks from today we will be in Florida getting ready for race day. Like last year, it's a surreal feeling. I mean, in 17 days I will be participating in my THIRD FULL DISTANCE IRONMAN TRIATHLON. That's 140.6 miles (maybe closer to 141 because I can't swim in a strait line....).
140.6 miles in ONE DAY.
 I love this picture. It was right when we saw my dad and Denver waiting for us.

I definitely have mixed feeling about this....again. It's so weird to me. I don't quite think it has settled into my brain that I will be doing IRONMAN again. I've been so busy and non-stop that I haven't even had time to think about Florida being just 2 weeks away! Training has been different, the team has been different...it has all been so different.
There is one side of me that is calm and collected. The side that knows I put in countless hours in the pool, over 400 miles of running and over 2,000 miles on the bike. This side of me KNOWS I put the time and hard work into this thing and that my body is able to do this. This side of me pictures that finish line in my future and has confidence that I'll see it.

This side of me that KNOWS quitting is NOT an option.
THEN, there is the side of me that thinks at some point, I'm going to fail. That voice in my brain that tells me I'm not a swimmer, I'm not a biker and I'm a runner. The side that tells me there is no way I'm going to finish. The side that is scared. SO fearful of the entire thing. Its always been a battle to overtake that little voice, but thankfully with a lot of prayer (FROM YOU-PLEASE continue) it is slowly turning into a slight whisper. 
I know as hard as I fight, I will always have a little whisper saying:
"Was it enough? You're not strong enough for this."
Either way, November 7th  is quickly approaching and its going to be here to slap me in the face before I know it. I've learned more than I've imagined through this process. I can actually run - like far. And I actually feel good afterwards. I've learned that you CAN NOT do something like this on your own. Without Jason, Sarah and the rest of TEAM DENVER.... I definately wouldn't be doing this. 
I've learned LITERALLY that "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH."
I've learned that you can grow with Christ through anything - and if you stop and listen to Him, He will always say "I HAVE YOU."
I have learned that my body is a machine and if I can push through the mentality of "I CAN'T" - I can finish anything. Although this may be my 3rd IRONMAN, I am still just as nervous as day 1. I still have a hundred insecurities and I am still afraid of that stinkin' ocean - I think I will always be that way.
Please continue to pray for us for the next 2 weeks as we continue to prepare for this. Pray for calm waters (SERIOUSLY CALM!) and gentle winds (be nice to us, wind) - this is HUGE. Pray for a good and calm swim for me. I always tend to get nervous and panicky. My heart-rate rises and I can't catch my breath making it very difficult to actually swim. Also pray for our bodies to be healthy and strong and that we get enough nutrition to last us the entire day. Pray for our mentality and that the "Q" word never enters my mind. And Pray for TEAM DENVER - that all of us finish with our heads high and hearts full!!!!
Coming up to race day, I am still trying to reach my goal of $25,000. Right now we are at $15,000 (Whats a measly $10,000 more, right?)... I know 25k is a long shot, but every bit counts! Would LOVE your support!

DONATE HERE!

Friday, September 18, 2015

IRONMAN camp

With less than 2 months to go, this journey is getting more and more real everyday. 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 10 ish miles), ran part of the run course and swam the swim course. I went last year as well, and what a difference a year makes.

We arrived in PCB about 1 am after a long drive on Friday. Saturday was somewhat of a rest day. We had the opportunity to just relax and enjoy the view a little bit...and get a few errands done. Driving into PCB was a little surreal. It brought back a flow of emotions and I had no idea what to think. This battle with IRONMAN isn't over.

Sunday was the bike ride. There were 7 of us there doing the course. Angela (a fellow NF mom and friend), myself and 5 other (fantastic) guys. We rode the entire bike course, minus one out and back stretch. Ever since Cozumel I have struggled on the bike. It may be all in my mind since Cozumel kicked my butt to the shore and left me to rot...but last year I was thinking my bike was my strength and this year I feel like it is my weakness.  The weather was nice with a slight north wind. Heading out of town was a challenge, but we got through it. Overall...the bike ride was not bad. I hit my nutrition on the nose and actually averaged a pace that I've not ever done before. All-in-all...it was a good ride. I felt pretty good afterward, other than my legs feeling like bricks when I tried to run right off the bike - definitely a weird transition.

This was me at about mile 50, I had to send a picture to Jason....I was actually enjoying myself.
 And this is Angela and I with about 15 miles to go...we were getting tired.

Monday was the big day... 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. A fear so big, I found myself bobbing in the ocean last year at camp, SOBBING. A big ugly crying fit that almost made me quit IRONMAN right then and there. I didn't know I could cry so hard from being so petrified with fear.
Luckily this year, the water was almost completely calm. A small current, but it was almost lake like, plus a few creepy creatures. We ended up swimming 1.2 miles (half the distance of IRONMAN) and I felt pretty good. Yes, I panicked a little and yes I saw some creatures. I actually got stung by a jelly fish, I stepped on a crab and he pinched my toe and I saw a few sting rays (pretty cool). I also darted a ton of jellyfish. YUCK! My coach may have just been being nice, but he said it was a big improvement from last year. At least I wasn't throwing a fit in the midle of the ocean this time. I'd call that a plus!  The water was beautiful. I could see the bottom almost the entire time - now to do that same thing twice with 3,000 of my closets ironman friends.

I swam in that...
  
Our IRONMAN Camp team! Great people!

Shortly after the swim Angela and I took off on the run. Somehow running has become my strength. I still hate it...don't get me wrong. But, I can run. It's weird. Really weird.

Overall, great weekend. I'm glad that I went simply because I needed to knock out that swim. I feel more confidant now than before camp, so I say it was a success. I am still nervous as all get out about the big day - which is in just 50 short days. I feel like I did last year.. If I can just get myself through tht swim I may be ok. But then I need to get myself through that bike and then I'll be ok... BUT, as history tells you... I've got to get myself through that whole stinkin thing...THEN, and only then will I be ok.
Doin' it for this guy.

I'm currently at $15,000 for fundraising and my goal is to beat my fundraising last year... (just under $25,000. I know, its a long shot, but I would LOVE to get to $25,000. Let me tell you. Your donation BIG OR SMALL can go such a long way, CTF is funding research and clinical trials and making HUGE strides in the fight against NF. I want my Denver, and all the other kids (and adults - my family and myself included) to know a life without the worry of NF and the unknown. DONATE HERE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

59 Days to go.

If you followed me last year, you may remember this post titled "I'm not an Athlete"

Still stands true today. Even though I have worked out practically every week for the past year, I still do not consider myself an athlete. 
I struggle. Every day. I struggle to get started on my long bike ride or I struggle to put my shoes on to get that 15 mile run in at 5am - even that 4 mile run. 
I struggle during the workouts. My mind and body want to stop. Every day. Every workout. 
I've hit the point of a mentality where I just don't want to do this anymore. I'm always tired. I always feel out of energy. I feel like this is currently my life - and that's it. It would be so easy to say, "well, I did this last year I don't need to do it again..." And just quit. 
But you know what, it's tough tooties for me. I have a job to do. I have a commitment to uphold and a precious boy to protect, love, and swim, bike and run my booty off for.
This isn't one of those things that I can just blow off. It takes work. It takes commitment and it takes a WHOLE LOT OF TRAINING. Without any of this, I could quite possibly end up face down somewhere between the Gulf of Mexico and 56 miles north....

What's my point, you may ask? I don't do this for fun. I don't enjoy it...seriously. 

I do this because I have this amazing 9 year old little boy that has this disease that no one can cure. No one can treat. No one can slow down the growth of tumors. No one can predict what it will do to any one person.
  
I do this for him. For my deep, crazy love for him. For my crazy strong passion to protect him. To make sure that he lives a loooooong, happy, pain free life. To make sure he can experience anything imaginable. {well, motherly approved of course}

Denver just completed his first triathlon on Monday. He was both excited and nervous. When he started his laps on the swim, he was on his 3rd lap and stopped at the end of the pool. He held on to the side and for a moment my heart skipped a beat. I wasn't sure what he was going to do. I could tell he was tired. But, you know what he did? He stopped, took a deep breath and pushed himself to swim 2 more laps. That kid was amazing to watch. To see him cross that finish line, might as well had been an IRONMAN. His smile, his pride and his confidence was something I had never seen in him. It was amazing. 





And I thought to myself.... Look at him. He pushed through. He probably wanted to stop. He was probably tire after that first loop on the bike. He could have easily just stopped when he passed us and said, let's go home. 

Leave it to a 9 year old to teach you a lesson. 
Look at that face.

This is why I do what I do. Donate HERE

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

81 Days to go.

I have a new running partner. His name is Tucker. He's a six month old Australian Shepherd and I got him for those very early morning runs when the sun might not yet be up. We adopted him and he was already potty trained and knew a few commands. He's protective and so smart. I love him already. 

We've had him for a few weeks now and my first run with him will be tomorrow for a short 4 mile run. In praying he does great! 

Training has really picked up. And it's only going to get harder. I'm currently in the middle of a recovery week. After this it will be a good solid 4 ish weeks of building. Next week we have a 70 mile bike ride on Saturday and an 15 mile run on Sunday.
After that it will continue to build for several weeks before I get another recovery week. 

Training this year is totally different. Some ways it's good and some ways it's bad. The ways that is good is I know what to expect. My body is more conditioned than it was last year and I have yet to cry during training. I have however gotten to a point to where I feel I am totally exhausted. Where maybe I will cry at the simplicity of a Volvo commercial or while watching a Disney movie with my kids. I am a little more emotional than usual simply because I know my body is tired and my mind is exhausted.  I'm starting to really struggle through some of the longer bike rides and through some of the runs. My nutrition is again something that I have yet to figure out 100%. I think it's one of the hardest parts of training. I'm better off than I was last year but I'm still not 100% with it. Just goes to show that no matter what, you're always learning. 

The part of training that I think is bad is it just feels different. The CTF team is a little smaller and not as close as the team was last year. I have some lifelong friendships from that team and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I also feel the mental part of this is a lot harder. Making myself do this... Getting up to train everyday... Keep going on that bike when I JUST. DONT. WANT. TO. And the worst part about this is, my favorite person won't be beside me on the course. Jason trained with me and raced beside me during 2 IRONMAN races last year. The thought of not having him there scares me and breaks my heart all together. I know I will see him on the sidelines as much as possible.... But it just doesn't feel right to do this without him. 

I'm still scared to death of the swim in Florida. I get anxious just thinking about it. I get nervous during a training swim when it enters my mind and can barely handle it. I seriously don't know what my problem is. I know I'm a somewhat strong swimmer and I can do it. But there is just something about that wide open, deep, never ending ocean that makes me lose my breath. 

Of course I wouldn't be doing this for anything other than finding a cure to END NF. It's so important to me and I am completely passionate about not stopping until there is a cure. I am $500 away from raising $15,000....help me get there HERE!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

17 weeks to go...

WOW! 17 weeks until IRONMAN Florida is upon us. I actually find it very difficult to find words that accurately describe this journey. Thats why I do not post as often as I wish this time around. The second time around is so different. Easier...NO! Easier in a sense of I know what to expect...but the training is just as hard and grueling. I still can't stand it...especially in this HEAT! (and its not even in the 100's yet!) 

Training itself is starting to get very busy. We are at the part where I remember that this is not just an endurance event... It is 1/3 endurance, 1/3 nutrition and 1/3 mental. This weekend Jason and I took a bike ride out to Alvarado. We took our usual route down the I35 service road to find that they resurfaced the entire route with chip seal. Now,if you have never ridden your bike for 20+ miles on chip seal, I don't recommend it. I hated it so much that half way through our ride, we took a detour through country roads and found our way back to the car, thanks to the Honey Tour arrows still painted on the road.  That, competing with the heat and the not so nutritious breakfast, It wasn't a great ride. Good route, bad ride.  

I've tried very hard this summer to work on actually giving my kids a summer. I learned from last year to try and get all or most of my workouts done before the kiddos wake up. This way, I'm done for the day and we can just play all summer.... this means NO SLEEPING IN for me though. I'm thankful I am able to do this and still enjoy the summer with Denver and Brita! 

News on Denver... He had a lot of test completed. An ultrasound on his chest, tons of blood work, a bone study and an MRI of his brain. All came back with positive results. The mass in his chest is just extra breast tissue. We don't know why...but its ok! His blood work all came back normal and his MRI showed just a very small mass on his right eye. This is most likely left over from his previous surgery, but the good news is it has not changed in 3 years and is not giving him any problems. 

His bone study did show that his growth and size is a year or more behind. This would explain his small stature. They said he will most likely catch up once he hits puberty but he could also be just a small guy. (takes after me)... God is good, and we are thankful for all the good news!

June and July were quite stressful for our family. Denver hates doctors appointments. He gets very anxious and scared about them. Especially when he has to have testing done. 
The MRI appointment was the worst. For the weeks leading up to it, it was all he thought about and all he talked about. He barely slept, lost a lot of sleep and was nervous and his behavior was obviously different. The day of, he refused to take the gas mask...I mean absolutely REFUSED. I am always impressed by the staff and facilities of Cook Children's. Amazing place! They gave him an IV to get him to sleep, only problem? It took 3 times to try and get the IV in. Denver had a very hard time with this, but still in the midst of the pain he would not take the gas mask. Once it was in, Denver did great...but it is not something you ever want to watch your kiddo go through. No matter what, you don't want to see your kids in pain - when you cant do anything about it. Its hard to watch and not something I will ever get used to. He is an amazing, strong and mighty kiddo - as is his sister. I'm a lucky mama, indeed! 
Gives me more reason to train hard and raise more awareness and funds for CTF! I told myself that I wasn't going to push for fundraising this year.... but I just can't NOT fund-raise. CTF is my heart and raising money and awareness to try and find a cure for Denver is my passion... I won't stop until that cure is found. My goal this year? $25,000... I'm nearly at $15,000 so I kind of have a ways to go. We can do this!

DONATE HERE 

All in all, things are going ok. Good news is, I have not had a break down yet and I have not cried during a workout! GO ME!!!! I am still struggling with running. I blame it on the heat and humidity. Seriously!

Here's a glance at my training week next week:

Monday: REST
Tuesday: Swim 2,000 with Drills & Circuit Workout
Wednesday: BRICK Bike 30 miles/Run 25 minutes
Thursday: Swim 2150 - pace test & Yoga
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Bike 45 miles & Workout
Sunday: Swim 2750 with Drills & Run 9 miles

Easy Peasy, right? Ha - not for me!




Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IRONMAN Florida and Denver

CLICK HERE TO HELP #ENDNF

I've started this blog several times. I mean, I can't quite wrap my mind around training for and participating in ANOTHER IRONMAN. My entire thought process last year was one and done. Then, for some reason the ocean was quite angry on November 1st last year and they cancelled the swim. Although Jason and I continued and finished the 112 mile bike and 26.2 run, we still felt slightly incomplete. Then we got the crazy idea that going and doing IRONMAN Cozumel 30 days later was a good idea. Overall, we did get our swim in (and it was AMAZING!) but I was 6 miles short of the finish line. It wasn't even 24 hours before I texted Emily (our bold NF Endurance leader) and told her to hold me a spot on the IRONMAN Florida team. I wasn't 100% I was in, but I wasn't far off. 

It wasn't until a few days after we returned home that Denver said to me (out of the blue) 
"Mom, why did you stop in the ironman? I thought you were doing it for me?"
(Insert tears here)

THAT in itself wiped out any doubt I had about doing it again. 

I don't think I need a huge event in order to raise money for CTF. I don't even think I need any event. But doing this IRONMAN with CTF has not only already raised $12000, it is showing my kids that giving up is not an option. I want them both to know that I will fight for both of them. I want Denver to know that I will work my booty off and fight until my last day to find a cure for NF  I want Brita to know that as a woman, you can go far, be strong and reach beyond the stars in life. 

Yesterday was Denver's check up appointment with his geneticist. It's usually a fairly easy in and out appointment. Yesterday was a little different. I had a few things to discuss with his doctor. The first and most crucial thing was Denver's reoccurring headaches. Headaches that come on quickly and harshly and about once or twice a week. As a mama, I instantly think 'tumor'.  He was almost up for his routine MRI so we are just going to have it done a little early. 
What came as a surprise is when the doctor was examining his body, looking for new birth marks, abnormalities and such. She immediately found 'something' in his chest. She is not 100% sure if it is a neurofibroma tumor or just extra tissue, but there is something there that isn't supposed to be, so we will visit the endocrinologist for testing as well as a MRI on his chest. She also discovered that he has slight scoliosis. I had never noticed this before. It's nothing to worry about right now, but something else that is now and could be a problem in the future. 

We discussed his troubles in school, his anxiety, his somewhat weak bones in his legs and ankles, his short stature.... All caused by NF. 

Denver instantly started to get upset when he heard "testing"  No matter how many times we do this he is always nervous, scared and anxious. He begged and pleaded not to have to go to the hospital. Although we try our best to educate him about NF and keep him informed on what it is...he doesn't quite grasp that these test are for his wellness. He doesn't get it 100% that if there is something growing inside of his body, it could cause problems...and the only way to find out - is test and test and test. 

Nothing a 9 year old should have to endure. And nothing a 9 year old should HAVE to understand. 



I don't need an event to raise money and awareness for NF. (Ironman makes it a little more fun...now)
 I have Denver and he has NF. That's the only reason I need to raise money. I will not give up the fight to END NF - 



Sunday, May 31, 2015

2nd Annual TEAM DENVER Golf Tournament

Here we go! I'm kicking off planning for the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament! This year it will be held on June 12th at Southern Oaks Golf Club! SAVE THE DATE and check out our sponsorship levels!


2nd Annual TEAM DENVER Golf Tournament

Click HERE to register for the
2nd Annual TEAM DENVER 
Golf Tournament





June 12th - Shotgun Start at 1:00
$100 per person $400 TEAM