There is saying that has been my inspiration in training for Kona! "If your dreams don't scare you they simply aren't big enough!"
I set my alarm to wake me up every morning at 4:00 am. The bright screen stares at me, "You don't finish Kona in bed." My day begins with stretching, crunches, swimming, biking or running. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
My good friend Kyrsten and I started training for marathons together. After a long run we would get an "idea" and then the adventures began. Each year our athletics dreams got bigger. A marathon, a triathlon, Ironman and ultra-marathon were part of those ideas. Before I knew it, we had plans to do KONA, the Ironman World Championships!!!! There are limited slots so you have to qualify with athletic ability or be committed to raise for a charity, and I was fortunate to be asked to be an ambassador for the Ironman foundation and who would turn that down? I agreed so now I am going to KONA! There I said it, it's real!
That's right, 2.4 miles swimming in the ocean,112 miles biking on rolling hills with high winds followed by 26.2 miles of running along the lava road. We WILL do this on October 10th. I can't do it alone. Part of it is mental and part of it is physical and I have 17 hours to complete all three legs. The sun will rise, the sun will set and my spirit will be tested. I have been tested before. As a matter of fact at 7 I almost lost my life from a fever of 106. Why would I ever want to expose myself to more extreme heat? Because I can.
You see, sport has been an integral part of my life since childhood; I started swimming at age 7 after being diagnosed with a heart murmur from rheumatic fever. My doctor recommended swimming to help me regain strength, and I loved swimming from the second I put my toe in the pool. Over the years, I swam every day and spent my summers teaching other kids to swim. I swam competitively from age 7 to age 20, with the incredible support of my single mom who worked extra jobs to make sure I made it to swim practice every day. I never missed a swim meet in all those years. Looking back, I was so lucky to have swimming in my life. While my older sister struggled with drugs, I swam. Swimming taught me to work hard, set goals, and stay disciplined. Later in life, I hung up the towel and laced up my running shoes. I started running, but my dream was always to compete in triathlon.
After marathoning for years, I met Helene Neville, an inspiring woman running across the country as a cancer survivor, prior to turning 50. She inspired me to try out my dream, you are never too old to start on a new goal - so I signed up for my first triathlon and bought my first bike - a too-small triathlon bike for $400.
Here I am, four years later, competing in Kona. I'm so lucky that I've been able to inspire other women (and some men!) to compete in this sport that I love so much. This year, I'm hoping racing Kona inspires others to live their dreams like I'm living mine.
I strongly believe that age should never limit you and your dreams. When I do triathlon I feel alive, I feel like I can do anything I can set my mind to. My heart is strong as my passion and I know that living fully includes reaching for your goals, challenging your limits and never giving up.
Thank you for believing in me!