As I look back upon 2018's experiences, one of my biggest takeaways is the power of community + friendship.
Learning to accept guidance and help from others is a sign of strength, not weakness. I struggled with a few personal challenges and it wasn’t until I allowed other people to take care of me that I realized the power of having a strong support network. I learned that once you open up to somebody - truly share your experiences and hardships, you are doing your relationship a favor and in turn, this person can share their true self with you. A bond becomes deeper. Let’s face it - life is hard. It knocks you down, but it’s not about how hard you are hit, it’s about getting up, learning from experience and turning negatives into positives. A community helps that become possible. I’ve dabbled with the idea of a few ultra experiences, and what I have realized is that until I learn to accept help from others, I am not ready to attempt some of the more ‘impossible feats’ on my bucket list. That was a powerful revelation.
Signing up for the 2019 Ironman Santa Rosa wasn’t an instantaneous decision. I’ve completed a few Ironman-distance events, but that doesn’t mean I easily sign up for things...I thought about it for several months. I have a toddler and husband that need me, so training for an event like this takes time away from the family, amongst other considerations. But something pulled me. Or I should say “some team” - my triathlon team. Over the 7 years I’ve been with them, I’ve grinded through challenges that to my 27-year old self would seem crazy… I’ve ridden bikes with many of them for hundreds of miles, never discussing our daily jobs, but possibilities, relationships, hardships and victories. However, the closing factor in my decision to sign up was my son. Given all of the recent #metoo movement and women empowerment, I don’t have a daughter to guide to be independent, strong and not willing to settle. But I have a son. I can teach him respect to women, what it means and looks like to be a strong woman. When I picture me running the Ironman marathon course, being able to see him at multiple turns (as the IMSR race course allows) high-fiving,my eyes well with tears of pride. Despite only being 3, we run together and he is already saying ‘I want to run 100 miles’. I’d like to think just showing him the physical beauty of nature and full immersion of the athletic senses will inspire his world.
Going into Santa Rosa, I am training hard - challenging myself physically, but also slowing down with yoga and breathing in gratitude. I think about my previous Ironman races - Couer d’Alene (2013) and Cozumel (2014), which I approached the events differently. Couer d’Alene I soaked up every moment, not tied to time expectations, smiling and waving to the hundreds of spectators that lined the streets. Cozumel (which ironically I finished 90 minutes slower) I was hard on myself, once I realized my time goal was slipping (even though I had many obstacles!).
So, I go into Santa Rosa, driven by community, family and a deep sense of purpose. It’s on home turf and gosh, I cannot wait.