Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why go Iron?

Being born into a family of 9 children automatically makes you competitive. I was the 8th child, the 6th daughter and the one who always had to show my family that I could do anything they could do. The sibling closest to me was seven years old than I was. When she and my cousins would go in the back yard to work on their splits and jumps for cheerleading tryouts, I was out there too showing off my back handsprings and Chinese splits. When my extended family got together, we didn’t just sit around and eat fat food. It was a family tradition started when I could barely walk to get together and play volleyball. We would get together every Saturday night and play for hours. While most of my cousins were off playing games or swimming, I was on the volleyball court. My family formed me into who I am today. Their work ethic and my competitive nature pushed me through high school as one of the top athletes in my class. 

I played volleyball. I was a cheerleader and I ran track. No distances for me though. I was a middle distance runner & high jumper. The thought of running a mile was ghastly! I went on to play volleyball at my community college and at Western Illinois University. Following college, I ran a couple of distance races, but running was boring and I had no desire to spend the time training. Instead I chose to continue working out with my endless library of workout tapes. I exercised daily. I worked out through my wedding, a move to Milwaukee, my first child, a move to Tremont, and then another child. I took prenatal exercise classes through both pregnancies and felt great. Exercise was my stress reliever. It made me a better person and a better mom, but it couldn’t fix everything. I spent five years watching my parents’ health fail. They died 10 months apart in 2004 & 2005. During all of this, I gave birth to my 3rd daughter and while I exercised through the pregnancy, my passion just wasn’t there. I spent a lot of time on the road between Tremont and Rochester. I’ll never forget what my mom said when we got her prognosis. “I have so much more life to live.” I didn’t want to be 68 fighting for my life after years of being overweight and not knowing how to make a change. 
My Beautiful Family from 2007

I wanted to re-awaken my athletic spirit which had been lying dormant for the last few years. With the return of the Tremont Triathlon in 2008, I had the perfect opportunity to do just that. I said I was going to do the triathlon that year, but I didn’t. I have a long laundry list of reasons why I didn’t, but the key factor was fear of failure. Failure was not an option for me. I will never commit to something I have not trained for and I didn’t feel ready to do a triathlon in 2008. Instead, I showed up at the triathlon to cheer everyone on and to take pictures. That morning I was truly disappointed in myself for not committing to the training. The entire event was so much fun and I felt that spark of athletic spirit begin to stir again. I trained over the winter of 2009. I spent the spring swimming, running on the treadmill and a little time on the bike. In May of that year, I received what I considered to be devastating news. I was diagnosed with diabetes. I felt like I had just taken 10 years off my life, but I knew God was giving me the motivation to commit to the triathlon and take off some of the fluff I had put on over the last few years. I finished my first triathlon at Tremont in 2009 and knew that spark had come back to life.

Ever since then Awesome Cheryl & I have always discussed doing an IronMan. Of course, she was way more ambitious than I ever was, but I looked at it as I have a job, a husband, and 3 kids. I couldn't imagine taking that much time away from my family. Training for an IronMan takes 15-18 hours per week.

But it is the ultimate challenge. I wanted to re-awaken my inner athlete. Lo & behold this is the opportunity.

The stars aligned...
I quit my job.
Eleven people I KNOW signed up for IM-LOU at the same time I was committing to an Ironman 70.3.

The stars have aligned.....so what's holding me back? 

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