Thursday, October 20, 2016

Journey to IRONMAN: 1 Month: 1610

I have been wrestling all week with what I want to write about for my 1 Month to IRONMAN mark.  I have been chronicling this journey for the past year and sit here with a little over 4 weeks to go.  That's 30 DAYS!  I am quite literally bursting with excitement!  I have so much to say and so much to talk about.

The IRONMAN Bib List was just posted today and it came at the perfect time.  I have not felt super great this week and am wrestling with a cold.  I decided to can my run today in favor of a nap.  I was a little discouraged about it, but then.........the bib list was posted and my IRONMAN idol Mary Knott posted on my timeline.  "1610! BOOM!"  I had just gotten back from my bike ride when I saw the post and instantly felt the excitement overwhelm.  I am on that list!!!!! I have a race number!!!!  I have waited over 3 years to have a race number and my name on an IRONMAN bib......and ITS HERE!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation points to convey my excitement.

I have another big weekend of training ahead of me and then I get to enter that incredible time of taper.  I have nearly made it.  I chose a BIG dream.  I have chased that dream with abandon.  I have woken up every day and worked.  I have been scared out of my mind, felt the fear of impossibility, rode waves of doubt and have found the greatest strength within.  All because one day I felt the pull to be an IRONMAN.  One of my favorite books that I have read and re-read during this year is the book IRONSTRUCK: The IRONMAN Triathlon Journey by Ray Fauteux. It is all things First Time IRONMAN from the moment you are "struck" to the moment you become an IRONMAN.  It is empowering and moving and incredibly inspiring.

He has a short chapter in the book of insights from some of the top Pro athletes in the sport.  There is one insight that has particularly stood out to me. I have dog-eared the page and read it over and over again.  It is from the Pro triathlete Scott Tinley.  He won the Kona IRONMAN 2 times in his career.  Here is what he writes:

"You ever wonder what regular people think when they hear that close to 20,000 people are trying to get an entry into Kona?  They're thinking all those people must have a screw loose, that's what.  Yet, I'd bet 1,000 sit ups that more than a few of them dream about crossing the finish line, all tan and trim, the crowd screaming, their smiles caught and beamed out everywhere.  And I bet that when they wake up in the morning, more than a few rollover and try to hide from the gnawing desire that they, too, could have that same screw loose.

Maybe they are realizing that too many of us die too young or too late.  Maybe they know that we pull ourselves up by making money, making the grade; all the while taking less and less time to face the fact that there are some things in life we need to do.  Just because.

I think the IRONMAN is one of those things.  For all those people, I can't pretend to know why. But I know people are changed by an IRONMAN.  IRONMAN finishers leave a mark on the world.

Try and define that.  Go ahead.  The words will never come.  It is enough to hear the stories, to watch their smiles, to witness their metamorphosis.

Yes, there is a price---relationships, jobs, sunburns, missing toenails, there always is for the good stuff.  But the call of the distant drum is too loud to ignore, too powerful to pawn off as some mid-life crisis of the middle manager or desperate plea of a soccer mom.  All they want is their one day.  One day full of enough feeling and emotion to last an eternity.

But like war, marriage, tight jeans, and stick shift cars, the IRONMAN isn't for everybody.  As much as it can give, it can take.  If it were easy, it wouldn't mean the same.  Even dreams are fair game in the forecast of one's decisions.  

In a world that tries its hardest to separate us from what matters, the IRONMAN helps us to reconnect with the pulse of our lives.  As long as it does that, we will be happy to have made the decision to even attempt the dream."

I get goosebumps every time I read that.  And every time I look at myself I feel enormous pride and say over and over again, "Good Decision."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Power of Women

Every day I look at my girls and wonder how they are going to impact their world.  More specifically, I wonder how they will impact the lives of the few people they are destined to know, be influenced by and be influencers of.  Women are truly powerful beings, and my girls are headed on their way to being world changers.

I remember when I was desperately trying to become a mother and wondering if I ever did, the kind of children I would raise.  When I had girls the questions grew ever more poignant and ever more pressing.  How was I going to raise these girls to be women of greatness, women of courage, women of compassion and bravery and boldness?  How was I going to combat and wrestle with body image issues and insecurities that were lurking out my very windows anxiously waiting to prey on my little girls.  I know, it seems overly dramatic, but the realities of this world are real.  How was I going to raise little girls that were feminists and yet gentle, who were strong and yet understood their own weaknesses, who were able to speak life even when all around them they were bombarded by negativity? wonder I had a few of the baby blues.

Here is the most amazing thing.  As I have journeyed to find my own self I have found this unbelievable clarity in my approach to these little women in my life.  If you want to raise little girls to be strong, be a woman who is strong.  If you want to raise girls that are bold, do bold things where they can see.  If you want to raise confident girls, be a confident woman even when its a struggle.  If you want to raise little girls with a strong work ethic, work tirelessly towards your own goals. If you want to raise girls that speak life into others, speak life into them.  Want a little girl to have BIG dreams? Then be a woman who is tenaciously chasing her own. Remind them daily about who they are, about what makes them special, about how much Jesus loves them about how much they matter.  Speak it, live it, show it, walk it, talk it, repeat it, over and over and over.

That is the Power of Women, and that is how we shape the next generation of bold female world changers.

This month my girls have shown me this power, its already blooming inside of them and the pride that I feel is overwhelming.  When I embarked on this IRONMAN journey I knew there would come a time when the training was all consuming.  That I would choose IRONMAN over them, when I would wonder if they will look back on this time and feel abandoned.  Instead of living in this fear I made the choice to chase my dream, to live boldly, to be strong, to be confident and live this life with abandon.   We have had some hard times, girls get it.  I have had hard days, long days, weeks where I am tired and simply not sure how I am going to get the training done and they have become my greatest life givers.  Twice in the past 2 weeks I have had moments of weakness where I have admitted to them, "Girls, I don't know how I am going to do this." To this they respond, "Go Mommy!  You can do this because you are strong!"

They don't feel abandoned..........they feel empowered.  They feel part of something greater than themselves and it has brought out the greatest things inside of them.  By choosing to live my own life courageously I have discovered the secret to raising my girls well.  Be the example of how you want your little girls to be.  Love daringly, show kindness unashamedly, celebrate yourself, live courageously, speak life to those around you, dream big, shut out negativity, show bravery and live a life of joyful abandon.