Friday, January 20, 2017

Journey to IRONMAN: For Dawn

2 months.  Its been exactly 2 months since IRONMAN and YES, I am still talking about it.  I have spent these 2 months selfishly reveling in every part of my success.  I am an IRONMAN.  I am a part of the club.  I am a rookie no longer. It feels so good.

In all of the post IRONMAN blogs I have done many people have been thanked, but I have intentionally left my thank yous quiet for one really BIG person, Dawn.

My coach, my mentor, my friend.  I waited these 2 months to write this blog for two really big reasons. 1. I have much to say and needed to sort it all out. and 2. She deserved her own space.  As part of my success, but separated from the huge collection of thanks I gave.

So Dawn, this is your moment.

Thank you isn't verbose enough to even touch last year.  Words frankly will never be enough. While I am going to make an attempt to put into words my gratitude it really will simply fall short.  My only hope is that all last year, every day, every week of completed workouts and consistently trusting your judgment and coaching expressed gratitude. I hope that I was a swimming, biking and running thank you.

I will never forget January, 1, 2016, the day I really met you.  It was a 3 hour bike ride and I remember leaving on that bike ride praying I would be able to keep up with the powerhouse known as "Dawn Brooks."  I remember when you told me out on the Bush HWY that I was a "strong cyclist." What a compliment.  Maybe I could actually do this IRONMAN thing I had just signed up to do. Maybe......but I needed help, and you saw the need even before I did.  That day started our coaching relationship, that day changed my life forever.

You see, IRONMAN was kind of a bucket list, just finish kind of a race for me.  I hoped I would love it but knew it was going to be HARD.  I never EVER dreamed that I would find my athletic calling.  Never did I dream I would be as strong as I am.  Never did I dream I would be sitting here saying to you:

Because of you I believe I can go to Kona.  Because of you, I believe I can qualify for Boston.

You have helped me open doors and understand abilities I denied myself claiming the "impossible."  Because of you I know I AM Possible.  I know I am able.  I KNOW.

Because of you.

That's a big mark to leave on a life..

Thank you for seeing in me what I couldn't see in myself.  Thank you for asking more than what I thought I could give.  Thank you for not accepting mediocrity and for demanding I TRI harder.  Thank you for teaching me that "just finishing" does not mean you can't finish in the top percentage of your age group.  Thank you for teaching me that greatness does not come overnight, but it will come. Through a relentless belief that you can, consistent training, proper planning and trusting the process.  There is no limit.  You just have to decide how hard you want to work.  Thank you for teaching me to look bigger, dream bigger, sleep more, give more, go slower, race faster and find that place deep within that knows without doubt, I AM.  Thank you for teaching.  Thank you Coach......for coaching.  I am forever in your debt.

I am beyond happy to share my success with you because you, dear friend, earned it too.  Thank you for your unwavering commitment to bettering me and bettering yourself as a coach.

Which also brings me to RACELAB.  RACELAB coaching does indeed help you "get there faster,"  The entire RACELAB way creates excellence, camaraderie and an unwavering focus on the pursuit of greatness.

I am grateful, Dawn, that you introduced me to RACELAB and invited me into a coaching environment that helped me indeed get there faster.  I am excited and proud to be a part of the RACELAB family and look forward to improving myself.  It is through you, and AZ TRI CLUB and the people of RACELAB that I have found my place.

Thank you Dawn, for everything.  You and I have a lot of work ahead of us, and yet I for one am so peacefully excited knowing that whats ahead is SO VERY POSSIBLE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Family Holiday 2016: Animal Kingdom

For our last full day of vacation, we soaked up the sun and animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.  I LOVE the Animal Kingdom and knew that my girls would love it too.  We got there bright and early so that we could see the gorgeous parrots make their rounds over the entering guests.  It really is a sight to behold when you have 8 gorgeous, colorful birds swooping down over you close enough to touch.  What a sight.

This day was also my favorite because we found a Starbucks.....with no the park.  AMAZING!!!! We grabbed a quick breakfast and a good dose of coffee.  It started the morning off just right AND in the process of breakfast, Lily lost her 3rd tooth!  Lucky day!

Our first stop of the day was the Kilimanjaro Safaris.  This remains one of the highlights of every Animal Kingdom visit I take.  There are animals everywhere and sometimes you can even get a giraffe to come right next to the truck.  With so much to see, the girls bounced from lap to lap and side to side.  It was so much fun to see all of the African animals.

Following our Safari, Bob and I had a mini date up (and down) Expedition Everest while Grandma and Grandpa explored some of the animal exhibits with the girls.

Lily and Evie met some Jungle Book favs........

....and experienced social grooming.

For lunch, we all got to go to the world of the Rainforest cafe.  It is such an immersive place and a great dining experience.  It fit right into our day and girls enjoyed it immensely.

Our last big adventure of the afternoon was 2 fold.  1, to ride the Kali River Rapids and 2, to see the Festival of the Lion King.  We all got in line for the River Rapids and suspected that we were all going to get wet. 

We ended up in a 12 person boat with just the 6 of us and instead of spreading out over the boat we all sat on one side (I blame the Disney "guide").  SO............we successfully all got soaked.  Poor Evie and I got completely drenched when a near tidal wave managed to pour over us.  We all had a blast and found ourselves laughing at the notion that we "might not get that wet."

Miss Evie spent the 10 minutes following the ride yelling, "I'm SOOOOOAKED" to anyone who would listen.  I could not stop smiling.

After our shower, we all put our jackets on and snuggled together for the air-conditioned stage of the Lion King Festival.  This show too remains a personal favorite.  It's so wild and mesmerizing and grand and beautiful.  I especially love to watch the dancers dressed as parrots.  They literally get to fly over the audience.  I would so do that.  

We left the Animal Kingdom before the evening came and headed to our digs for the night, the Aimal Kingdom Lodge.  This was such a treat.  The Lodge is incredible in every sense of the word.  You are surrounded by animal preserves and giraffes walk right outside the rooms.  Everything about it was incredible and I found myself wanting to soak it all in rather than have my camera in front of my face.  It was breathtaking and an experience I will not soon forget, plus, we had bunk beds in our room!