ironman

Yup, I did it

“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.”
― Richie Norton

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Hey y’all!

I did something completely crazy this weekend. Yes, I signed up for the Full Distance at Cedar Point next September (140.6 miles of AWESOMENESS!!!!) No, that it not the crazy thing a did… although, okay that was sort of looney too. The actual insanity involved taking my mountain bike out on the trails for my SECOND. TIME. EVER.  ANNNNNDDD I went all by myself. (I told you: insane!)

The first time I took my mountain bike out was after the hubs bought it for me. We did a short ride, including a few trails. I was absolutely terrified for my life the entire time. I may have cried… a lot. It was ugly. All I could do was picture being horribly maimed as I careened out of control. (In reality, I was probably doing less than 5 mph.) After the experience of feeling utterly defeated and disappointed in myself, I only took it out on the roads… That is until I invested in the road bike. It’s been sitting in the garage ever since.

The thing is, I am still a HUGE chicken when it comes to cycling. I HATE riding alone, so I don’t go enough. My handling still stinks and I have zero (as in zilch, zippo) confidence on the bike. However, eventually after actually careening almost 40 mph while contending with irritable and negligent motorists, hitting the trails didn’t seem so dangerous. In fact, I decided I actually might be better off taking my chances with the trees. After all, at least they are stationery.

Plus, I found a 50 miler I want to do in January, and I figured combining a ride with a run would be a great way to kill two bird with one stone. I would ride my mountain for an hour on the trails and then run for an hour after. Not only would I have a chance to work on my handling skills and getting comfortable on the bike, but I also would start my run on fatigued legs foregoing the need for a high mileage run. Win-Win!

So I bundled myself up for the cozy sub freezing temps and headed to my favorite trails. I decided to warm up on some paved paths and then in a field. It took a little getting used to, but within a few minutes I was managing the gears without much thinking. Surprisingly, I was completely taken back by how much fun I was having. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and I had most of the park to myself. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on!

Because I was feeling brave (something that almost never happens to me on a bike) I decided to try out the cyclocross cross that had been set up for a competition the following day. Other than a little difficulty with some tight turns and abrupt climbs, I felt fairly comfortable; so I set my sights on something more challenging. In the spirit of living dangerously, I started with some of the flatter trails and then decided to really test myself on my favorite running routes. I was completely shocked by how comfortable I felt even on the more technical terrain. I was by no means moving quickly, but I also was doing a pretty respectable job at keep my bike upright and navigating turns. I couldn’t believe what a difference all the time on my road bike had made in handling IMG_6141ability. I was even able to ride the steep downhills without any fear or hesitation!

Perhaps the most remarkable part was just how much FUN it was. I truly loved every second of it. I never would have imagined feeling so comfortable or at home on a bike. Furthermore, not in a million years would I have guessed that I would be more at ease on a mountain bike than a road bike… but then the trails have always been my sanctuary.

The whole experience was completely exhilarating. It was as if I suddenly became aware of a little reserve of toughness that had previously been untapped and a whole world of possibility was opened up by one short ride.

It was a terrific reminder for me of just how far I’ve come with the bike and in general. It’s been so long since I’ve had any big gains in my training that sometimes I forget I’m still making progress. Then all of a sudden there’s an “AHA!” moment, and I have a whole new perspective.

The whole experience was an important reminder about why it’s so important to keep doing the things that frighten me. It’s breaking through that fear that brings the greatest reward. The greatest joy in life isn’t doing what other people think you can’t, it’s doing things you think you can’t and never could. 

This weekend I surprised myself, and it made me feel better than I have in a long time. I felt growth, and it made me hungry for more. That is why I am committing myself to not be inhibited by fear, and instead chase it down. Who’s with me?

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The Detour

“I used to have all these plans and think ‘Ah, I have my whole life figured out’,

but then I realized no matter how much I plan: life happens!

So I find myself living day to day trying to do my best, 

embracing every moment as a learning opportunity

and chance to get to know myself a little more.”
– Q’orianka Kilcher

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I’m guessing that after reading the title of this post, most of you have figured out the direction this is going.  No, I’m not pregnant.  Yes, I am temporarily out of commission.  It’s kind of a bummer, but I was really ready for a break anyway.  Besides, another week and change and I’ll be back to running, swimming, and cycling (on the trainer at least…)

Let me start by saying that I DID NOT over do it at the REV3.  I one hundred percent went easy that day and did not push myself.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but I’m not stupid (ok, not most of the time… at least when it comes to injury prevention anyway).  I knew I was in new territory, so I raced according to my goal- which was simply to finish.  I went slow and enjoyed the experience.  When I crossed the finish, I still had plenty of juice left in my legs.  I felt strong and knew I could have covered more mileage if I had to.  This was not particularly surprising considering I had actually trained for a half.

It was a nice feeling to cross a finish not completely spent for a change.  I didn’t want to end up sick or dehydrated so I was careful to get plenty of calories and liquid out on the course.  In all honestly, it was probably the best I had ever felt at the completion of a race.  

The hubs and our friend (who both biked out to meet me) made it home well ahead of me due to the post race traffic and had already ordered lunch when I arrived.  I still felt great after eating and showering.  It wasn’t until a few hours later after dinner that I started to feel really crummy.  At first, I thought I was simply getting a migraine from being out in the sun all day.  I tried taking a nap, but woke up overwhelming nausea and epigastic pain.  All I could think was “This is not going to be good”.  I sent the hubs to get some zofran hoping I could avoid a trip to the emergency room, but taste of the tabs almost sent me running back to the bathroom all over again.  I decided that if this is what morning sickness is like then there’s probably a good reason I’m not pregnant yet.

When the pain and nausea had not improved an hour later I finally broke down and had the hubs bring me to the hospital.  I gave the surgical team a heads up that I was headed in and pretty sure my gallbladder would need to come out.  I did have luck on my side in that the surgeon oncall that night was one the best that I work with. (Thank God for small favors!) 

As it turned out, I was right.  My gallbladder was the culprit and needed to go.  This was no great shock to me.  However, I was struck by whatImage a coincidence it was that my gallbladder attack happened only hours after completing my first tri.  Here I had worked my butt off over 10 months and managed to make it through the whole race feeling strong before my symptoms started.  That was an epic #WIN in my book! What’s more, had I not downgraded to the Olympic course, I would have raced on Sunday instead and would have missed out all together!  

Obviously I considered this the universe at work in my favor as repayment for every ounce of good karma in my life.  Can you even imagine how devastated I would have been to have invested all that time and energy only to miss out on my big chance?  It’s just too depressing to even think about.  I am so beyond grateful for whatever triathlon guardian angel hooked me up on this one.  I am forever in your debt!  

As far as the surgery itself, it may strike you as funny, but I was less nervous in pre-op than I was gearing up for the race!  With the timing of how I got sick and who the surgeon was on call, I just felt like the universe was looking out for me and it was going to be okay.  I can’t even describe the sensation, but I was completely at ease.  There was not even a little part of me that was worried going in.  In fact, I felt incredibly lucky to not only know exactly what was going to happen, but all the staff taking care of me as well. 

It’s hard to be scared when you are surrounded by people who know you and care about your well being.  Every person (ok almost every, but the Emergency Room was legitimately getting slammed so I have to cut them some slack) was so kind and caring throughout my stay.  I really feel blessed to receive the care I did.

The only part I was disappointed about was that I missed volunteering at the REV3 half and my niece’s first birthday.  I guess life happens though.  All I can do at this point is be grateful for everything that went right and just roll with it.  Luckily, my sister was ok with throwing another party for my niece with just immediate family this weekend.  Plus, now that I won’t be able to race in the Griskus Olympic, I should be able to volunteer that course instead.  In terms of taking time off from training, I feel like I have been handling it pretty well.  For one thing, it’s given me a chance to catch up on other things I’ve been neglecting… like writing. 😉  It’s also given me an excuse to slow down for a change.

So that is my story about my slight detour on the path to 70.3… and eventually 140.6.  Luckily I still have my whole life to get there!

#KeepDreaming #ThriveOn

Why I’m Not Ready to Give Up

“I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to think I can.”

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I’m not sure where exactly the crazy idea started that I needed to do a Half IM or why it had to be the REV 3 at Quassy.  I think it likely had to do with the desire to one day complete the ultimate test of endurace: A Full Ironman.  The REV 3 at Quassy just happened to be close to home.  In fact, the course is only a few miles from our house.  What’s more, the tri club we joined just happens to ride the routes in that area and race there.  It was beyond convenient.  It was meant to be.

In my mind, there are no coincidences in life.  Everything happens for a reason.  Therefore, the fact that I am not yet pregnant and the REV 3 is almost here is a clear sign that I am meant to break into the sport of triathlon this year.  I had no idea how to swim or bike when I first set out to do this race.  I have spent over 9 months training.  I learned to swim, trained countless hours, and now am focused on spending every spare moment honing my cycling abilities.  I’m not looking to set any records.  I just want to finish.

That is why, despite my utter terror of cycling, I am not ready to give up on my dream of completing the REV 3 Half IM this year.  I can’t help but think that if it wasn’t meant to be that the registration would have closed or I would already be pregnant.  I just can’t let it go and accept defeat, even if I don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike yet.  Yes, 56 miles is more than I have ever biked in one day.  Yes, riding on hills still scares me out of my mind.  Yes, I will most likely get annihilated out there.  But, not one of those things has any bearing on whether I can finish.

ImageI know I can swim the 1.2 miles and not get tired.  I also know I can run 13.1 miles when I’m utterly exhausted.  I am pretty sure I can muddle through 56 miles on the bike in between.  I have done other races that have required me to be on my feet and moving for 8 to 12 hrs.  I can run over 30 miles.  One would think that should translate over to have the endurance to complete a Half Ironman.  While I realize its not exactly the same thing, and that cycling involves some skill; I do know that I have managed to bike over 30 miles of hills and then run while sick.  Plus, I’m at a point where I can handle my bike well enough not to be a danger to those around me… as far as not being a danger to myself, well I’m not sure that we’ll ever get there… unless they’ve invented a cure for general clumsiness that I don’t know about.  

Anyway, I am not rushing to go sign up this minute, but I did take the time to map out the bike course into Map My Ride so I can test it and see how long it takes me.  I think I owe it to myself to at least try the course out on my own and see if it is doable.  If it seems like something I can manage, then I’ll come home and sign up.  Well, that is if registration is still open at that point.  If not, then I’ll know it wasn’t meant to be this time around.  

SIDE NOTE: my other task pre-race will be to attempt open water swimming.  Luckily, they have a session this weekend with the tri club.  Hopefully the lake water will be warm enough to swim without inducing hypothermia… and my new wetsuit will get here in time!  In the meantime, I am going to keep practicing my cycling.  In fact, I am meeting up with some peeps from the tri club tonight for a ride near the REV 3 course.  Wish me luck!

Becoming a Gear Girl

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” 
– Little Engine That Could

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Hello My Lovelies!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, especially all the moms out there!  I had an unexpectedly prolonged weekend due to be home sick from work on Thursday.  That means I have been off from work for almost a week… Unfortunately, I spent more than half that time too sick to move from bed or the couch.  I know!  It was a total bummer and definitely threw a wrench in my training plans.  The good news is, I still made it to our Tri Club Brick and BBQ with the hubs.

So here is the thing about that…  Back when the hubs was in the Marines, he decided on a whim that he was going to do a Half Ironman (IM).  Mind you, this was before he ever owned a bike.  His training consisted of borrowing a bike from a friend and doing some swimming.  Of course, he finished without a problem.

Fast forward a few years, and here I am almost 9 months into training (including learning to swim and bike), and I still don’t feel prepared enough to meet the time qualifiers.  Why?  Because I am not where I need to be with my cycling.  This is something I have been aware of, however it became more abundantly clear at the duathlon… and even more so this weekend.

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Now granted, I went into our group ride this weekend still under the weather, and most definitely dehydrated and short on calories.  The hubs also skipped out on a real breakfast, but a 30 mile ride is a walk in the park for his cycling-loving-self.  I have read in triathlon books that people who do Full IMs average 17-18 mph on the bike portion.  Up until this weekend, I had no concept really of just how fast that is.  Then our group ride started… and I was left in the dust.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you I was literally last.  I did actually catch up with two people in front of me, but the rest of the group was not even within viewing distance for the rest of the ride (aside from when they all pulled over and waited at the first few intersections… yeah, that didn’t last long).

I have to be honest when I tell you it was somewhat demoralizing.  While I understand I am still a newbie cyclist, I have been on other group rides where I was not utterly annihilated by the rest of the riders.  These people, on the other hand, were completely out of my league.  Thankfully, the only two people I could keep up with were a married couple I knew from my swim class.  However, even they were light-years ahead of me on every downhill due to my over generous utilization of my brakes.  Did I mention I was the only one actually using them?  I repeat, Out Of My League.

 

ImageAt least the view was pretty!

I was incredibly grateful to Tammy (the wife of the couple, who I happen to know better from our traumatic experience in beginner’s swimming) for keeping pace with me to chat for a while and waiting at intersections to make sure I wasn’t lost.  There was also a more experienced rider from the group who periodically circled back to make sure we were all ok, and I was beyond appreciative of her as well.  (She even gave me tips on climbing the hills, and was incredibly patient with my slow-as-heck self. God Bless her!)

In all honesty, if it had not been for Tammy, I probably would have broken down in tears.  The ride was by no means an easy one, and the descents were nerve-fryingly, white knuckled, terrifying.  The roads were wet which did not help my fears, and my husband was somewhere off in the front of the pack leaving me in the dust along with everyone else.

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More beautiful scenery as consolation…

I kept telling myself that I am not a bad cyclist, I am an inexperienced cyclist.  I also reminded myself how terrible I was when I first started swimming.  At least no one was kicking me off the route!  Instead, I heard only words of encouragement.  After all, I was the only newbie cyclist out on that loop, and it consisted of a lot of killer hills.  Here I was sick, dehydrated, and alone (for at least a good part of it), and I didn’t break down or quit.  I stuck with it- even when I got super dizzy and light-headed.  I drank from my water bottle, took some cliff bloks, and got back to pedaling.

I am pleased to report that I only toppled over once due to bumping a curb on my way up a steep hill.  I also had one near miss, but was able to correct myself.  I finished behind every other cyclist, but I finished… and I wasn’t far behind my back of the pack buddies.  The hubs and the more advanced riders finished a full 20 minutes ahead of us… which I suppose isn’t too bad considering it was a 30 mile ride.  Their average speed was in the 17-18 mph range, which consisted of riding between 40 and almost 60 mph down the hills (Um, no thank you...)  I headed off on my run just elated to have survived (I think I exclaimed something to the effect of “Yea! I feel so much safer!”).  Meanwhile, the hubs skipped his run and took a nap instead of finishing the “brick”.

I suppose when you achieve celebrity status with the Tri Club for your superior cycling talent, the run isn’t necessary.  That’s right, my super shy and antisocial hubs is now Mr. Popular.  Apparently when you ride in a group there’s a lot of chatting that goes on.  I suppose I would know these things if I actually rode fast enough to keep up with other people…  Can you believe he is already friends on Strava with all of them?  One bike ride, and they are all BFFs.  Go figure.  I guess that’s what happens when you put a bunch of like minded, uber competitive, cycling fanatics together.  How did I not see this coming?

What’s better is he even impressed Coach M and kicked her butt (her words) on the ride… though she admittedly likes the bike considerably less than the swimming and running.

In general, I have to say that I am pretty happy for the hubs.  I do find it slightly ironic, though, that I am the one who dragged him into joining the YMCA and Tri Club with me; and now he is the popular one and I’m struggling (and failing miserably) to keep up.  I guess that just means I have more work to do.

The good news is, I am getting the hang of bike maintenance a lot faster than the actual riding.  I currently am able to de-grease and re-lube my chain.  Plus, I now know how to get my wheels on and off to get all the nooks and crannies clean.  The hubs even taught me how to floss my cassette with a rag to get it extra clean.  Oh! And he happened to puncture one of his tires on the ride, so I got extra practice on changing flats.  Pretty soon I think I will be at the point where I can do these things all on my own without the hubs for supervision. 😉

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I biked today and lived! And I’m still smiling!

Today I spent the morning doing P90X chest and back, and then took some more time getting used to my bike.  I spent 30 minutes focusing on starting, stopping, coasting, balancing on one foot, letting go of one hand, starting and stopping on hills, and then I tried to practice climbing the really steep hill next to my house…  I had to stop when I started freaking my neighbors out with my wipe outs.  So instead I came in and did another 14 miles on the bike trainer… in 80 degree heat and humidity.  Can you say good time?

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So sexy… I know you’re jealous…

It wasn’t glamourous, but I got it done.  The way I figure, any time I spend on my bike is better than nothing!   My next task (other than getting generally comfortable) is to start familiar with some of the nearby triathlon courses.  In fact, I already mapped the REV 3 Half IM course in Map My Ride… I know it’s ambitious, but I figure I can do sections of it at a time and work up to the whole 56 miles.  Hopefully. it shouldn’t take too long to get there.

That’s all I have to share for now.  I hope you all are off to a terrific start to your week!  My goal for this week is to survive work and continue to work toward becoming one with my bike.  What are you hoping to accomplish?

How to Be Epic

“I want to have an epic life.

I want to tell my life with big adjectives.

I want to forget all the grays in between, and remember the highlights and the dark moments.”
-Isabel Allende

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You may have noticed from all the links in my posts recently that I have been doing a lot of reading via various social media outlets (including some of my favorite bloggers <3).  Recently I came across this gem titled How to Be Epic.  My first thought when I saw the title was “Um, I already am“, but then I realized that the article was about a woman who took on an Ironman during a midlife crisis.  Given that have a keen interest in one day completing an Ironman, and am not that many years off from a mid life crisis myself, I took notice.

Once you get past the typos (this was difficult for my inner grammar nazi me, but I’m not perfect either (gasp)… and I love Runner’s World) it is a pretty good read… maybe not Triathlon For Every Woman good, but still worth the glance.  For those of you too lazy busy to read it for yourselves, let me give you the gist of it:

“More busy runners are pushing themselves in endurance races. Maybe you should too!”

Basically, the article recaps how one busy, former rowing champ, endurance junkie, Kona dreaming, middle-aged mom becomes an Ironman (through endless hours of training that made her question her sanity).  Sounds totally relatable to me… aside from maybe the rowing champ part.  Excuse me, but where are all the articles about unathletic, uncoordinated folks taking on an Ironman?  None?  Okay well thank you Swim Bike Mom for filling that void.  Hopefully, someday I can help you out with that.

Anyway, the point of the article is how training for an EPIC RACE (ie. one that is WAY out of your comfort zone and seems impossible) changes you as a person.  Back when I ran my first (and only: “first and last!”) marathon I posted on how the training had changed me long before I ever ran (hobbled through) that race.  Truly, training must change you or completing the race would never become possible.  Once the race is over, you cann’t go back to the person you were before training, and isn’t that the point? To get out of your comfort zone?  To build a better, stronger, and more confident you?

When people hear that I am signed up for yet another “crazy” obstacle course race or 30+ mile run, they invariably wonder (out loud) why I would want to.  Isn’t it obvious? Because I can!  Wouldn’t you if there was a chance you thought you could?  Wouldn’t it be worth knowing just how far you can push yourself?  Wouldn’t it be worth the sense of accomplishment?

There are so many people in this world who go through life without ever testing or knowing the true depth of their strength or ability to persevere.  In doing so they grossly underestimate themselves.  That seems far more crazy to me than continually pushing my limits.  What’s the worst thing that could happen? I fail?  Well that just makes the eventual victory that much sweeter!  I would rather be a failure than someone who never tried.  Living life on the sidelines isn’t living, it’s watching.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?

Are you ready to give up the sidelines and BE EPIC?

It just so happens that I now have that code for a FREE SPARTAN RACE ENTRY.  How’s that for a chance to get out of your comfort zone?  Here’s an idea: You can enter the giveaway, and if you win take as a sign from fate.  With the money you save on the race entry you can even pick up the new Reebok All-terrain shoes.  Since a race entry can run up to almost $200 and the shoes run about $120 (when ordered directly from Reebok), it’s almost like getting a discounted race entry and the shoes for free… at least that’s how I’d justify to the hubs if it were me… 😉

The giveaway is slated to start just as soon as we hit 200 likes on the Running Thriver Facebook Page.  Why you ask?  Well, because WordPress does not allow Rafflecopter giveaways on the blog, which means I will be hosting the giveaway through Facebook.  So my lovelies, I am really doing this for all of you.  I want to make sure you all find the page, so you don’t miss out!

ImageOnce the giveaway starts, look for the tab (pictured above for your convenience) to enter.

We are only 10 likes away, so it should be soon!

 

In the meantime, I hope you all have an EPIC WEEKEND!  I’d love to hear about your adventures!

 

 

Where to Start?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

-Oprah Winfrey
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Hello Friends!

I really do need to sit down and blog more frequently because now that I waited, I have so much to share that I don’t know where to start!  I may just have to knock out a couple posts to keep my thoughts from sounding garbled. 😉

For starters, our trip to San Diego was PHENOMENAL!  It was warm and sunny basically everyday there.  That meant I got to test out my fancy new GPS watch while running along the beach.  Pretty awesome!  I logged almost 20 miles of running with the sun on my face and wind in my hair. That brings my running mileage up to almost 100 miles for the year!

I was pretty tempted the try some open water swimming out there, because let’s be honest, Imagewhen else was I going to have an opportunity to try swimming with friendly sea lions (in shark infested water)?  As it turned out, that didn’t quite work out for me.  The days when we had time were pretty chilly with the breeze factor, so I had to resort to just jealously watching the other swimmers with better fortitude.  That’s not to say I didn’t test out the water.  I spent a couple of my runs in the surf, which is exactly how I knew the water was freezing!

Regardless of my lack of open water swim experience, I did at least get a lot of running mileage in with some great scenery as a back drop.  I also sort of got the hang out the GPS watch, although I still haven’t figured out how to sync the data with Runkeeper (where I am tracking my mileage goals for the year) other than to enter it manually.  One nice thing about it is that is buzzes at each mile interval with the time.  While I could live without knowing each mile interval time, it’s nice to know how many miles in I am without looking down.  I also could see where it could be useful to use the heart rate display to track what zone you are training in… not that I’m ready to give up my zen running style. 😉

While I didn’t get to swim on our trip, I did at least get to read about swimming.  I made it through most of Triathlon For Every Woman just on the flight out and finished the rest before we made it home.  If you are naturally un-athletic, out of shape, over weight, ever considered triathlon, or never considered triathlon this book is a MUST READ!  I found Meredith from Swim Bike Mom totally relatable and hilarious to boot.  While I may not have ever had to contend with a Fat Stranger, I have had to overcome a Hollow, Emotionally Unstable Stranger following an Imageabusive relationship.  As she points out, her book is not exclusive.  Everyone hits a point in his or her life when they don’t like or can’t relate with the person looking back in the mirror.  Her story is one of reconciling who she was and who she wanted to be.  That is something anyone can relate to.  While I’m sure Meredith would love for everyone to try triathlon as a means to changing their lives, what she is really doing is encouraging the masses to go out and chase there dreams.  She does this by breaking the process down into short term and long term goals.  Start with what seems doable and build to the impossible.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  She is truly a woman after my own heart.  Add to that that she has a team of experts (including her husband The Expert) to break everything down and make it accessible.  Meredith is open about the fact that she had barely finished a couple  5Ks before making the decision (or should I say Decision) to become a triathlete.  The journey changed her life forever.

Now she has built a Swim Bike Mom Empire (I mean the girl even has her own triathlete apparel! Who is up for some Running Thriver swag? jk Maybe someday) , and as I wrote to tell her, I only hope that someday I can expand The Running Thriver to be able to inspire and help the masses to the degree that she has.  There was I time when I used to think that I needed to accomplish all my craziest goals in life before my story would be worth sharing.  I believed that I should wait until after completing an Ironman to write a book. However, Swim Bike Mom has changed my perspective on that.  When she wrote her book, she had set a goal for herself to complete an Ironman, but hadn’t actually done it yet.  Instead, she choose to write her story after her second half Ironman.

When I started sharing my story on this blog, my goal was to use my adventures in fitness to inspire others to go chase their dreams (not so different from Swim Bike Mom).  At this point, I Imagewould say that I have accomplished quite a few fitness goals. Since starting this blog, I have finished several half marathons (more than I can keep track of actually), a marathon, ran the Ultra Beast (until they shut down the course and pulled me off it), finished my first Ultra, and learned to bike and swim at the age of thirty.  At no point did I ever stop and say this is too scary or too hard.  Nor did I give up when I was kicked out of my first swim class (by the pool troll). Instead, I have forged forward in the direction of my dreams even when I was the only person who believed I could accomplish them.

The thing I love about Meredith is that she didn’t need the support of the masses to go chase her dreams.  She didn’t care that people thought she was crazy or didn’t think she fit the perfect athlete prototype.  In fact, the fact that she was not a super fit, athletic, Glamazon at the start of her journey is exactly why I relate to her and find her so inspiring.  She decided to become a triathlete at a point when she was working full time, had two kids under the age of three, and was unhappy with her body.  She then turned her dream into a successful brand.  This woman gets kudos ALL DAY LONG in my book.  I am all for anyone who is willing to chase down their dreams, however I am in AWE of ladies like Meredith who are able to build an empire while being a mom, wife, and successful career woman.  GO SWIM BIKE MOM! You are officially my hero. 🙂

Someday I believe I will do an Ironman. It may not be within the next year or even soon, but someday I know I’ll get it done.  I know because it’s one of those ideas that’s always nagging in the back of my mind.  It’s what got me to the pool this morning, in spite of the snow, to knock out another mile and a quarter swim.  It’s what kept me going when I was exhausted after the first mile.  Someday I will get it done.  In the meantime, I am going to chase my other dreams- like writing a book and expanding The Running Thriver… and maybe starting a family. 😉

Short and Long Term Goals

“Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.”
-Christine Todd Whitman

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For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help.  It didn’t matter who needed it or what it involved, I just wanted to be useful.  Maybe that is why I picked a career in medicine.  What better choice for an occupation than to take care of people all day who need it?  Yet, even spending my days taking care of other peoples needs and having the occasional opportunity to help save a life were not enough to calm the feeling of needing to do more to make a difference.

I have never been quite sure of what type of difference I’m supposed to be making in this word exactly, but what I do know is ImageI wake up every morning with a burning need to do more.  After the abuse, I channelled a lot of this energy into raising money and awareness for victims of domestic violence through CT-ALIVE and the Running for Color Purple Campaign.  While working with CT-ALIVE has given me an opportunity to do some good, I still feel like it’s not enough.  I don’t want to just raise money for victims of violence, I want to interact with them and give them hope.  More than that, I want to prevent women from becoming victims.  This has lead to me really evaluate what I want to do with this blog and my life.

I have the luxury with my current job of having 4 days off from work a week.  That gives me plenty of time to work with for accomplishing my other goals and dreams.  I know I want to make a difference in the world, and I specifically know I want to make a difference for victims of domestic violence.  What I need to workout is a game plan.  My work with CT-ALIVE and this blog have been a good start, but I think it’s time to branch out.  For starters, I have been putting more energy into my blogging and have recently begun putting myself out there.  I joined Team Tough Chik, which I am actually pretty excited about, and have also applied to be an ambassador for Fitfluential and RunKeeper.  I think all of these offer a great opportunity to get my message out there as well as get connected to companies I already utilize and believe in.

The other thing I am looking to accomplish is to put together a talk/program about dating and domestic violence that I can give at local colleges.  I met my abuser in college and knew nothing about domestic violence or the warning signs at the time.  If I can share my story and prevent young women from walking blindly into a dangerous situation, then I will have accomplished something truly fulfilling.  I think educating the masses about the myths and misconceptions of domestic violence is essential erasing the stigma of abuse and preventing more victims.  Abuse thrives in silence, and my goal is to Imageshine a spot light on it and open some dialogue.

Therefore, dating/domestic violence awareness talk has been added to my list of short term goals, along with improving my swimming and cycling, and training for a Half Ironman.  While these things may seem completely unrelated, for me, training and abuse are closely related.  After all, training for races is what made me feel empowered after abuse.  Gaining strength and endurance helped me build my confidence and feel safe again.  Plus, pushing myself through training and exercise while overcoming my past abuse is what I started this blog about in the first place.  Although at most times this blog is more about kicking ass than dealing with abuse, the history of abuse is part of who I am and what drives me to be a better, stronger, smarter woman.

If I am able to complete the Half Ironman, and someday a full Ironman, it will be at least in part due to the strength I’ve gained from my past experience with domestic violence.  It will also serve as a further example that anything is possible in life even after abuse.  My ultimate long term goal is to write a book about my experience with overcoming abuse.  I think finishing a full Ironman beforehand would make the message even more powerful… Not to say that if I never get to the point of doing an Ironman that I wouldn’t still write one, but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could?

In the meantime, I will get back to swim classes and spinning… and maybe writing a talk. 🙂