Thursday, August 22, 2013

GETTING TO THE START LINE


Well, from the lack of my blogging, you could pretty much see that I don't have a whole lot of free time. I am in my taper for Ironman Louisville which is in just a few days and I just wanted to write a few things about my journey to get to Ironman #3 and what it all means to me.

Obviously 2012 was a complete write off for everything fitness. My body was working hard in other ways to bring a new life to this earth. I had a tough pregnancy. Emotionally and physically. Several issues made it difficult for me and the most difficult part was that I was carrying twins and lost one of our baby's after the first trimester. It was devastating. I gave up running and cycling after that for couch rest to make sure that nothing happened to Abby who was still thriving. I maintained swim fitness throughout luckily, and was actually swam through the entire pregnancy and loved it. In September 2012, as you know, I gave birth to our beautiful baby daughter and like most new mom's, I wanted my fitness back right away. I had missed racing 140.6 in 2012, I missed it so much that I decided to sign up for not one, but two Ironman races in 2013. Little did I know then how hard the journey would be for me. My fitness came back slowly and it took a lot of time to gain any sort of proper fitness back. My muscles just didn't want to cooperate for a while.

I pushed myself soon after Abby was born. I began running only 3 weeks after her birth and cycling 4 weeks after. I was tired, but I did it because I loved it and because I had missed it. I dabbled in training throughout October, November and December, only swimming, cycling and running when I wanted to (which was actually a lot). In late January, I decided that I would start training for Ironman Louisville and coach put me on a program. The hard part began.

Abby never sleeps. She didn't as a tiny baby and she doesn't now. I don't think either of us have ever quite known tiredness the way that we do now. Oh sure, if I weren't training for a 140.6 race, I would probably be ok?  But that's not part of my journey. So a normal athlete trains, sleeps and recovers. Not this momma. I train, and am lucky to get a solid 4 hour chunk of sleep then start all over the next day. What keeps me going? Some days, I ask myself that question. Sometimes when I'm on the long ride and all I want to do is stop the bike and take a nap in the grass. Why do it? When I am swimming a 5k set and halfway through I close my eyes and can almost feel myself drifting off mid swim. Why? It's because I love it. I love the challenge. I love the way it makes me feel alive. I love everything about it. Even when it hurts, even when I'm tired, even when there are setbacks and god knows, I have had those this year.

We are beyond blessed with our kids, but having a baby and doing long distance races while you have a baby probably would classify you as certifiably nuts! I met a woman cycling a couple weeks ago who was here visiting from Chicago. She was ripped and lean and training for IM Wisconsin. I told her that I had an 11 month old baby and she was like "whaaaa?" Her words still ringing in my ears..." How do you do it? My children were grown before I started all this, but good for you". Hmmm...how do I do it? I'm really not sure. Honestly, I'm really not sure.

I have had a few other setbacks recently as well. I noticed somethings were bothering me while doing the long runs, so I visited my doctor two weeks ago and three weeks out from my first Ironman of the season, I find out that I have a hernia and some pelvic organ prolapse which was caused from giving birth. A HERNIA?!? Great... I was informed that I need surgery to repair everything and the surgery comes with a 6 week recovery. What??! I don't have time for that! Ok, doc...will I be alright to race was my first question. It's not ideal, but what the hell. Go for it. What's the worst that could happen. Oh yea..my guys could fall out but hey...it's for the love of the sport, right!? So here's to hoping that all stays tucked in place ;)
So yea, little setback there and not quite sure how that will impact me on the run Sunday. We shall see. It's been one wild and crazy year so far. I can tell you right now that I am going into this race tired. I have trained for it but not like in years past. I have missed sessions, swims, bikes and runs. I'm lucky to swim 2x week now, I've managed to get in most of the bikes and have missed out on some important runs. On top of everything else, the weather this summer has put a major damper on my training. I will manage on what I've got though. In some ways, I actually feel more fit than ever.

I could write all day about the ups and downs of my training thus far, but I won't...I'm too tired ;) What I will say is that I have worked my ass off to get to the start line this year. I have really given it all I have. Is it my best? Probably not. Will it get me through? Absolutely. This Ironman will be more of a training race and my focus is more on Ironman Florida which is in November. Louisville has been argued to be one of the most difficult Ironman races. I would have to say it's probably up there no doubt. It's not actually the course that's so rough. Sure it's hilly, but the heat and humidity is what makes this one brutal. With temps expected at 90 degrees this weekend with high heat index and humidity...it will definitely hurt. But, I knew that would be the case. It's my third time in KY and it's special for me, so I am looking forward to it, come what may.

So, back to the question that I asked myself while on the bike the other day "why". The reasons and emotions came flooding. For me... it's about perseverance, about determination, about will, about finding your umph, it's about sacrifice, it's a burning desire, it's passion, it's the way it makes me feel alive, all of these things that keep me pushing. Pushing when I should probably be sleeping, need to be resting, wanting to lie on the couch  and eat a chocolate bar...but instead, I'm out there busting it. Working hard. Sweating. Pushing my body as hard as it will let me.  Loving it and hating it at the same time. 140.6 means so much to me. I've worked hard for it and I've earned it. I've earned that moment! When crossing the finish line no matter how long it takes, that is my moment. It's like heaven. This is the HARDEST that I've ever had to work towards completing this goal. Harder than anything I think I've ever done. I will enjoy every moment of this Ironman race. My victory is already won...I've made it to the start line. The finish line will be my reward.

Thanks to my husband and my children for their patience, understanding and support during this journey. They are my rock and they help me to be all that I am.

Thanks for reading....see you on the other side.
Cheers~


1 comment:

ErinHolmesSwims said...

beautiful post Tonya- I have to admit I'm wiping tears from my face while sitting in starbucks- totally an inspiration to me. hope you are well and good luck with IM FL