Earlier this week I posted about how I have struggled most of my adult life with the fear of failure. The ultimate point of the long-winded post was that I started out the journey always thinking how I was LESS THAN I wanted myself to be. I am here today to say that I am ending this particular journey, the journey to Ironman Florida 2012, with the knowledge that I am MORE THAN that I am GREATER THAN those fears.
I used to say that running was my church but triathlon saved my life. Now I need to amend that and say that while running is my church and triathlon saved my life, Ironman gave me back myself to enjoy it all.
This race-specific blog was started 2 years ago with the purpose of tracking my progress in training for Ironman Florida. At the end, I decided that it was more important to capture the journey of re-discovering myself through the act of total dedication.
The proof here is that I now realize that all that I have gained through the past year more than makes up for all that I have given up on over the past 10. I quit believing in myself way back in college when a relationship went bad and I was left with a deeply broken ego. I ended up a deeply broken person. It has taken years of attempting to rebuild, only to get sidetracked and have to start all over again.
Every time I got broken, I got back in the saddle and tried again.
At the end of it all I never quit rebuilding myself. I would dig deeper each time and try to heal my broken ego, with plenty of stumbling block along the way.
I quit my first marathon at mile 23. MILE 23. I pulled out of races or switched to shorter distances because I just knew I would not make it. Throw in the middle of all of that a diagnosis of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in the form of petite mal and psychic seizures, and it pushed me over the edge. I wasn't worthy of success or a good life. I wasn't good enough. I was a dysfunctional wanna be. I was so deeply broken physically and emotionally.
The feelings that started 10 years ago just never went away no matter what I did. What more would I have to do to show myself that I was worthy of success?
That is when I realized what I was doing and where the journey to Ironman FL 2012 was taking me. It is so much MORE THAN 140.6 miles. It is about faith and dedication and healing my broken self. It is about knowing that failure is not an option anymore, and that I have earned the victory lap. I am worthy. I am back!
Anyone can do an Ironman. Not everyone is willing to work for it. I meant it when I said that I am the laziest person I know. I really am. However I am also a very dedicated person when I find a cause that I believe in. I finally believe in myself. I am one of the few willing to and who is fortunate enough to be able to put aside and sacrifice for a year to make this goal, this dream, a reality.
Ironman has already given back to me in so many ways, however the biggest gift is a healed ego. A healed sense of self.
Every time that I increased some power on the bike, every mile that I ran a faster mile, every time that I dropped a clothing size, and every time that I swam longer and longer in open water culminating in a 5k (3.1 mile) open water swim through lakes and rivers I was putting energy into the universe and the universe was giving me 10-fold power to find myself again. I just needed to be open to receive it.
Thanks to my amazing friend Vickie and my coach Bonnie, I was able to see myself through their eyes and together they helped restore me. And thanks to my friend Amy, who has always inspired me however now even more.
Every mile and hour that I deposited in to the bank account of Ironman was a bandage on my broken self. Every time that I would hop in the pool or lake, that I would go for a run or ride I would log my workouts and marvel that I was really doing this. I did not half ass it. I was DOING IT. And yes sometimes it took Vickie and Bonnie to tell me that I was doing it before I believed it for myself, but I am forever grateful that they never gave up even when I was doubting myself.
So, here I am just a few weeks away from the victory lap and I can firmly say that this race has been MORE THAN a test a physical endurance and strength, it was also about showing myself my true colors. It showed to me that I am MORE THAN I thought that I was.
Now that I have faced the fears behind me I am ready to look forward with a new sense of self. I have accomplished all of my goals this year. I have not quit one thing and I have not allowed myself to back out of anything that I have put my mind to do.
I am sitting here with a smile on my face because I know that November 3rd will be as my friend Tom Demerly has said, a long walk across the graduation stage. I finally get it.
It is not the end of a journey, but the beginning of my life without the shackles of doubt and fear.
In the coming weeks I am going to start blogging more about what my plans for the day are. I have decided to enjoy every mile of the day, no matter how tough it gets. That means that I am going to put a focus on each segment of the race, breaking it up into 40 or so parts, taking it 1 mile at a time. I am going to be taking some very special people with me in my heart during Ironman.
I am an Ironman. I can do this. I have given my all for this moment, and I am ready to toe that line with 2,000+ of my crazy like-minded friends.
It is really here! I am ready to walk across the graduation stage! I am ready for my victory lap!