As Lake Placid gets closer and I find my workouts getting shorter, I have had some time to really think about the process of training for an Ironman. I became smitten with this distance when I traveled to Lake Placid in 2011 to watch my friend Kelly race. I had no idea what it really entailed, I knew the distances, but I was really unsure as to how the day would unfold. Truthfully it was a magical experience, the fans, the energy and the athletes were all amazing.
I remember calling Ryan and trying to convince him I should sign up...and it was a resounding no..it was not the right time and our kids were very little, 1,3, and 5...but I continued to believe that this was part of a bigger plan.
In 2012, I went back up to Placid, to see the race and to sign up. I was ready...for many reasons this was something I was drawn to do. I am very lucky to be able to fulfill this goal and I am thankful that I have many supporters.
I will say there was a fair amount of nervousness in the planning piece. I did not want this to take over our lives and I wanted our kids to have a summer. I wanted their lives to not be spent waiting for me to get home from the bike and for out family to have some time together...and suffice to say I think we accomplished that. Today we were running errands and Aly told someone we were going on vacation, Lake Placid where we get to swim, Iowa where we see our cousins and then NH where we take the train. Yep, mission accomplished not a word about this race looming over my head.
Along the way though...I do think that training for Ironman made me a better mom for several reasons:
I learned not to sweat the small stuff - the dishes lay undone at night so I could go to bed wiht the kids and get enough sleep and the car began to be my locker room...thank goodness for a minivan. In the end no one cared and I got done what I needed to. I let go of the things I could not control weather, sick kids, and folllowed theplan as best I could...it was not always perfect but in the end it was okay.
I grew my friendship circle. While this may seem small, it really wasn't. When you stay home, work part time and shuttle your kids to event after event, you spend an absurd amount of time talking to other moms. I enjoy the social outlet, I also find it to be a breeding ground of comparison and competition. I worked my schedule so I often would arrive at said event as my kids were finishing...sweaty and clear off a workout; instead of worrying about what I had or had not done well I was befriending an entire new set of friends. I was lucky to have awesome riding and running partners and none of their stories are like my own...and it was refreshing. I have made some awesome friends throughout this year and I am lucky that they are part of my life.
I allowed myself to set the a goal and be proud of it. Completing an ironman is not for everyone...but it was an important one for me. Our family dynamnics are such that a lot of the parenting falls on my shoulders...with Ryan gone a majority of each week, I needed an outlet. So I looked forward to my Friday rides, because they were my own time and there was lots of silence while I was riding or running. I believe that you need to be happy in your career and your life and this allowed me some much needed away time. It also allowed me to do something for myself...lets face it at the end of the day...no one says good job parenting today...tomorrow might be easier.
I cannot do it all. While I manage quite a few balls in the air, there are many that I need to let go of. I maintained that I would continue to remain as non helicopter active parent as I could. It also meant that I could say NO...and this was hard because I say YES a lot Yes to playdates, friends over, parties, dinners, making treats, and work. Truthfully though, this was a great time to start the ball rolling. It does make me think that I will think twice about what is really best for us.
I am excited, nervous and happy to be healthy and ready to toe the line at Lake Placid. I think that the journey has been amazing and quite fulfilling. I am lucky that my family and tons of my friends will be there to support me this weekend.