And the day is here…

To sit down and try to summarize all my thoughts, emotions, and retrospects from the past two years is a challenging task. For the first time in this journey, I’m finding myself at a loss for words. Part of the problem is that my emotions jump from one to the next in mere minutes – smiles to tears, laughter to screams – so it’s hard to say what I’m thinking. The butterflies come and go, so does the anxiety, fears, and even some excitement. I’m still not sure that I’ve quite grasped the magnitude of what I’m about to tackle tomorrow – swim 3.8K, bike 180, then run a marathon- it sounds like a bit like insanity, even to me. But what has been reiterated to me time and time again, is that the work is done. All I can do from here until race start is rest, shut off the brain and trust in the journey I’ve been on. Trust that everything I went through was a part of the bigger plan to get me here. The meningitis that delayed my first half ironman, the knee injury that threatened to end the dream, the popped out ribs, the colds, the heat stroke, bleeding toes, blisters, sun burns, and all the other cuts, scrapes, bruises and obstacles, were all a part of growing me into the person I needed to be to do this thing.
I still remember when I first told people I would do an Ironman. My dad looked at me with suspicion and said, “that is a really big race.” Some of my friends also gave me the same looks of suspicions, yet they smiled and nodded that I could do it. So, off I went – like an eager kid, hopping in with both feet and never looking back. Now here I am, less than 12 hours from hearing that start cannon – it’s a bit surreal.
Over the past few days, with all the buzzing of energy, sleepless nights, and unpredictable emotions, there has been one constant in my life – the support and it’s been that way since day one. Triathlon may be an individual sport, and on race day I have only myself to rely on to get me from point A to point B, but there is no denying that there are many people who have been by my side, believing, even when I doubted myself, that I could and would do this thing.
First and foremost, I would not have even stepped foot into this sport if it wasn’t for the three most important role models in my life, my mom, dad and big brother. My love for sport and competition, and relentless determination and stubbornness comes from one of three places and I have them to thank for telling me I could do whatever I set my heart out to do, even if it was Ironman. Through the journey they have been on the other end of the line to hear it all, to cheer me on, and to build me up when I was down. I also couldn’t forget the love of my sister-in-law who, despite not understanding anything about the sport, would often send me text messages full of Ironman related questions and words of encouragement. Her curiosity of my insanity oftentimes made me smile and I loved sharing my stories with her.

Then there have been my friends, who may never truly understand why I do what I do, but have been every step of the way. Whether it was coming to cheer me on at one of the world’s worst spectator sports, randomly volunteering at my races just to get closer to the action, talking to me about my training for hours on phone, or tracking me online – knowing you were there rooting for me every step of the way meant the world. I am especially grateful to those who made the journey to Whistler to sport a neon yellow ‘Team Couch’ support crew shirt and cheer me on for however many hours of the day this thing will take me.

I also can’t look back on these past two years and not think about my training partners, who have not only become friends, but my second family. I couldn’t possibly single any of them out because each of them has offered me something unique and priceless – from many words of wisdom, to shared tools, bike parts, tires and wheels, to shared homes, food, drinks, laughs, cries, dinners, hotel rooms, trips to Kona, chats in the hot tub, chats on the curb, and so much love. Their support over the past two years has been nothing short of incredible and inspiring. I will be thinking of each of them on race day and everything they taught me leading up to tomorrow. I could not have found a better group to go through this roller coaster with me.

Then there is coach. Before Maurice, I learned what I could from online videos, blogs and books, but his knowledge, expertise and ‘rain man’ way of looking at this sport was truly special and it’s because of him and his training program that I got to this day. Although he often said things I could only smile and nod at, he was able to look at my journey in a way I could never have comprehended. There were also times when I cursed his name. But in the end, he cared about us as athletes, and he went through every up and down with me, making damn sure I got here in one piece. I couldn’t possibly thank him enough for his patience when I chose to do keg stands instead of bike rides, for playing hockey or ball when I should have been resting, and for allowing me to ask all the dumb questions in the world. He has been one hell of a coach.
And speaking of coaches, I’ll never forget the woman who would teach me all the fundamentals I needed to know about swimming. Teresa was the one who helped get me from one end the pool to the other, and eventually into my very first open water swim. You never forget those moments or how they contributed to the overall success of my swimming.
In one last shout out, I couldn’t forget all the medical professionals I encountered along the road. From my massage therapist, to chiropractors, my athletic trainer, and hospital staff in Victoria – I saw some of them more than I had wanted, but they played an integral role in making sure I got here alive and in one piece.
As I turn off the light and try to shut off the buzz that invades my head, I will take one final thought with me, “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

3 thoughts on “And the day is here…

  1. We believe in you too. Your Iron Crew will be there tomorrow carrying you on our wings to the finish. You are loved.

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