Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 comes to a close...

Like everyone else at this time of the year, I look back over the past twelve months and reflect on my accomplishments and, more importantly, the things I have learned (or am in the process of learning).

As an athlete, I had a full year of training and racing.  Countless hours in the water, on the bike or in my runners translated into a great year for me in my IM journey:

Chilly Half Marathon - February
Around the Bay (target race) - March (and a PB)
Rivertown Half Marathon - May
Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon - June
Musselman Half Iron (target race) - July
Detroit Marathon - October
Boxing Day 10 Miler - December

I am part of a special group of people who are like my second family.  We love and support each other when we train, when we race, and all the times in between.  For that, I am truly blessed.  These are the people who will get me to Florida and the finish chute.

In my professional life, our organization was in a year of transition.  I said goodbye to my boss who I worked with for 13 years and welcomed a new one, with all the change that goes with it.  I played a key role in a fall charity fundraiser that made over $140,000 (very stressful time).  With 29 years experience, many were looking to me as an anchor when things were unsure.  I have and will always be loyal to our organization and I did what I could to make sure that at the end of the day, we were all okay.

On a personal level, this was sometimes a difficult year for me.  As I have said before, I am surrounded by amazing people who love and support me - I know that.  What is hard for me is allowing those same people to see me when I'm not "perfect".  My background is very much steeped in British military tradition - stiff upper lip and all that - so for me, letting people in when I am vulnerable is not easy.  But thanks to a few special people (you know who you are), I am learning that while I strive to be the best I can be, I don't have to be perfect.  I am learning that you can be strong while letting others help you along the way.

I have never really been one for New Year's resolutions, but going forward into 2013 and my road to Ironman, I think that I need to continue to learn the lessons I started this year:

Be more patient and forgiving with myself
Allow others to love and support me when I need them the most

To all my family and friends, 2013 is going to be one tough, amazing year in my road to IM Florida.  I love you all and am so grateful that you will be walking this path with me.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

And so it begins...

Welcome to the start of my journey towards IM Florida.  I am taking a page out of my coach's book (very successful I might add with three IM finishes under her belt), and started this blog.  I'm not quite sure where this journey (literary and IM) will take me, but wherever it is, I am prepared to go.  I hope that you come along for the ride.

So, maybe I should begin with a little bit of background that led me to the year 2013 and my IM dream.  I started distance running in 1998 (a little later in life than some) and completed my first marathon that year.  Since then, I have completed ten marathons:

Toronto International
Chicago (2)
Ottawa (2)
Marine Corps
Detroit (2)

I have also done the Around the Bay Race five times (and counting) and completed numerous half marathons, Boxing Day 10 Milers, etc.  Needless to say, I'm a runner and I truly enjoy my sport.

In 2009, during a post-run breakfast, my coaches (and friends) from my running group and my husband started discussing triathlons and that it was time that I transitioned from being a runner to being a triathlete.  Hello, I'm in the room...don't I get a say in this?  Apparently not, because it was decided that I would start training as a triathlete. 

Okay, that means swimming, right?  Not that I would drown and I wasn't afraid of the water, but I had zero technique for swimming.  Never mind that I hadn't been on a bike in 30 years!  But my triathlete coaches were all IM finishers, so who could go wrong with that kind of support in your corner? 

I spoke with my coach (God love her, who is still my coach and will be with me every step of 2013) and said that if I did become a triathlete, my dream would be to finish an Ironman the year I turned 50.  She looked me straight in the eye and said "We have four years, no problem!". 

During 2009, I started my three sport training.  I borrowed a bike (didn't want to commit the funds if I didn't like it) and got some extra coaching in the swim.  It didn't take long before I fell in love with this sport!  It really does push you to the limit in a way I had never experienced before - awesome!  Of course, surrounding yourself with like-minded (crazy) people sure helps.

The year 2010 was my first year racing - three Try-a-Tris with each one better than the last (my first race was in the pouring rain with my husband, coaches and friends out in full force to support me).  In 2011, I stepped up to the sprint distance with my target race being an Olympic triathlon in Bracebridge - all three races were great! 

This year, I only had two races - an Olympic distance and my first Half Ironman (Musselman).  My Half Ironman was held in Geneva, New York.  I had been there in 2011 to complete a sprint distance while my coach completed the Half Ironman, so I knew that it was a fabulous race.  Unfortunately for me, the weather was not so cooperative and all that was missing was a swam of locusts.  I had to ride 90k through driving rain, complete with thunder and lightning.  At times the rain was so hard, I had to ride with one eye closed.  I have never seen my coach so happy to see me as when she saw me coming into bike transition, wet, dirty and glad to be alive. 

So this is the road that has brought me to here.  It has been filled with a whole lot of training (some of it the toughest I have done...yet...), loads of laughter and smiles, some tears, friendships that will last a lifetime and most of all, the knowledge that I am so very blessed to be able to do what I do with the people I do it with.

IM I come.