Friday, October 09, 2015

What if...

What if you were given the opportunity to reset? What if you were given the opportunity and the gift to pursue a few specific dreams, with no expectation other than to do what makes you happy and healthy. That is the amazing place that I find myself in today.

I'm a goal-driven person, having specific goals help drive and define me but it is a double edge sword because I have a very "all or nothing" side to my personality. It makes for extremes in my life - sometimes great for focusing on long-term goals (like training for an Ironman, or planning professional projects) and sometimes bad. (like being a work-a-holic, and managing an ongoing eating disorder/addictive personality)

So when trying to define "happy and healthy" I find myself contemplating balance because at the age of 45, it became clear to me and my husband in the last six months that it was a "healthy balance" of work and play that is missing from my life.

So here I am now, released from what society assumes are the traditional responsibilities of a married woman with no children. (full time work) Encouraged to explore, to play and to get my physical health back and define what "balance" is for myself.

5 by 50.

Here goes something...

Life is good, LiveSTRONG.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who are you?

It has been a while since I have posted, a long while. It has been a while since I felt like myself, a long while...

So today, on a rare day off in the middle of the week, I find myself silently asking "Who are you?" and realizing that I do not like some of the answers coming back from my internal-self.

Excuse me for what is about to sound, perhaps a little melodramatic, but sometimes getting things out is the best way for me to deal with my emotions. Speaking the obvious forces me to deal with it, acknowledge it and move forward.

When I was 28, I was miserable with my life. I was 298 pounds, I was in debt, I hated my job, and I was making bad decisions on a daily basis. It was that number on the scale that broke through to my subconscious and prompted a dramatic shift in the direction I would take my life. I made a deliberate decision to change and turned my life around 180 degrees. I found a new job, I moved further south (from Delaware to Northern VA/DC), I dedicated myself to getting out of debt and I focused all my energy on losing weight. By the time I was 30-years old, I had lost 120 pounds, stopped looking to my "final weight goal of being 145 and a size 8," and redefined myself instead as a long-distance cyclist. I was debt free, building my professional career, and a building a solid network of friends. I was confident, happy, and healthy and was on the verge of discovering triathlon and meeting my future husband.

Looking back now, I am amazed at how much my life changed within two years time. When I think of how long my husband and I have been together, 15 years total (married just 5 of those years), I realize that he met me just as I was redefining who I am.

In 2005, my perception of my "self" was redefined again, this time by outside forces (although it was really 'inside'), as I was diagnosed with cancer. I took it upon myself to choose, as much as I could, how that would redefine me. While there was not much I could control about the treatment and outcome, I could define for myself what kind of "cancer survivor" I would be. That brought amazing opportunities to learn many things about myself, positive and negative. And while it is not a definition that anybody seeks, I did my best to make it a "positive" in my life.

In 2011, my husband and I moved to the deep South. I came with the idea that I knew who I was and what was important to me, but I moved without having developed the skills that I would need to "define myself" in the context of this new environment. Immediately, I felt lost and some day, still do.

Things are most assuredly different in the deep South. wonderful ways, in strange ways, and sometimes in hard ways. And I find myself older and not really willing to be the chameleon of "change" that I was in my late 20s. I want to be the woman that I transformed myself into while living "inside the Beltway", here in the deep South. However, our life has changed and I struggle to find balance in all this change, even four years after the move.

I left my job for our move, and had already been slacking on my general health and fitness (moving is stressful) and the freedom of being home, it turns out, is more like having "no direction" than "being free" to my personality. I was lost and no amount of "race goals" could seem to help me find my way back to the answer to the question "Who are you?" because who I am, here, is different because "here" is different from "there."

I thought training for another Ironman-distance triathlon (IMFL 2013) would help me "find myself" and it certainly gave me focus and direction for a short period of time but once it was over, I was struggling once more. So I jumped back into a full time job in my professional career and the change in schedule and focus was so dramatic that I have backpedaled to far in the wrong direction, away from who I want to be. Work is all consuming and stressful instead of a creative and busy way to spend the time between workouts and time with my husband and our slow-growing network of friends. (slow-growing by choice, we choose quality over quantity these days when it comes to relationships)

With work all consuming, I tried to find another dramatic way to redefine myself and threw myself into training and fundraising for the Ulman Cancer Fund and Mission2Vine 700-mile Team Relay Run/Experience. In my mind, the Mission2Vine experience would reinforce my "athlete" and "cancer survivor" sides. I pushed hard, working full-time, training full-time and fundraising full-time, "full speed ahead, body be damned", until I was injured but still steadfast and stubbornly determined to go to California and be part of the UCF Mission2Vine experience. The experience was very good for my soul but very hard on my body physically, and the time away from work - which should have been a break - unfortunately just made for more stress when I returned, now behind the curve and injured.

There has been a transformation in me over the last year, physically and emotionally, and in my personal opinion, it has not been a healthy one. My weight is up, a lot. I can no longer rest on the laurels of "I once lost 120 pounds" and "I am a two-time Ironman triathlete" and I must face the reality that I have gained 60 pounds back. I have pushed my body, hard, to attempt to maintain my fitness in spite of the weight gain and my body has paid the price. I am injured more often than I am healthy, because of the additional weight. I am stressed more often than I am happy at work, and I am unhappy a lot because I look in the mirror and can not abide by the woman staring back at me.

So the time is here again, to answer the question "Who are you right now?" with honesty and clarity and then answer the more important questions "Who do you want to be?" and "What are you going to do to get there?"

Life is Good. LiveSTRONG! Be BRAVE!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Congratulations to the HOKA ONE ONE COWBELL WINNER!

Well I didn't think SNIP IT would take such a small photo but there it is...
(if you click on the photo,  you can get a better view)


#27. Valerie Papachristos

Congratulations Valerie and THANK YOU
for your generous support of the Ulman Cancer Fund!

Enjoy your HOKA ONE ONE and
your custom CT5K Cowbell will be on it's way to you early next week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Support the Ulman Cancer Fund and you could WIN A PAIR OF HOKA ONE ONE!

I know, I have not been around on the blog but I have been keeping busy with a new job and I have signed myself up for an amazing opportunity to support my passion - The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. In just 6 weeks, I will be joining 20 runners in San Deigo, CA to run 700 miles up the California coast in the 2014 Mission to Vine.

Mission to Vine is 7 day, 700 Mile running journey up the Pacific Coast Highway to support the young adult cancer fight.

The journey brings together a diverse group of individuals to build a community of support for those affected by cancer.  Using running as a platform, Mission to Vine participants come together throughout the journey to share their individual cancer connections and offer as much support to others as they are receiving.

The Mission to Vine journey is more than just a run.  It’s not a race.  It’s not a competition.  It’s an experience that will allow participants to give support and get support in the young adult cancer fight.  The journey will begin at Mission Beach in San Diego, CA and end in the Vines of Sonoma, CA.

Training is going well...Now it is time to get the Fundraising for my "Mission to Vine" up and running too!

Make a $25.00 Donation to my Fundraising Page and you could WIN A PAIR OF HOKA ONE ONE Running Shoes!

Between now and October 1, 2014, every person who makes a $25.00 donation to my #2014m2v Fundraising page will be entered in my UCF CT5K COWBELL Raffle to win a $200.00 gift card to and a custom UCF CT5K Cowbell with your name on it!

1.) One Raffle Entry per $25.00 donation

2.) If you make a minimum donation of $25.00 and SHARE my Link on your Facebook Wall or a Facebook Page you manged, you will get 2 additional raffle entries*.
*2 extra for a Donation + SHARE only

Do the Raffle Math: $25.00 - 1 Raffle entry, $100.00 = 4 Raffle entries, $25.00 + SHARE = 3 Raffle entries, $50.00 Donation + SHARE = 4 Raffle entries (2 for $50.00 + 2 for SHARE)

3.) Raffle numbers will be assigned at the time of donation in chronological order and will also be posted here on triandbehappy.

4.) The Raffle winner will be picked by a random number generator on Wednesday, OCT 1, 2014 and announced on Facebook and on my blog.

This is your opportunity to 1.) Support the ULMAN CANCER FUND for Young Adults and it's programs and 2.) Win an amazing pair of running shoes! BUT YOU CAN"T WIN IF YOU DON'T DONATE!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Ironman Florida Race Report

WARNING: This is a long Race Report but it is appropriate considering it is a long race. ;)

BACKGROUND:  I've been doing triathlons since 2001 and the Ironman distance has been on my radar since 2003. I signed up for my first Half Ironman (Timberman 70.3) specifically to see what I might be getting myself into. Boy was I surprised! I finished my race in 8:02 but knew the moment I crossed the line that I had 2-3 more years of training ahead before I should try to toe the line at an Ironman. I picked Ironman Lake Placid 2006 as my GOAL RACE as that race is in July in NY near my birthday. In Feb 2005, the year I planned to head to Lake Placid to volunteer and sign up, I was diagnosed with Stage III Melanoma. Obviously Ironman was no longer a focus, just surviving the year of chemo and my Ironman race plans were post-poned.

Three years later in July 2008, Jim and I headed up to Lake Placid, NY to volunteer so that I could finally sign up for my first Ironman. That weekend not only did I sign up for Ironman Lake Placid 2009 but we got engaged to be married! Stubborn woman that I am, I would not listen when many of my Ironman finisher friends told me "Maybe getting married and training for Ironman in the same year is not the best idea..." I thought I would be fine, we'd get married in April 2009, I'd be in amazing shape for my wedding day because I would already be 8-months into training for IMLP and I would finish my first Ironman on my 39th Birthday in Lake Placid, NY!

Life sometimes has other plans...

We did get married in April 2009 and we both were in the best shape in a long, long time. My training was good but not perfect. Race Day came in July 2009 at Ironman Lake Placid and I finished the swim, and DNF'd by missing the first cuttoff on the 2-loop Bike Course by 30-minutes. A trip to the Medical Tent revealed that I was up 7 pounds in body weight and despite being ravenously thristy...I had hyponotremia. (diluted electrolytes in your blood due to intake of too much hydration) Luckily we caught it early, so there was no trip to the hospital for me...just intake of a lot of V8 juice and salt and a bit of a headache until my electrolyte balance came back to normal. I sat in the Medical Tent with tears rolling down my face, humiliated to have missed the first loop of the Bike cuttoff...knowing that my entire family and several friends has spent money to come to NY to watch me FINISH an Ironman. My husband Jim walked into the tent and through my tears, I said "Honey, there is a race in Wilmington, NC in November called Beach2Battleship...would you mind if I tried again?" Jim kissed me and said "Of course, why let all this great training go to waste...You should sign up when we get home."

So I took 2-weeks off of training and then threw myself back into Ironman training mode and in November 2009, I found myself on the beach with a small group of 500 triathletes racing the Ironman distance at Beach2Battleship. I finished in 16:17:45 and had the swim of my life. (1:24) I was proud that I figured out my nutrition that works for me, survived a flat tire at Mile 107 of the Bike and finally finished my first Ironman. But there was a little part of me that wondered...If it had not been a current assisted swim, would I have finished in 17:00?

Someday I wanted to do it again...I wanted to race an "M-Dot" (WTC) Ironman and erase the small bit of doubt...It would be another 3 years before the opportunity to train for an Ironman presented itself again...

When I signed up for Ironman Florida in Nov 2012, I was just 2-weeks out of a cast on my left foot for a Posterior Tibial Tendon injury and weighing in on the scale more than 30 pound heavier than when I started IMLP & B2B in 2009. I had confidence that 1.) I could rehab my injury 2.) I could take off some of this weight before race day.

Beyond "FINISH my 2nd Ironman distance triathlon, I had 3 goals for Ironman Florida:

1.) PR the M-DOT Swim (1:49 - Lake Placid 2009)
2.) 7:30 Bike Goal
3.) Run/Walk the Marathon - Pain Free


2.4 Mile Swim: 2:01:04

Once upon a time (2006 & 2007), I claimed I would "never" even consider Ironman Florida because it was an ocean swim. What AM I DOING ON THIS BEACH?!?
First Loop: Seeded myself in back of the 1:30-1:45 Finish Corral because I was striving for 1:40-1:45. Got kicked and grabbed and took a blow to my upper forehead (got an little egg shaped contusion on my head!) and yet I stayed calm because my primary focus was to get through the Break and find my rhythm. I looked around about 400yds into the swim - in the middle of a roller coaster swell and thought..."Look at me! I'm swimming with the big kids!"...and then by the second turn buoy, it was just me and the rest of the back of the pack but at least now I had room to practice my total immersion techniques and save my legs for the bike and run.
Finished the first loop (according to Jim) in 57:00  - popped out of the water and heard them announcing that pro-female Rinney was finishing the swim. Looked around? "Where...where is Rinney?" but alas, I had to move on to my second loop. Ran next to another woman who said to me "I don't think I want to do this again..." and I said "Come On, Let's GO!" Not sure what she did but I did head back out for my second loop although I didn't run down the beach far enough and fought really hard to get through the Break again. I remembered thinking briefly "Oh No...What am I doing?" Which I immediately followed with " Come on Holly, You can do this...YOU CAN DO THIS!" and back in the drink I went. I tempted fate and peaked at my Garmin at the final red turn buoy before we headed back to shore...1:40...Well, no PR for me but if I stay steady I will be on the Bike before 9:15AM. Put my head down to finish the swim and get out of the water!
I told Julie B. & Barry (Team MMS swim buddies all summer) that it was in that last loop that I actually realized that no matter what happened after this, I just had a PR of new kind. I swam the entire 2.4 miles in choppy water and stay relatively calm and happy the entire time!

PR of a totally different kind!

Out of the water, got my wetsuit stripped and sadly did not spend nearly enough time under the fresh water shower which I would pay for on the run...SAND IS EVIL!

T1: 12:54:

I changed COMPLETELY from the tri top and shorts I was wearing to a dry sports bra, regular bike shorts, and a cycling jersey, taking time to dry off and apply lots of TRI SLIDE & sunscreen. Had help from an awesome volunteer, stopped by a Port-o-Let in Transition, was handed my bike and I was ready to go! Got some great cheers and love from Meagan C. and family, Julie & Barry, my husband Jim and lots of DC "Team Z" teammates and was on my way...

112-mile BIKE: 7:32:55 

HUGE SHOUT OUT to Montgomery Multisport and Andy because my bike fit was PERFECT! God Bless Andy because I must have tried at least 8 saddles before he helped me get the right one set up. My bike fit was perfect. I was never sore or had any odd pain in my back or shoulders.

This Bike nearly went like clock work. I promised myself to be a "Zone 2 Heartrate Devote" matter how many other people passed me on the bike. Whenever my heartrate monitor beeps at me that I was above my limit (165), I back off my pace. I set my Garmin to beep every 10-minutes to remind me to drink my custom blend of Infinit and at the top of every hour of race time I ate 1 GU. I averaged 325 calories per hour with this plan and felt great, despite headwinds, for the first 56 miles to special needs.

The ONLY mistake that I made on the bike was eating about 10 pringles from my special needs bag. Something about the solid food (which I did not have issues with on stand alone long bike rides...) messed up my digestion. Within 30-minutes, my stomach was feeling bloated, sloshy and crampy. So for the next hour from between miles 65-80, I only drank my Infinit, took my GU and took some extra salt tablets. Nothing changed with my stomach issues BUT in doing some "self checks" I realized that while my stomach hurt, my legs felt good! So I took full advantage of the "tailwinds" that we had at Mile 80 and began to pick up my bike pace and passed fellow athletes for the remainder of the race.
Pulled in Transition around 5:00pm, having finished the ride with a negative split and a huge smile on my face...Just 26.2 miles between me and the Finish Line and plenty of time to go.

T2: 12:07

I changed completely again into my CANCER to 5K running shirt and regular running shorts and compression socks and my Brooks. I had two things on my mind... My stomach was still a MESS of cramps and sloshing and the outside of my left foot was hurting quite a bit. (not the inside as I would expect from the tibial tendon) Rather than worry, I just walked towards the start of run course, stopping at the Port-o-Potty for a pitstop and then getting the Marathon underway.

26.2 mile RUN: 6:48:02

THE CROWDS were AMAZING at the Mile 1 / Mile 13.1 point. Nothing like starting a Marathon between tons of TRI CLUBS and again I saw Meagan C., Team Z and also Cat and Coach Tony from Training Peaks! Having your name on your is a mixed blessing! When you need the love and encouragement it is great to have people yelling "GO HOLLY" but at the same time, when you were struggling or focused on figuring out how to fix stomach issues, I felt pressure to say "Thank you" to every stranger who called out my name. (First World problems, I know...)

My Marathon Plan was Run 1-minute / Walk 1-minute for 26.2 miles or until I could no longer run anymore and to hold the pace at no slower than 15-16-minutes per mile. Nutrition Plan was water, chicken broth and Cola from the aid stations along with 1 GU every 3rd mile. I was in considerable pain with my left foot for the first 6-miles but I knew that in an Ironman, things can change over time. So I told myself that my foot was just tight and that it could loosen up as the miles went on. STICK TO THE PLAN and started my intervals.

I took a long stop at a Port-o-Potty at Mile 4 and discovered that gas was the reason my stomach was cramping so badly. With that resolved, I was feeling much better but still in some foot pain. By Mile 6, my left foot finally stopped hurting! I was having a good time, Run/Walking, looking for fellow Team MMS and Team Z friends and just knocking down the miles. I saw Cason and Mark a few times as well as many of my DC Team Z friends but spent the first 10-mile run/waking alone.

Sometimes around Mile 10, I met Heidi. She was power walking about as quickly as I was Run/Walking and we struck up a friendship. As I was having more and more trouble running, it was nice to have somebody to talk to when I had to walk and by the time we got to Special Needs at Mile 13.5, we have formed an alliance. We would keep each other moving, beat the Mile 19 cuttoff and finish together. I had stuck to Water and GU for the first 13.1 miles (Water whenever I wanted it and a GU every 3rd Mile) We made a very quick stop at Special Needs near 8:20pm and I grabbed 4 more GUs and we really started power walking. We wanted to be at Mile 19 by 10PM, a solid 30-minute ahead of the course cuttoff. Saw Meagan C., my friend Kathi and husband Jim near Mile 13.5 and off went Heidi and I, into the dark for Lap #2.

Heidi and I traded off on who was feeling good. For a few miles she would be just out ahead of me, a beacon to stay close to and then we would switch and I would feel better and she would lag a bit behind. At one point near Mile 18, I really had a 8th wind and pull pretty far ahead of Heidi. Concerned that she was starting to struggle (this was her first Ironman) I actually stopped at a Rest Stop and waited for her to catch up. (Which incidentally really pissed my husband Jim off when he heard about it later..."It's YOUR Ironman! You don't stop and wait for others!") We had both begun to take either Chicken Broth or Cola at each stop but she had skipped a stop or two and was slowing down. I walked back to Heidi and told her that she needed to eat a GU, even if she didn't want to. "Trust Me on this, you don't want to get behind." She obliged...just barely and we push on, hitting out Mile 19 at our time goal. Just 7 miles to go and 2-hours left on the clock...
Heidi and I did not talk much for the next few miles but we were definately in it together. If one of us would groan or sigh, the other would mumble "We got this"...there were also a few swears. We were solidly keeping 15 to 16-minute miles focused on getting through the darkness and knocking out Mile Markers.

AND THEN we hit Mile 22.

I don't know if it was the GU, or the calling of the Finish Line, or the fact that her Coach came by to check on her but DAMN if Heidi didn't find a 9th gear. I'd say she got the IRONMAN FINISH LINE BUG up her @ss and suddenly she was just gone. I heard her voice as she pulled away from me..."Holly, lets do this... 4-miles, we can do this in an hour...let's GO" and as I watch, desperate to walk faster...She was GONE.

AND OH WAS I PISSED!  "M*ther F@@#$$, I waited for YOU at Mile 18!?!"

and then I laughed and shook my head.

and then I looked at my watch, and then I started to try to Run again.

My watch was still beeping away at its 1:00 intervals to remind me to Run/Walk. So I began to Run at the start of every beep, for as long as I could until I had to walk (20-30 seconds) and then I would Walk and recover until it beeped again. I was able to keep this up on and off for the next 2-miles.
Somewhere in Mile 23/24, I came across my close friend Patty. She had been ahead of me by a good 30-40 minutes since the swim, and we would cheer each other when we saw each other on the Bike (near special needs out and back) and on the Run. Still I was surprised to have caught her. I put my hand on her shoulder and said "Hey Patty, Patty!" and she smiled at me and said "Nice Run" and we walked and tried to run together for a few minutes until she told me to "Go Ahead" if I was feeling good. I wasn't feeling "GOOD" but I was so desperately tired of being out there. So I did go on ahead but I wasn't worried about Patty, I knew she would be just a minute or two behind me in the Finish Chute.

Mile 24 was quiet, there were only a handful of us on the course in this area. Most folks were just walking as fast as they could. I passed one guy and said "Can you hear it? We're going to make it" and he responded "I did the Math, I don't think so..." I left that guys side like he had the PLAGUE. There was no way that I was getting caught up in the negative energy. He might not be making it, but I sure as heck was! We still had 45-minutes to go 2.2 miles. If I have learned anything in Ironman, it is that your incapable of clearly doing math...your either behind or ahead...but you need to keep moving forward, no matter what!

My amazing DC Team Z teammates were still out on that abandoned course and there were still 4 of us who were in the last 1.2 miles. When I had finally crossed S. Thomas Street for the last time,  fellow Cancer Survivor and friend Patty J. was standing under a street light. She had come to check up on me and text ahead to the Team to let them know that I was looking strong and on my way. We ran/walked together for nearly the entire half mile and while it could have been considered outside assistance, I didn't care, I was happy for the company. For some reason, even though just a mile before I knew that I had plenty of time and would make it, I had come to believe that I was never going to make it to the finisher chute in time. This was the longest mile ever!  It took about 10x of repeating my current moving pace and the fact that I had 20-minutes to go less than half a mile for me to truly believe Patty and then we turned the corner one last time by the Team Village and the Team Z tents. I got HIGH FIVES from my Coach and Teammates and then there it was...the Finish Chute!

Now I have been to cheer and Volunteer at several Ironmans in the final hour. So I know what an amazing electric party atmosphere it is. I have stood on the side lines and banged on the chute walls and yelled and clapped and screamed "You are an IRONMAN" but never yet had I had the privileged of being on the inside of the chute. My Beach2Battleship Finish in 2009 was a quiet affair in comparison to the party that is an "M-Dot Ironman." So as I jogged down that Finisher Chute, I slowed down and savored EVERY MOMENT. I high fived as many hands as I could and when I saw that the clock was at 16:46:55, I happily stopped when the announcer approached me and let him turn me around so the entire crowd could yell to me "YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN!" and then I raise my hands in the air, turned and ran across the official finish line for a a time of 16:47:02.

My Day was nearly perfect! The only snafu was that after I crossed the Finish Line and a Volunteer came to help me, I found out that THEY RAN OUT OF FINISHER MEDALS & HATS! I was told "We are so SORRY, but we had more Finishers than we expected! We will mail you a Finisher Medal and Hat." So I got a Finisher Shirt and the Medal and Hat are "In the Mail." Poor Form, World Triathlon Corporation. It's a good thing that is was knowing my friends and family were out there waiting to watch me finish that got me to the Finish Line and not the promise of a Finisher Medal, eh?

At the end of the day, what I will remember most, is how amazingly good I felt for 80% of the day. My training was good, my Taper worked perfectly and before I crossed the Start Line, my husband Jim kissed me and said "You are ready and you are going to have a great day! And you know that I never say anything that I do not believe is true."

Ironman Florida was a great day indeed and I am proud to say that I quieted the voice in my head who said that maybe Beach2Battleship 2009 was a "fluke".

I am a 2X IRONMAN Finisher.

Life is Good! LiveSTRONG

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I AM AN IRONMAN (again!)

Race Report to follow...Life is GOOD! LiveSTRONG!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Full Circles...8 Days and Counting

There have been requests for an update to this BLOG. Friends and Family who want to know WHAT IS GOING ON!


So I sat down to answer this question and realized something pretty significant in the process that blew my mind. 

To answer the question simply: YES, I am ready. I have done the hard work.
To be more specific: Over the last year I have....

• lost 20-pounds of fat and gained some significant muscle mass
•  put in the hours in the pool, including swim lessons to improve my wonky stroke
• put in the hours on the bike, including 4 century plus ride (100-miles or longer)
• upgraded to a TRI bike (2012 Felt B12)
• am finally running again... My posterior tibial tendon injury has been healing and while it looks like this will be my longest marathon finish time, I should be able to cover the 26.2 miles (after a 2.4 mile swim and 112-mile Bike) with no pain.

By the Training Numbers, since November 2012, I have covered...

• Swim: 64 miles
• Bike: 1899 miles
• Run/Walk: 305 miles

Now onto the "Significant Something that Blew My Mind"

In November 2006, there was this small idea brewing in the back of my mind. I thought it was a damn good idea but I was hesitant to share it with other people. I was worried that maybe I was wrong, that is wasn't such a good idea, that talking about it / sharing it with others, might be the beginning of the end. So it was on the weekend of November 3 while sitting on a deck enjoying champagne and chocolates and toasting my girlfriend's 2006 Ironman Florida finishes that I told the first people (aside from my future husband) about my idea for a free running program for fellow cancer survivors that would be called CANCER to 5K. My friends were very encouraging and supportive. Telling me that was a great idea and that I should definitely work to make it happen. Several even offered to help me try to figure out a way to get it funded once we got back to Virginia.

And that was how it all started...the courage and confidence to turn a small idea into an actual program began because I took a chance and shared with friends. While volunteering at my dream race, an Ironman.

And now here I sit, (7 years later) 8 days away from starting my third Ironman distance triathlon. (you can read about my other two Ironman races here: IM Lake Placid 2009 and Beach2Battleship 2009) Ironically the one North Amercia Ironman event that I said I "would never do because I hate swimming in the ocean." (Can you see the pattern, I like to do things that challenge me.)

To date, over 100 cancer survivors have completed the CANCER to 5K training program through the support of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and an amazing group of volunteer Coaches and Sherpas. Well over 141 people have been a part of the CANCER to 5K training program and next Saturday, I have 140.6 miles to dedicate to every single one of them.

140.6 miles to think about how I have come full circle...and how one great idea can make a difference, a big difference, if only you take a chance and share and dare to dream. I'll be wearing my CANCER to 5K shirt for the 26.2 miles of the Marathon. It seems like the only way to cross the finish line of Ironman Florida 2013.


Life is Good! LIVESTRONG!