DREAM- and DARE to make that DREAM come TRUE

As my husband’s first Ironman is quickly approaching; seven days, 17 hours, 23 minutes, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some mantras and thoughts which helped me get through my first Ironman.

An Ironman is big- the Distance is big (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)….the Training is big (months and months or years and 18+ hour a week trainings)….the Emotion and Physical toll is big. But one thing I know for sure; EVERYTIME I even think of crossing that finish line, my eyes well up with tears as the culmination and enormity of this whole thing we call Ironman adds up to one very emotional heart felt result. It’s a result of Pride, and Gratefulness and pure relief that it’s all finally over!

You call upon your friends and family to the nth degree during Ironman and the months leading up to it. It is true that Ironman makes one very selfish….how can it not? Everything revolves around the training and bedtime and meals and it’s just Everywhere. Which, I might add, is also very fun (often enough)! I always love talking Ironman with my friends- somehow it NEVER gets old! And I’m sorry for the poor people who are out to dinner with us triathletes and you don’t do triathlon…..because it is just about all we are going to talk about- from appetizer till after dessert! Sorry! Anyways….these mantra’s and advice that I’m about to share, I have gathered over the years. I wrote them down on notecards when it was time for me to leave for my Ironman. I put the cards in a ziplock baggie, along with two pictures of my children. I placed that baggie in my special needs bag for the Run portion, which was to be collected around mile 13. On race day, I did retrieve that baggie at mile 13. I couldn’t wait to get to it. I knew it would help me get through the next 2-3 hours….even though, I had forgotten one thing. By the time I would be getting to the last leg of Ironman (the run portion), and after I had already been running for more than 2 hours…ummm…it was….DARK. I couldn’t read those mantras and advice. So funny. But it didn’t matter- because I had it ALL memorized, and those people who shared the words with me, they had been with me all along the course that day. I called upon each one of them. My Mom, Kate Mattsson, Linda Laughlin, Dawn Kershaw, Tom Basmajian, Chrissie Wellington, Chantell Johnston….and many other friends from back home….you were each with me! And, of course, there was the constant chant engraved into my mind from my children, “Go Mommy Go! Don’t be Slow!”

So—-today my husband has a birthday. I think it is BEYOND extraordinary what he has put his mind to and dedicated himself to over the past year. He took his half ironman times from 7:00 hours….to 6:30…to 6:00(Pays d Aix)….then 5:43 (St.George)….then 5:30 (Boise)….5:22 (Utah half). How? He believed in his coach, ‘Wes Johnson’, and he believed in himself. BIG point I want to make is this though; he just turned 49. 49. That inspires me and makes me smile big. Isn’t that the age when things start falling apart? When that extra 10 pounds just kinda shows up one day? When down hill starts? NO- no way Jose. This is another reason I just LOVE triathlon. So many age groups out there, and they are all just Killing It!! It’s awesome- I love the passion and seeing what is possible! Congratulations Stephen- You have done all the training, and in our eyes, you are already an Ironman. Now let’s go make it legit.

Back to the Mantras……I recently shared these with my friend, Stephanie Chard, who just became an Ironman last month! Here are my Favorite Quotes and Mantras;

1. Take a deep breath and smile, and enjoy, and take it all in.

2. Stay in THE MOMENT. Keep doing checks on yourself, to make sure that the pace you are doing is the pace to get you through the day, but stay in the moment where you are. Focus on form, meditate, talk to the person you keep cat and mousing:) Look around.

3. Stick to your plan, and know that things are going to get hard at times….but you will get through it. It’s ONE DAY. You can do anything for ONE DAY. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

4. An Ironman today, an Ironman Forever.

5. STRONG IN MIND, STRONG IN BODY, STRONG IN SPIRIT. This is my forever #1 mantra. I have used it in every race over the past few years. Say it over and over again (if you want:) ) what does it mean to you?

6. INVEST IN OTHERS. You think it’s hard for you right now? (at mile 105 on the bike….at mile 18 on the run)…guess what, it’s hard for everyone. Somehow I take solace in this. It’s not just hard for me…we are all in the same boat. It makes me smile at the people I see…it makes me offer a word of encouragement to the guy I just passed, or the gal who just passed me. We are ALL OUT there TOGETHER. I love that.

7. At mile 21ish, I had to walk….I was wobbly in the head. Soon after, two brothers came up behind me. “Come with us!” they said! “We are walking one minute, running one minute!” I thought, ‘well, I can do that.’ Pretty soon we had a posse of about 10….all of us walking (fast) one minute, running one minute. One brother would do the count down in spanish (we were in cozumel, and he was practicing his spanish!). His brother-in-law had lost 100 pounds over the last year, training for this ironman. You never would have known that, looking at him. Those last 5 miles were the highlight, as I was learning about these two men……and trust me, I was NOT feeling great. But they took me to a happier place 🙂 I finished very strong, thanks to the two brothers.

8. Ask yourself this, when the going gets tough, “HOW am I at this VERY MOMENT?” Most likely you will answer, “well, I’m OK…..right here right now.” OK, then just keep at it:)

9. YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU DIE. I say this almost everyday to myself!!! Tee Hee…when the alarm goes off at oh f*#k-thirty……”I can sleep when I die.” love that one:)

10. You are living your dream. Dream, and DARE to make the DREAM come TRUE. For me, it was a 10 year old dream to become an IRONMAN. It’s easy to dream, and lovely. But few dare to make their dreams come true.

11. Control your mind, it is the only thing we have control of.

and lastly,

12. Pain is temporary, IRONMAN is FOREVER. (in hind sight….sorry Stephanie….I think this one may have broken your foot!)

When it all comes down to it- enjoy your day. Show up at the start line unbroken, and with a smile on your face. Take it in. It’s a long day, but that’s OK:) When your mind goes down the darker roads tomorrow, let your words and thoughts bring you back to the greatness that you are. Do your best:)

oh, and #13……buy as much of that cool IM shwag as possible….how FUN!!!!!!

Happy training and living and enjoying everyone around us:)