I find it interesting the way things come to be. One simple conversation or one decision can lead you to something that you never thought possible. Maybe not impossible exactly, but just not considered.
I learned a lot in 2014. The two main kernels of knowledge came at the beginning and the end of the year. I learned how to train. I trained my ass off for Boston. I ran when I was tired, I ran when I was exhausted, I ran when everyone else was sleeping in, I ran when my muscles ached, I swam to cross train, and I didn’t give up. I didn’t miss anything. I knew that PR’s and successful races don’t train for themselves, so I got up before 5, I ran in the snow, the ice, and honestly, I loved it. I learned how to put everything into my race. It became even more of a part of me, deeper into my soul. It made me happy to work so hard, to focus on a goal, and to push myself.
I also learned that being afraid of things is stupid. Ok, there’s things like sharks and the flu and spiders in the toe of your shoe and things like that, but I was terrified of the open water swim in my half iron triathlon. I knew we wouldn’t have a tide push, or much of one, and I was scared I wouldn’t make the time cutoff and be disqualified – I am not a strong swimmer. I FREAKED out about it more than once, and I honestly considered not doing the tri for that one reason. And when race day came, I finished in good time, with plenty to spare, and I pulled off a really good race, especially with it being my very first tri. I ate a little crow, got a little sheepish, and realized that all that worrying was stupid. And a waste of energy. There’s no room for fear when you have a a dream.
So what does this mean for 2015?
MARATHON: I’m still planning to run my marathon on March 22nd right here in good ole Wilmington – the goal is a 3:43, which would be a PR and a BQ. My training has increased, and I’m hopeful for a good race. I’m behind with speed work, but at this point, I’m doing the best I can that doesn’t irritate my irritable leg. It’s like the grumpy old grandpa sitting in the corner of the room with a ratty old plaid blanket over his legs, muttering “bah” every time someone asks if he wants something but then complains that no one will get him anything and he’s cold. I can’t figure this one out, so I’m being cautious, but I’m also continuing with training. I’m still very much in love with running, and every time I visualize the race, I get goose bumps.
COACHING: I have decided to pursue more coaching education (I would like ALL of it, but let’s be realistic – one class at a time). I happened to find an open (that’s hard to do) RRCA Coaching Certification Class ONLY 90 MINUTES AWAY (also hard to do), so I signed up within ten minutes of finding it. I almost peed myself.
I’m also beyond happy that my ideas to work on the middle school Stride program curriculum were accepted. My goal is to make it more of a pre-high school cross country meets track and field program since there is no track program for any middle school in our county. I have tons of ideas, resources to read and talk to, and a plan to write. I am really excited to see this come together this spring for the fall season. I’ll be coaching the elementary Stride this spring, so that will be working with twenty 3rd-5th graders. This will be like herding cats on a treadmill, or at least that’s what I’m guessing, but I know it will be a lot of fun!
The two elements that I mentioned earlier are put together on this one. I learned how to train right and to train hard. I learned how to do new things, things that I’m afraid of (or not comfortable with), and that I must take chances. I love to challenge myself physically, but more than that, mentally. I love the mental part of running, of training, of pushing yourself and doing new things. So by chance one Sunday afternoon in November, I found registration still open for Ironman Florida, and I registered.
There’s no going back, there’s no excuse that will get me out of it, and honestly, more than fear, I have a sense of determination, of eagerness, of peace. Whether I cross that finish line to the tune of “Kelli, YOU are an Ironman” or not, I’m going to face my fears and give this thing my all. Why this event? I’m such a newby, why would I take on something so BIG? Well, it’s simple to me, yet quite complex to explain. I’ll steal from the video below and say “Ironman is about persevering, enduring, and being a part of something larger than ourselves…. Anything is possible.”
If you’ve ever wondered why people do Ironman races, watch this video – for reals. This will explain it all. For example, when I told my parents that I signed up, instead of getting, “Wow! Way to go! Good for you!”, I got a head shake with “That’s nuts” and “Why would you want to put your body through that?”. To me, it’s simple. To them, I need to be put in a straight jacket and thrown into a padded room. I had my mom watch this, and I honestly think she gets it, or at least gets it more than she did before. And this video motivates me to try my absolute best, to be the epitome of what an Ironman really is. Or more accurately, an athlete.
2015, IM ready!