I think now at this point in my life, I can stand behind my voice when I say that yes, I am an athlete. I swim, I bike, I run, I paddle board, I enjoy the sport of it all and encouraging people, especially women, to give it a try and find their love of sport for themselves.
I am an athlete and an ambassador for people.
Along the way, my husband Mike has grown to be there cheering me on and supporting me in my training endeavors. It was not always this way. At the start, even though we were both runners when we met, I had continued on running while he was having more and more back issues and this was starting to become an issue for us.
I just could not stop being who I was because he had to change his activities.
Well thank goodness we got past all of that! Fast forward to 2011 when talk of me signing up for the Ironman first came about. I knew that there would be concern over my training schedule as well as my finishing up my Master's degree and our wedding all coinciding along the same 3-4 month span of time. I chose a 2012 race schedule that met my requirements and would also include my husband in more ways than just spectator or sherpa - as well as it helped us not overthink the wedding or my graduation. I knew that in order for him to understand me, he needed to see it and feel it for himself on his own terms. Not to have the same passion and drive in the sport that I do - but just to see me in my element, to understand where I am coming from.
I signed up for Ironman Florida because Florida is our home away from home. I knew that if I raced in a location that had meaning to US, he would be more on board because he could find a meaning other than the race to be there. How can you argue with the Gulf of Mexico and white sandy beaches in November, coming from the cold of Michigan?
For my June 70.3, I decided to return to one of my favorite courses, Welland Half Iron in Welland Ontario, Canada, and asked Mike if he would be interested in doing the race as a relay with some members of my running club. Mike is an avid cyclist, so this way he can do something during the day and participate in the event himself. He agreed and by the end of the day he was HOOKED.
Fast forward past the graduation, past the wedding, the change in jobs and my second 70.3 event of the year to Ironman Florida and Mike was a totally different person, full of pride and attention on what I needed that weekend to accomplish my goals. He realized that this sport was not about me doing something without him - it was me doing something for myself which allowed me to be a better wife for him and a better partner with him.
|This day in 2012 still trumps any Ironman finish! |
He is asking me "is there a wetsuit under your dress?
Because the ocean is right there if you need to get in some laps...."
After the race, when I crossed that finish line and made my way through the finishing area, I saw him standing there, tears in his eyes. I ran over to him and he hugged me so tightly. That is one of the most amazing moments of my life - not the Ironman finish, the pure love radiating from my husband.
Mike has done so much for me as both husband and supporter that I want to start enjoying the experiences of 70.3 and 140.6 races WITH him - side be side as the team we are. I have done the solo events and love them and will continue to do them, but knowing that more companies are including relay options in their races, this is a great way to work together as a team to cross the finish line together! Given that Ironman has decided to offer relay events in most of their 70.3 We decided that we will be racing the IRONMAN 70.3 OHIO race as a relay team next year! GO TEAM FATTY!
We also are thinking of doing some non-branded 140.6 distances as a relay team in the future, I just need to be OK with that darn marathon without a bike warm up! ;-)