As my 4th Ironman race approaches and I now have my race (#1359) I'm probably more excited about this IM than any other! This journey to IM and the white line in road has been completely different than the others due to my heart surgery. I've had probably the most challenging year of my life, yet I feel fortunate as I've grown and learned from my experience. I feel so blessed to be healthy again and able to participate again! It feels like a 2nd chance and I'm truly greatful for the opportunity to further share my passion for fitness and coaching gift with others.
|One day after heart surgery. Wow, they really messed up my already big lips!|
|My son Reece & I (3 days post surgery)|
About 1.5 weeks after surgery I thought I was feeling better so I decided to walk/jog Turkey Trot with my son Reece, which went OK except I was in a world on pain for the week following. It was another good lesson in patience, which is something I've always struggle with. After that I spent the next 10 weeks not able to do much and the highlights of my days involved seeing my family, coaching/talking with athletes and walking to get the mail.
By the end of January, I had passed all the follow up tests and I was told I could get back to light physical activity. So, I began by going to the pool. I got in and soon realized I couldn't really use my right arm as I had been protecting it for months as this is where they made the incisions to do my surgery. Tristin stood over the end of the pool worried that I going to sink as I swam about 500yds mostly with my left arm. I remember thinking and telling her, "wow, I've got a long way to go." She responded in her usually glass half full way and replied, "you now have as much time as you need." She and Reece (my son) were definitely my rocks that pulled me through the dark days.
I soon started to use the elliptical trainer/bike as I began with 15 min. and worked my way up from there. I joined other Team Blaze athletes for Sunday groups runs and although I had lost all fitness I didn't forget how to run. It was just great to be out there with everyone again. All the athletes I coach truly inspired me more than they realize to want to get my fitness back!
In April, we went to Hawaii and it was an amazing trip training with our friends/teammates and showing them the place we love! We spent a week on Oahu, which began with a practice triathlon with our old club Team Jet Hawaii http://www.teamjethawaii.com/. I was really excited to get out there and try to race again, however I learned another valuable lesson about patience during the practice triathlon. I felt great swimming, solid on the bike and then I ran about 1.5 miles only to feel really dizzy with my heart rate way too high. This really shook me mentally as I felt good, so why couldn't I just go out and race like before. Probably because I had just had heart surgery 4 month before, so I spent the next few days just appreciating being able to workout with the athletes training for IM CDA. Again Tristin, reminded me to be patient and enjoy being free to exercise.
It was during this week in Hawaii that I started thinking, "wouldn't it be cool if I could do IM CDA again this year?" I kept these thoughts to myself as I knew everyone would say, "you're crazy, wait until next year etc."
So, after wrestling in my mind with the idea and continuing to exercise I finally brought the idea up with my wife. I didn't really know how she would respond as anyone that has done IM knows it's a huge family commitment and if you don't have support from family you shouldn't take on the journey. She somewhat surprised me when she said, "you can do it, IF you take it easy."
Now the question was could I do the IM and take it easy? I felt confident that I could it as I had learned to be patient, so on May 12th I decide to sign up! The only problem was I only had 6.5 weeks to train, however I had tons of motivation and no illusions of trying to go 10hrs. My training has been great and I'm in much better shape than I was in April!
This journey to IM has been all about supporting others that have truly inspired and encouraged me through my recovery. It's also about proving to myself and others to never give up! As they say in IM, "anything is possible".
As I look forward with 10 days to go I feel calm and excited to be able to challenge myself and inspire others to realize life should be lived without limits. If you want something and you're willing to put in the training, you can do it!
I look forward to joining/supporting the athletes I coach and fellow Team Blaze Spokane Triathlon Club members in their IM journey to the white line in the road. Remember you're stronger than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can! Enjoy the journey!