Please help us in our fight to help loved ones with Parkinson's Disease live better today!

Please help us in our quest to help those afflicted with Parkinson's Disease live better today!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The morning after. Do we look as tired as we feel?
In the past several weeks since I've become an Ironman, I've been struggling with the right adjective in response to people's questions. The first question everyone asks is "How was it?" Except my BFF Heather. She wanted to know how many times I peed and if I pooped my pants. God, I love that girl!
So, how was it? It sucked but it was incredible. It was nearly 17 hours of the craziest mind game ever.  It was the toughest thing I've ever done both physically and mentally. The second question I get is "Will you do another one?" And this answer has changed many times. If you asked me the week after the Ironman, I would have quickly answered without hesitation "not only NO. But HELL NO!" In fact, Freddy, on the ride home from the IM, was already planning how much time he could shave off his next one and I had to hold myself back from kicking him in the head. I didn't want to think about walking to the kitchen-let alone signing up for another.  Today, when asked, I will shrug and answer "Yeah, probably".  And truth is, I probably will. My friends who have two-legged kids laugh and tell me that it sounds a lot like child-birth. Once you forget the pain, you'll be expecting another. I don't quite think I'll ever forget the pain, but I know myself well enough to know that I will more than likely pull the trigger again.

Enjoying some compression boots. These are Heaven!!

When Freddy and I met with Coach Marco and his wife Hannah a few days after the race, they asked us what surprised us most. I thought this was a great question and one I really had to think about. And after much thought, I've decided there are a lot of things that surprised me. First, I was shocked at how many people were walking their bikes on the course. I guess I assumed that when you get to this level, you don't walk your bike. I was proud that it didn't even enter my mind to walk it. Second, I was surprised that my stomach just flat-out stopped working about half-way through the run. I was so focused all day on getting as much fluid as I possibly could, but somehow still ended up with cotton-mouth. I couldn't chew, my typical go-to's like Gu Chomps and pretzels were just not going down. Instead, I was grabbing every orange, banana and Coke I could find. I think the thing that surprised me most was how the "carnage" screwed with my mind. I have seen my fair share of carnage during races-the worst being at the Grandma's marathon in 2006. It was the hottest, most humid day in their 30 year race history. There were 200 + people in the med tents. Grown men dropped to the ground, sobbing and writhing in pain but it didn't affect me. I just kept going. Ironman was different somehow. Each person I saw along the side of the road affected me in a different way. Some invoked envy because I wanted to go home, some I felt sorry for, others I wanted to pull up and yell "come on! You can't stop now!" 

We seemed to be able to crash anywhere, at anytime. And so did our baby girl, Zena!
I was back in the gym the Tuesday after Ironman and feel this really helped speed along my recovery. I was really no more sore than I would be after a marathon, and my body felt fine after a couple days, but the fatigue factor was HUGE. It took me a good 2 weeks before I was feeling human again. I was exhausted. Mentally, I couldn't focus on anything and in fact, walked around for a good while with the deer in the headlights look going on! Physically, I had to keep going because I've got New York Marathon in less than 2 months, so I really couldn't stop! Another strange thing that happened to both me and Freddy was that we had no appetite whatsoever until Wednesday after race. Which is odd. After a marathon, the next day, I eat like I haven't eaten in months. After Ironman, both of us just couldn't eat. And then by Wednesday, within an hour of each other, it was like a light-switch went on. If food wasn't nailed down, it was in our bellies. And this continued for quite a while (in fact, I've been joking that I'm eating more now than I was during training for IM).

I think the thing that has amazed me most is the response we have gotten both during the race and post-race from our friends and family. Even our marathon friends have said to me "I just didn't get how huge this was until I saw you". When I crossed the finish line on Aug. 3 and Claire handed me my phone, I had 30 texts and hundreds of Facebook notifications. It has taken me weeks to go through all of them and I've loved watching the threads of my friends from that day! I am completely and utterly over-whelmed with the love from our friends and family. Even now, every Saturday on my run with Runners Edge, someone will pass me and hum "I am Ironman" by Black Sabbath; will give me a high-five; hug me and say they hope that they can get some inspiration from me 'cause they are in a funk; and on and on. It's super flattering, but at the same time overwhelming. I'm still the same me. I just have a new title after my name. And I hope that I've proven that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. My favorite quote ever is by John Bingham, aka, The Penguin. "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." Every one of us has it within to do something incredible. Maybe it's not an Ironman. Maybe it's a 5K or maybe it's taking a leap of faith. Whatever it is, life is short. Just do it!!
Our celebratory dinner at our friends Bruce & Marcy's! They made a welcome sign for us on the door that said "The Actual Boulder Ironman Finish"

Our friends were absolutely amazing during this process. Dan and Jill sent us daily cards the week of the race with cute pictures and motivational sayings, along with much-needed encouragement along the course; Nicole, who would be out of town, sent a lovely card with words of inspiration from our friend Ironman Vince, who passed away a couple months before; Laura, where do I begin? Laura gave up many, many days to play sherpa to us while we biked around Colorado, e-mailed, called, texted, completely took over our cheering section because it was way too much for me to handle; Nancy, in addition to also just being all-around awesome, made us a complete dinner (I mean, appetizer, main course, dessert and margs along with all the pre-chopped sides) the night after the race so we wouldn't need to cook; Heather and Julie sent us a delicious and gorgeous fruit basket which came in quite handy since we were too tired to make anything; Claire and Sue drove all the way from Arizona, just to be with us, even though we warned them we wouldn't be any fun, wouldn't cook or clean for them, couldn't entertain them, they helped us pack all our bags and were such a welcome sight along the course; my mom, dad, sisters and aunt, who also spent a very long day on the course, after not seeing us for months because we were too busy training to do anything; all my teammates who trained with us and encouraged us every single day; everyone who texted, called, e-mailed, sent cards, cheered for us in person or from afar, you all got us through an amazing time. And for this, we are forever grateful. They say you find out who your friends are when the going gets tough. Well, I think Freddy and I have hit the jackpot!

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