Lessons from Kona. To be used for life.

Kona 2014

A month and a few days after completing the Kona Ironman and I am still reflecting on the race, on the year, on what it meant to me, and how much love and support I continue to feel from people surrounding me. Someone asked me the other day how Ironman was (they haven’t seen me since the race) and I truly felt like it was something I did years ago. I remember it vividly, yet so much in my life is happening it has become a distant memory…..

The reality hit as soon as I got home. Sure, I had a few weeks to bask in the glory, to hear the congrats, and to be able to repeat my stories over and over to whoever would listen. But, the truth is, like everything we experience – life goes on.

I was a mom after all and couldn’t just plop myself on the sofa and eat bon bons.

A lot of big events in life will change you forever. Getting married. The birth of a child. The loss of a loved one. While some are positive and some not so much, you generally are a changed person in one way or another. After the loss of my father, triathlon has taken on a whole new meaning. It was ironic really that I qualified for IM a short year after my father passed because while I felt very empty inside, I had a goal that helped me get through each day with a bit more promise then the day before. The race, the training, the parenting, the housework, everything seemed to be just a little something different now.

Priorities rolled around differently then the first time I trained for Ironman. I realized at the end of the day this isn’t the end all be all, but a step towards making me a better person. I was more relaxed about getting it all in, about telling myself it was ok to miss a training day (and not to act like a bitch because of it)…. I learned that it is ok to be happy about something and to celebrate your accomplishments even despite sadness that encases you. And I learned so much more (see below).

Competing in Kona was wonderful, a dream come true. And my husband, kids, and mom were there to experience my joy as I crossed that finish line. We all need a little joy in our life and this was no different. I remember looking up at the moon lit sky and blowing a kiss to my dad – “thank you dad for always believing in me”. The happiness was not a happiness I might have felt otherwise, but it felt ok to be happy. To celebrate life.

I wanted to share with you just a few (can’t reveal my entire heart of emotions you know!) of my learnings… in no particular order….. Not to be “Motivational Maggie” or anything, but hopefully you can benefit from these as well.

1. The Ironman theme- “Anything is Possible”. Even if you have no desire whatsoever in ever completing an endurance event, you should add this to your life’s mantras. I hear it constantly – people with one excuse after another – but know – if you put your mind to it, and truly give it 100%, anything IS possible.
2. Along that theme, your body is capable of doing a lot more than you may believe it is (so believe).
3. There are actually people out there that make necklaces out of fallen toenails. Gross. (I digress).
4. The actual training time is only about 50-70%…. It’s the nutrition, the stretching, the functional exercises, the rolling, the whole “keeping the body in check” that makes up a significant amount of time too.
5. I made liver for the first time (of course I made it into a meatloaf to disguise it – but I still made liver!). It is actually quite good for athletes, especially in the height of training. Bonus – hubby was extremely psyched to hear liver was a new diet essential.
6. Beef broth is equally as amazing for a high endurance athlete. Heck, for anyone. Don’t be intimidated by the marrow and knuckle bones.
7. Most of the “work” can be done before 8am.
8. My kids look up to me and talked about my race a lot to their friends. Who knew it could be reverse and your kids could be proud of you? We set good examples, they see it.
9. Eating is under-rated. Food = Energy.
10. Kona was not only full of beautifully fit people, it was also oddly fashionable. Betty Designs helps set the standard high in looking good in spandex, and I felt confident wearing it.
11. Be flexible. Apply to training, racing and – of course – LIFE.
12. Relish in your daily progress, large or small.
13. One glass of wine CAN be enough.
14. Keep it simple. Don’t over-think things.
15. Don’t think about the past, or the future – live in the present.
16. Race for a purpose (or ____ for a purpose, can insert anything here). My father motivated me simply by believing in me. He fueled my performance.
17. The pain, the effort, the stress, everything, it’s only short term.
18. If you take care of your body it can do magnificent things. Listen to it, and respect it.
19. Having a goal that is equivalent to a dream makes the prep (and the race) “easy”.
20. Massage isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And it should hurt (in a good kind of way).
21. I have friends that “get it”. They realized how big of an event this was to me and showed me more support than I thought imaginable.
22. My husband made my dream reality.

While at times I feel like I get hit by the “unlucky 8 ball’, I realize that I have a lot to be proud of, and am an extremely fortunate soul.

I bet if you dig down too, you will find the same thing.

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