It's been almost ten years to the day since I first hit "publish" on this site.
What started as a way to document my training for Ironman became a record of my journey to that start line. My steps in the finisher's chute. And, little did I know, a way for me to meet some of the most tremendous people I've been lucky enough to meet in my life.
My posts then were frequent; I often composed them in my head on my long rides. I couldn't wait to get home and write, so I could remember every step of the way. The highs and the lows, the breakthroughs and the times when I wondered how on earth I would ever, EVER, finish an Ironman.
And I did.
I knew in my heart I'd be back someday, but I also knew I had things I wanted to do first.
I traveled: Hawaii, New Orleans, France, England, Mexico, North Carolina, Michigan, California, Texas, the east side of Cleveland. Near and far, new and familiar and back again.
I had the one that changed me forever. And the one that completed our family. And nothing was or ever will be the same. I was permanently rewired, and my heart and eyes see everything differently after those two moments.
I got older and I got faster--every single race after J+E was faster than before. I had some huge breakthroughs and some crushing, heartbreaking defeats. I made it to Age Group Nationals. I missed qualifying for the Boston marathon by one minute. I went from back-of-the-pack to usually-toward-the-front in local (and even a few regional!) races, but also learned that both of those spots are pretty fun places to be.
Life got even busier than before, and this site got dusty. Gone were the days where I could linger after coffee for an hour with a good friend or two; enter the days of mad dashes for work after a solo workout in the glory of the toy-filled basement or to pick up the kids while sweaty and nasty and then going to get groceries before grading papers; the days of long runs starting at 6:00am on a Saturday so I could finish the run at the soccer fields by 9. Luckily, I found some people who were in this world, too, and I learned that there's a time and a season for everything, and this is the season I'm in, and it's just fine. Someday it will be coffee-shop season again, and that's okay, because there's joy to be had where I am right now.
The days of long posts almost every day are gone, too. The 140-character world suits my life, but I'm still the girl who wanted to be a writer at heart. I can't see ever walking away from this space, no matter how dusty it might get.
I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2016. A ten-year reunion of sorts. I'm a lot different than I was when I first hit "publish" here. I know this time will be quite different than the last. In a way, I feel like I just found out I was going to have another baby. There's a few things that I just know the second time around:
1. I can do this, and I'm a lot stronger than I think.
2. It's going to hurt. It's going to hurt A LOT. I'm going to probably scream at times, and maybe swear loudly. I may punch something or someone nearby. I'll definitely say I'm NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.
3. There's a great amount of things that I now understand are out of my control, so I have to just roll with it. It's going to work out somehow, and I'll just need to trust it.
4. I don't have time to train nearly as much as I did the first time. This second Ironman thing is going to get, to some extent, the minimalist plan. Because I have to. But I'm strong enough and have good guidance to know how hard to push and when I can back away a bit, to build a lego castle or go to a swim meet or play Uno in the grass. The first time I felt like I had NO TIME FOR ANYTHING I'M TRAINING SEE YOU IN EIGHT MONTHS! and this time, I know better.
5. This time, also, I know what that finish line feels like. I'm not just imagining it; I know. And that will get me through the inevitable rough patches (and occasional swearing/punching sessions).
I can't promise daily posts. I can't promise well-thought out posts, either. My posts most likely won't have links or tons of pictures; I'm not expecting many people out there to really follow along. And that's okay. Because when all is said and done, this is a record for me. This is a story for my two children. This is the tale of the girl who was always picked last but had a lot of grit and heart and how she finished an Ironman, succeeded some more, failed and fell down a few times, and dusted herself off and clicked "Register" again to see what she was really made of.
Because, like I always like to say, big scary goals make life fun.
So here goes the next journey. The next adventure begins, now.