I make a lot of mistakes. And that’s not even limited to triathlons! I’m the kind of person who learns best from my own screw-ups.
Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, my favorite experiences are the ones that go just west of perfect. Lucky for me, I had 13 – almost 14 – hours on the Ironman Madison course, and that was plenty of time to make some mistakes and have some perfection all at the same time.
Here’s what I learned:
Electrolytes are real.
I hate sugary drinks. They make my teeth hurt and I can feel the cavities growing. Ask my kids. I’m about 90% anti-sugar. Snacking is nearly sacrilegious to me. Eating on triathlons courses has been the HARDEST skill I’ve learned. But I have learned it. And as I mentioned above, it was absolutely the hard way. So during IM training, I had surrendered and committed myself to eating honey-waffles and uncrustables and gummy calorie dense food. I thought I had this aspect down.
The small subset of race nutrition that I ignored was the importance of electrolytes. HUGE MISTAKE.
My blood pressure trends low. I’ve fainted while serving Easter mass in middle school (SUPER embarrassing). I once fainted in my college’s computer lab after I gave blood. One expensive ambulance ride, 6 hours on IV fluids and a cheeseburger later I was okay. You’d think I would have learned my nutrition lesson back then!
Long story, short? Drink the Gatorade.
My family & friends LIFT me up!
I felt like the luckiest girl in the world all day long.
One summer day in 2016, I told our buds, Bill & Marci, that my biggest dream was to race IM in Madison. One nanosecond later, they agreed to join Jesse and our kids for one looooooong spectating day – weekend. How great is that? Thank you Mogg family!
Kendra and my Coeur teammates listened to my endless questions and reassured me that I was enough to handle an IM distance race. They all had an answer for every doubt. I especially hope you all have a friend like Kendra. Thank you Coeur team MN!
My lifelong friends Rosanna & Casey, who have sweat through bug filled portages, rainy, dreary days in the Canadian wilderness, our twenties, babies, babies and more babies with me, gave me the whole weekend! So many hours devoted to holding me up and urging me on. My sister, Annie, her toddlers and my parents spent hours on the side of a road just to see me zip by on my bike. My dad had a cowbell. A cowbell! Thank you Zanna, Casey, Annie, Harriet, Victor, mom & dad!
I truly felt like I was alive at my own funeral. So much love & joy from everyone I knew. My brothers, sister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law back in Minneapolis tracked and cheered for me all day long. I know this made a difference. I felt loved all dang day. THANK YOU!
It’s important to celebrate completed tasks or “let’s yell, DONE!” all day long.
I once read that if we exclaim “DONE” after every challenging task is complete, that our brains send a rush of dopamine through our bodies to accompany the feeling of accomplishment. I’m a big fan of this habit. I yelled, muttered and shouted, “DONE” all over the course. Gorgeous 2.4 mile swim in Lake Monona? DONE. 9% grade hill? DONE. Now another hill? DONE. First mile of the marathon? DONE. Celebrate every win. Take that joy and roll it into the next moment. It feels amazing.
Nothing is harder than mothering 24/7.
Listen up, moms. You are super heroes. Everything is possible now. You grew a human. In your body. Then you nurtured and loved that little parasite, I mean adorable child, into an actual person.
Why hold back? Whatever it is that you are putting off until you are older/skinnier/less busy/more experienced just let it go. Right now you are enough. Go get it.
Gratitude creates a protection bubble.
I thanked every driver who didn’t hit me with their vehicle on every ride this summer. I am working so hard at being intentionally grateful for all the good I’ve received this year-this life! Creating a gratitude bubble around myself was in my head constantly. I truly think it helped me stay injury free and motivated through IM training.
I am still terrible at writing thank you notes.
I can make friends wherever I am.
All of the dudes pictured with me in the above photos were my BEST friends, basically for the length of time that we were together on the course. I absolutely love this part of racing. Open your heart and the possibilities are endless.
I am definitely not a “one & done” Ironman athlete.
I just need to fine tune my ‘up early/ninja’ training and maybe the kids wouldn’t even notice the training. It’s possible, right?
Disclaimer: POST IRONMAN BLUES is a THING! Dear lord do I miss training! Training is not drudgery for me. I love the structure, challenge and comfort of a daily workout. Running is my therapy and that is NOT just a trendy t-shirt saying for me. I took my first real hiatus from running since 2012. I didn’t run for 3.5 weeks. My WHOLE house learned how much better I am when I run/train. Pray for my husband.
More Thank Yous
Thank you to Coeur Sports for the best fitting, functioning and fashionable kit to race in. I am so proud to be a Coeur Sports ambassador!
Thank you Teresa Briest at iSwim Masters, in Eden Prairie, for patiently encouraging me and inspiring me to be the best swimmer I can be. #briestmode
Thank you Jeff and Mitch for race day hugs & insider tips! Thank you Kecia & Tim for boosting me up on the course! Amy & Maria, thank you for keeping me, even after I was the most absent friend during training.