I can generally divide most people in this country into two categories based on how they react to one video clip from 1982.
Julie Moss collapsed meters from the finish line at the Kona Ironman race. Disoriented and her body completely exhausted of any fuel, she missed out on winning the race (her debut) in front of millions of people who were able to watch it air on nbc. The reactions to this are either “what kind of person would put themselves through that, triathletes are crazy!” Or, “wow, look at what the human body can be put through, I want to see what my body is capable of!”
I am the latter.
I saw that clip when I was young and decided that I would do a triathlon one day. In 2011, after spending 5 months abroad in Ghana and getting sick from typhoid, I decided to heal and strengthen my body by training for my first sprint triathlon. I ended up doing 3 tris that summer. The next year I ran the Boston marathon with the tufts marathon team and did my first international distance race (and won the overall female!) along with 3 more sprints. And my triathlon and endurance story just grew from there. A full ironman was not on my mind when I started, but that footage of Julie Moss was forever imbedded in there.
I’d done 4 half ironman distance races when my good friend Julie convinced me to sign up for IM Chattanooga with her. My first (and second) full ironman distance race experiences were helping her out as a spectator/cheering squad/porter at Beach 2 Battleship in 2014 and 2015 (I also raced the half distance at the 2015 race.) this will be her 5th full distance race and I couldn’t be happier to have her with me. I have since raced my 5th half distance in prep for Chattanooga. I signed up nearly a year ago and forked over the incredible sum of money ( for a grad student) that committed me to training for the race. I’ve never been more scared to physically/virtually click the sign up button.
Having been at two full distance races before, I had one major question going through my mind- Why would you train for something you know will cause you intense discomfort and pain?
The answer is profoundly simple. To know if I can do it.
Can I swim 2.4 miles, bike 116 (the Chattanooga course is four miles long) and then run a marathon? Can I successfully cover 144.6 miles of water, road, bridges and sidewalks and enjoy it? (Maybe not every moment but at the finish line and in the aftermath!)
The weather forecast calls for a high of 94 degrees on Sunday (so no I do not believe that Fall has begun!) Any time goals I had before are being thrown out the window. My plan is to successfully fuel and hydrate. My goal is to finish with a huge smile on my face, some tears of joy in my eyes, and to hug my parents, boyfriend, and Julie.
My mantra is ‘first with the head, then with the heart.’ I trained with my head, I planned my workouts, structured the past few months of my life around them, and feel like my body is prepared. On Sunday I have to follow through with my heart, strongly beating, working longer and harder than it ever has before.
Stay tuned as my triathlon journey continues.
To track me, I’m bib number 1405, which you can enter on this website.