Sunday, April 24, 2011

This Seemed Like a Good Idea Five Months Ago

The amount of Ironman training Dave and I put in on a daily basis has really started to get out of hand.  It consumes every free minute that we have.  When we are not working or fulfilling other responsibilities (graduate school in my case, coaching soccer in Dave's), we are either on the bike, in the water, or slogging down the paths around our home.  At the end of my workouts, I do my obligatory stretches, shower, eat an alarming amount of calories, and then fall asleep far too early on the couch, only to have Dave remind me that I would probably be more comfortable in bed.  Then, right in the middle of a dream where I am most likely either swimming, biking, or running, the alarm clock goes off and the routine starts again:  work, train, eat, sleep.

Our social life has come to a screeching halt.  Even when we do go out to the occasional dinner, our ability to maintain an interesting conversation is uncharacteristically low due to the constant exhaustion and soreness.  The mountains, which we once explored almost every weekend, are now enjoyed only from a distance on the running path.  Our home, which is usually neat and orderly, has become an absolute disaster area of training gear, dishes, and piles of mail.  I almost took a picture of our kitchen table to show you the state of things, but then decided against it out of absolute embarrassment.

This is an overview of next week's training, to give you some idea of the amount of time and energy we are putting into this race:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Swim 68 laps (2.1 miles), Run 7 miles
Wednesday: Bike 12 miles, Run 2 miles
Thursday: Swim 68 laps (2.1 miles), Bike 21 miles hills
Friday: Swim 68 laps (2.1 miles), Run 7 miles
Saturday: Bike 96 miles, Run 3 miles
Sunday: Run 17.5 miles

I guess the obvious question pertains to the reasons why someone might put themselves through this seven month ordeal.  Is this all for a t-shirt, a medal, and the ability to add Ironman on one's list of accomplishments?  I promise you, if that were where the benefits of doing an Ironman ended, I would have thrown in the towel months ago.

There is something empowering about gearing up your body to its absolute peak fitness level and pushing it to its limits.  You realize new things about yourself at mile 80 that are not revealed to you at mile 25.  It is invigorating and exciting to commit your whole physical and mental self towards accomplishing a task where failure is a possible outcome.  So often in our lives, we try to protect ourselves from failure by never asking too much of ourselves.  Training and racing an Ironman goes against these safer principals and calls for us to take risks and test our abilities.

Everyday we explore new parts of the world and ourselves.  Our lives are filled with curiosity and wonder.  We continue to evolve into new and, hopefully, better people.  Pushing ourselves, testing our limits, and taking risks is a part of that process.  Even if we fail externally, we have still succeeded in our own personal growth.  Our accomplishment lies not at the finish line, but privately within.

Try something new outside of your comfort zone.  It doesn't have to be an Ironman by any means, but I do hope that it involves taking risks and discovering new things about yourself.  Go forward with confidence and commitment.  Uncover all of the amazing things you are capable of!

To donate to the Burn Center, go online to  In the designation field choose "Other" and type "Burn Fund (Team Emilie)."

Or your could mail your check to "UCHF- Burn Fund (Team Emilie)" to UCHF 12401 East 17th Ave. Mail Stop F485 Aurora, CO 80045.


  1. You need to know that there are many people out there in awe of what you two are doing! Doing something that you can be proud of is well worth the mess in the meantime :-) I am constantly looking at you and Dave as a source of motivation. When you get that social life back, we'd love to have you over :-)

  2. I can't do any of those miles for you but I can clean the kitchen! We are so awed by what the two of you are doing.

  3. It still is a good idea! You will be so proud. We are all already proud. Love ya