This is it. The counter says 7 days, the flight is tomorrow at 6:15am, and everything is packed (except for my bike of course..one minor thing right! We like to do that at midnight the night before just for fun..right K?!).
I can't believe it. Honestly, it's surreal. There were weeks when I was so sick of training and I thought this race would just never get here. All of the sudden, we are in the thick of the final countdown and all I have left to do is travel, taper and race.
People keep asking me if I am excited. I don't know how to answer that question. Of COURSE a big part of me is excited, I know it will be a day like no other, I know I will get to see many friends over on the Island and meet a few more that I have only read messages from in Blogland! I also know it will be a very long hot day, and I don't think excited totally captures my feeling about it. You know what I am looking forward to the most - the onion.
"What - the onion.. what are you talking about?" Others might have heard this phrase before. Just like layers of an onion, as you race, the layers get peeled away and you learn something about yourself with each passing mile, and even each passing step. I know hard times will come, I know at least once or twice my body will try and make me quit. Nope, like the onion, I hope to peel back until the innermost layers are exposed and out there for everyone to see and you know what I want them to see...
Faith, honor, thankfulness for everything I've been given, respect - for the other athletes and the island, tenacity, relentlessness, drive, will, effort, love - for my grandfather, my family, my friends and others around me, spirit and most of all heart & a love for this sport.
That's my list. If you don't see it, well, maybe you're just looking at the outside. Don't worry - it's in there. If you look close.. you'll see it.
Speaking of thank you's, I have just a few to send out before I go.
Kyle - no words to describe what you've done for me or how you lift me up, Mom & Dad - you are my rocks, I love you so much, My Kona Support Crew (who I just made t-shirts for - wait till they seem them!! They are awesome if I do say so myself) - it is amazing that you are coming the whole way over the ocean to see me - thank you Anna, Gretchen, Tammy, Mary, Anglea, and Jen!! My coaches - Luis and Mark - thank you for your guidance, this would have not be possible without you, Deb - you inspire me to go after my dreams, you're so supportive, thank you for being there in our time of need with the house - you're awesome! My training partners - Jerry, Rich & the masters swim team - you guys are great. It was so fun getting to know you! The heartbreak crew and everyone back in Clarion (Aunt Dena!)- you're the best & I love you, thanks for the prayers, my sponsors and more importantly-my friends John D. at Washington Reprographics, Glenn at Big Bang, Andrew at Serenity, Franco with Super Donut, Powerbar... Your support is unparalleled, thank you for helping me to get to this race!! Marco - your help and advice is amazing.. thanks so much. My Blog Buddies & Friends - Marit - get ready to race your first Ironman because you are going along for the ride!! Beth - words can say how proud I am of you or how much you mean to me, you're my triathlon compadre!! All the other Bloggers - RR, Maija, ELF, Jen H. Flatman & Bree - great advice, guidance and support! Krista - what a GOOD LUCK!! I loved it!! Hug & Kiss those little girls for me and Tim too! Keith my massuse - you're big and scary (just kidding, you are big though), but you treat me so well..I couldn't get through this training without you! Everyone I am missing too - just because I'm not mentioning you does NOT mean I am forgetting you!! Thank you so much!
Ok.. that should do it for my Miss America speech. I don't know how else to say it. It takes a community to raise an Ironwomen and I think we may have done it here folks. I promise to do my best no matter what happens.
If I can - I will write while in HI, but no promises. My focus next week is to relax, mentally prepare, keep my feet up, sleep, train and throw a little party. That's all. So, I'll talk to you soon.
Safe Travels everyone & Good Luck to those who are racing this weekend (Beth), I know you are going to kick serious butt!