2.4 mile SWIM in the Choptank River
112 mile BIKE through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
26.2 mile RUN through and around Cambridge
I am excited, happy, challenged, scared, determined, nervous, and anxious all at once. This is going to be quite a journey.
Ironman (IM) started to really take hold as a dream, an attainable dream, around this time last year. I'm in good health; my children are young enough that fitting in training around our schedules isn't too bad; and I have been wonderfully inspired by other triathletes in my world (*cough cough Tricia cough*) to just do this! In February, I'll be turning 40... it is a milestone for sure, and I had begun to think Ironman would be a significant and personal way to celebrate.
Then a few very coincidental and cosmic things seemed to happen over the last several months.
When I first mentioned this idea to James over his birthday dinner last year, he readily supported me. I told him IM has races in Florida, near his aunt and uncle's house....as well as Madison, WI, which isn't too far from his parents. I was starting to settle on the idea of IMWI but was nervous of the cost to get my bike there, all four of us via plane, etc. Then, in April, Ironman announced the inaugural race in Maryland this year and in future years. That's 2 hours from home! So much easier.
|Happy Birthday James, oh and I want to do an Ironman! 10/27/13|
My coworker and friend, Vickie Gelfman, had been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) since 2013. Between her, and my contact with the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation, I had begun to view my health and spirituality a little differently.
Vickie, who, at age 31,lost her battle just about six weeks ago, would have given anything to have her healthy body back, to be able to run and enjoy life. #teamVickieforever. I think of her, especially when a run gets tough or I feel like stopping. I think of her when the weather is particularly gorgeous, knowing she is right there, too.
|Vickie & me, OC, MD 2012|
|Go Out Be Great!|
I think of them, and so many others, and just feel so grateful for my life, for my health, and my abilities. I knew Ironman could be an amazing way to honor their strength, and celebrate my own life.
About two years ago, I stumbled across a blog called "SWIM BIKE MOM" (swimbikemom.com). The SBM author, Meredith Atwood, seemed a lot like me: attorney, working mom, two kids, former teen athlete, and now triathlete in training. I have read her blog and been inspired by her story, and the other moms in her "army," as she calls them. Last month, just a few weeks before IMMD registration opened up, SBM posted an opportunity to be a team ambassador for the 2015 racing season... a wonderful way to connect with other women and mommies, and help each other find our inner-athletes. It seemed like a sign, the final push for me to take hold of my nerves and just do it. So I applied for SWIM BIKE MOM AMBASSADOR TEAM 2015. Out of 250 women nationwide who applied, Meredith added me to the team. (There was a lot of girlish squealing when that call came, after my initial "who the heck do I know in Georgia?" reaction when I saw the caller i.d.)
There are 29 of us, from everywhere and all backgrounds. As we've been getting to know each other, I am simply amazed by these women! This opportunity was just the right thing to inspire me daily in this journey.
Saving the "best" for last. Those of you who know me well, know about my family and specifically the amazing man I get to call Dad. Gerald James Markey, or Jerry to everyone, is the greatest man I know. If it's true that girls marry men like their fathers, then the highest compliment I can pay James and my brother-in-law Sean is that my sister Marianne and I chose them. My Dad is an avid runner, and has always been my hero in many ways but very much so as an athlete. In July, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, at the age of 79. (Any of my friends reading this who didn't already know about my Dad, I really told very few people... it just wasn't something I spoke about).
Prostate cancer is technically a very survivable cancer, but Dad also has cancer in his lymph-nodes around the prostate, which can be serious trouble. We waited for several days to see if blood tests would show any spread. And for the first time in 57 years, my dad wasn't running daily in his Converse low-tops. It was scary and heart-wrenching, for him and my mother... And for my three brothers, sister and me. Luckily, we got great news: the cancer stayed put. He has begun hormone treatments to shrink the prostate, and is basically able to live his full life. He has to be checked and re-checked periodically, but all in all, a very positive prognosis. But it sure did remind me once again how fragile life can be, that it can turn on a dime, and how lucky we are.
So, as many have done before me, I am going to do my race for a charity. More on that to come, but in honor of my Dad, I'm hoping to race for "Little Things For Cancer," an amazing organization that supports families going through cancer treatment with assistance in child care, meals, help with bills, etc. We know how lucky we are; I have too many friends and co-workers who have lost parents, siblings, spouses and friends (all too young!) to this terrible disease, or who are fighting cancer with everything they've got! And not everyone is blessed enough to have a network of support, a job with great insurance, and the financial stability to fight the fight!
|Dad, James & me after my first marathon, Baltimore 10/12/13.|
So, this is just the beginning of what I hope to be an amazing journey. It won't be worth it without the support of my family and friends, so I hope this blog will be a way to share my joy and pain in the coming year. I thank you in advance for the love.... I am so very fortunate in this life.
P.S. James, I already can foresee some of the sacrifices and "single parenting" you will have to do in order to allow me to take on this dream of mine. A year in advance, thank you for everything. I couldn't do this (or much else) without you as my partner-in-crime.
|my racing motto|
Oh, and P.P.S., if you are wondering how I came up with the name of my blog, please see the following clip from "Wedding Crashers"