Continue to push your boundaries of what you think is possible and you will find that almost anything is possible. Ironman…”Anything’s possible”
Kona IRONMAN World Championships 2015 training kicked off today! It feels a little unreal that I am already documenting my next Ironman training before writing my Ironman Lake Placid race report. It takes me a few weeks to fully reflect and write my Ironman race reports so I haven’t even started it or posted my photo album yet. Give me another week or so. After an “express 7 day recovery” I find myself training for Ironman World Championships with just 67 days to race day. IRONMAN…World…Championships. The golden M-dot. I am smiling as I type. A little background for those that are new to Ironman. For a little over 35 years the IRONMAN World Championship has brought the world’s best athletes together. Two years before I was born the idea to challenge endurance athletes combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i were joined together totalying 140.6 miles. The 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event. On February 18, 1978, 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge. Now, according to Ironman each year more than 90,000 athletes across the world compete for slots to the Ironman World Championship with approximately 2,000 invited to the starting line. Every full distance Ironman offers a minimum of one qualifying spot per age group for the world championship. The only other ways to get to the starting line is by the old lottery where 100 lucky people win a slot, the Legacy Program which grants another 100 randomly selected athletes who have completed at least 12 full distance IRONMAN races a slot, or by being invited through a very limited number of charity slots. Somehow I am one of those very fortunate people who will race the Ironman World Championships 2015.
On July 26, 2015 I raced Ironman Lake Placid on the Mutilple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures. I look forward sharing so much about this incredibly meaningful experience in my race report in the weeks to follow. And of course thank so many of you who are reading this for playing such an important roll in the journey. I hope some people will follow and join the team next year. Everyone has their personal reasons for racing an Ironman but this one was an experience that can not be compared to my previous Ironmans. I decided to race on the Ironman Lake Placid charity partner MMRF Team for Cures because of a family connection to Multiple Myeloma. I learned from the MMRF in June that I had the potential to qualify for a slot to Kona by being one of the top fundraisers for the MMRF. The fundraising requirement is $5,000 to race on the team although I set a goal the day I signed up to raise $35,000 to celebrate my 35 years of life. Once I learned there was a chance to race Kona, I was determined to not race this once in lifetime opportunity but to use this opportunity as an incredible way to raise more awareness and funds for the MMRF. To combine something I am so passionate about…Ironman…with the world championships to educate people about Multiple Myeloma and raise funds for the MMRF. I was dedicated to making this happen and visualized it every day. Last Saturday evening my Kona Ironman World Championships dream became reality when they announced my fundraising total of over $41,944.92 at the MMRF reception. I was informed that I had earned a bib to race Kona so long as I crossed the Ironman Lake Placid finish line. Sunday evening Kelley of the MMRF was at the Ironman finish line to place the medal around my neck and congratulate me with a hug. I remember hearing “Keli, it’s official, you are going to race Kona!!!” Those who know me probably think I was screaming and jumping for joy but I was nearly frozen when I heard those words and I think all I said was “thank you.” There were so many emotions after this experience I didn’t know what to feel. Kelley worked closely with all of us on the MMRF team and it meant so much to see her in that moment crossing the finish line. The day after the race and over the past week my Facebook inbox was flooded with messages asking if I’m excited about Kona and how I will train for it. Truth is, I was overwhelmed with the messages and even a little frustrated and sad the first few days. So much “Keli is going to Kona” talk and I was not ready to think about why, to reflect on how it happened, or to think about the training ahead. I just wanted process the race that was just completed and to rest and recover those first few days. There were so many messages about Kona but let’s remember what is bringing me there. Please remember my entire purpose and goal to begin with. Yes, I have felt extreme gratitude this past week but I can’t tell you that excitement was a major first emotion. I am so happy to have this chance to race this dream but what kept going through my mind this past week was the reminder of why I signed up for Ironman in the first place this year. It just kept playing over and over again in my mind. Do you understand what I mean? Fortunately I have had conversations with those who played a significant roll in the experience to make me see accept things a little different now. This may be a reward for raising awareness and funds for the MMRF, but I want this to be so much more. I want to race Kona World Championships and continue with the MMRF once again up until race week. I hope this time around I am able to educate people and companies on the outstanding work of the MMRF and hope that some will sponsor my efforts to race world championships by making contributions to the MMRF. I know that great things are possible with this and that GREAT things come to those who go after their dreams. I promise to keep going and have asked for my MMRF Team for Cures page to remain open for the 8 weeks leading up to world championships.
So Kona…I am going to Kona….KONAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! On Saturday, October 10, 2015 I will race my fourth Ironman since beginning triathlon almost two years ago. It’s incredible to go back to old training blogs and review what can happen over such a short period of time. So what now? How does one properly recover from an Ironman and a yet train with just 8 weeks to world championships? I’ll admit…it’s slightly overwhelming putting together a short training plan, get right back to training without the ideal amount of time for recovery /training, book flights/accommodations/bike transportation, figure out funds, and so on but I will make sure this entire experience is pure joy! I will document and share as much of it as possible, I will to continue my efforts for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and I will do my best to be good to myself in the process. Today’s training began easy with just a 60 minute slow run mid day at 90 degrees. It felt fitting considering it will be hot in Hawaii. It’s real now and I feel excited. I look forward to really focusing over the next 8 weeks on an intense plan and improving some areas of training which I will get to in my next blog. Dig deep, dream big, and make your moments count. Ironman is more than just swim, bike, run. It represents life. Ironman teaches me so much in the process. Being able to pursue my passion for Ironman for something larger than myself has been one of the most meaningful experiences yet. When you finish an Ironman it becomes part of you for the rest of your life. They have all been life changing. Ironman reminds me that we can achieve so much more than we ever thought we could. Thank you to all who played a roll in this journey, thank you to those who supported the MMRF, thank you to the MMRF, and thank you to those who will continue in my journey. See you in 67 days in Kona at the starting line of Ironman World Championships 2015!