I have SO many people to thank who helped me get to the finish line of this race I'm pretty sure I will forget someone really important. However, I'm still going to try!
In no particular order.
First off...I thank God. I believe He gave me not only the desire to do this race but especially the strength to finish this race. There were many times during the training and race day I didn't see how I could finish. I believe faith that "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me" kept me going when I really wanted to quit or didn't think I would/could make it. All good things are a gift freely given and gratefully received.
My husband. When I brought up the idea of doing this race to him, his first question was, "how much is this going to cost?". Little did either of us know exactly what was going to be involved. I thought the entry fee was $800 (I think it was less-I don't even remember now). I added in condo, air fare and food for the trip and came up with a figure he could live with. I wasn't trying to hide the full cost, I just didn't think to add in all the nutrition, supplements, bike gearing, tires, wheels, doctor visits, coaching, extra shoes, goggles, butt butter, and..and..and. There's no way to accurately add up the full cost, because I would have been training for SOMETHING so some of that would have been spent anyway. Up until about a month or so ago every time I would mention the trip he would roll his eyes and groan. When training started backing off and I started coming a little unglued, just when my confidence took a nose dive, he really stepped up to the plate and became a major support for me. He started getting excited (or at least acting excited) about going to Tahoe. As we prepared to leave, he became the chronicler of the whole IMLT experience. (I'll make a slide show to add of all the photos he took...). He was my human anchor, placed there directly by God Himself!
My kids. Raising children is hard. You aren't ever sure if you're doing it right until you aren't really doing it anymore! Several times during the day when I would think, "this is the hardest thing I've ever done" I realized that it really was harder than raising my kids!! I'd like to say I raised them right, but I think something that would be closer to the truth is that they are good kids whose lives I am blessed to be a part of! I remember my mom telling me I could do anything I set my mind to and I didn't really get it...I think my kids get it and that pushed me to keep moving forward throughout this whole experience.
My best friend, Daisy, She had to hear about this race pretty much daily for a year and a half!! When my shoulder started bothering me, and certainly when it wasn't getting better, I know she really wanted to say, "This is CRAZY! DON'T DO IT!!" But, she didn't (at least if she did, she didn't repeat it enough times for me to hear it!). She went with me to doctor appointments to find out what was going on and took me for the procedures I had to try to fix it. She heard about training and fears and worries and excitement over and over and over again. As the race drew closer she heard about my race plan until she could have recited it herself! And...she was excited for me. She prayed with me and for me. And...she stayed up WAY past her bedtime to cheer me on (via text to my husband) and to watch me finish!
All my friends (including the athletes I coach who are all also friends). I can not express how sweet it was to me the Saturday before the race to see all the posts on FaceBook of my friends doing my "goofy prerace pose)!! I was crying all day long as they were posted. It was so special to me to feel supported and cheered on by my friends back home. It helped me feel like were right there with me. Those photos ran through my mind on race day as did the videos some of the kids made for me. Even my spin class peeps got in on the fun...and a few people I didn't even know!!!
All the doctors I saw in the last year. Let's see, I went to Dr Tindall, Dr Layton, Dr Cosgrove, Dr Reto, Dr Donovan, Dr Olsen, Dr Carter, Dr Roberts and both Jays at Austin Physical Therapy. All because my shoulder hurt and no one seemed to be able to keep it from hurting long enough for me to train for an Iron Man pain free! :D (See the thanks to God because it really did NOT bother me enough to even complain on race day...and I honestly don't think that was due to any of the doctors I saw because the week before it was bad enough I worried I wouldn't be able to finish the swim!)
All the people I have trained with. I really like to train alone, but there have been numerous times throughout the year I joined a group run or group ride for one reason or another. On most of those days, I may not have gotten it done without the company!
And...all the people who gave me advice, let me borrow stuff, told me about their experiences, asked me WHY...even the people who said they would NEVER do an Iron Man! :D
Last, but certainly not least, my coaches. My first coach is a friend of mine who told me about a little group she was working with for what ended up being my first open water swim triathlon (Iron Girl). She gently ushered me into the world of triathlon and gave me a good push. I remember her telling me, "if I can do it, anyone can do it!". I didn't believe her completely because at the time I really didn't know how to swim very well! Through that group I was led to my first swim coach, I'll call him Coach Coffee (because he has a cup of coffee in his hands from 5-7am every day at master swim!). He patiently told me "do this not that" over and over until it began to sink in. Next came Coach Eric. Eric pushed me harder than anyone has in my life (even my drill sergeants and TAC officers in the army!! It is because of him I even signed up for this race in the first place! He said I could do it...turns out he was right! (And...I'm sorry for all the bad words I called him while I was training and racing...).
... And then came Coach Martha with Endurance Concepts. After I got hurt I wasn't sure if I would be coached for this race or not. I didn't think I would be able to take instruction from someone because there were days I knew I just wouldn't be able to get a set workout done. After all...this was one race out of my life...I have to live with my shoulder until I die! A good friend told me about Coach Martha so I gave her a call. She NEVER ONCE said I might need to rethink the race. She kept telling me she knew I could do it (even when I'm sure she MUST have had doubts). She worked closely with me to give me just enough to make sure I was prepared, but not so much I wouldn't make it to the start line. When a coach takes on a cracked egg, it's hard to make sure it doesn't break. Coach Martha not only didn't break me, she strengthened me in ways that went well beyond my physical body.
Thank you, muchas gracias, grazie mille, danke, merci beaucoup!!