When I began blogging in May 2008 I was young in terms of my athletic career. I did not grow up playing sports. Yes, I was active, but I never played any kind of organized sport unless you consider dance lessons and cheerleading sports. I took up running in 2001 after having lost all of my college weight and was in desperate need of an outlet for stress. Once I started, I never stopped. When I moved to Arizona in 2005 there was a very large and active triathlon community in the valley and we became involved in triathlon. We raced our first triathlon in October 2005 with our sights set on Ironman Arizona 2007. My husband was very competitive immediately. He was racing at the top of his age group and qualified for Kona in his 5th Ironman race (5th in 2 years, I should mention). I, on the other hand, well.... I was in it for the fun of training, racing, and camaraderie.
I began blogging in 2008 when I became an ambassador for Skirt Sports. As a small, growing business they were looking for women active in the tri community to wear their products and talk about it. My blog was a way to talk about everything running, triathlon and Skirt Sports. Soon it evolved as I realized how much I loved to write. How writing is an outlet all it's own. It is soothing. It is stress relief. It became my diary... a very public one, but a diary nonetheless. The thoughts were all my own, often very private, but somehow sharing them and having people read my thoughts and relate to me gave me confidence. It's difficult to explain, but I never considered myself an athlete. Through running, and triathlon, and writing about my experiences I slowly began to see myself as an athlete. I realized that I could make this sport whatever I wanted it to be.
For a long time, it was exactly what I needed it to be. A fun outlet. In 2012, 5 years after my first Ironman race and 7 years after starting triathlon, I DNF'd my first race. (DNF= did not finish.) I entered Ironman St. George with very high expectations as I had worked very hard in training. When mother nature dished up some horrific conditions I quit. I actually made it through 75 miles of the bike ride, but I quit during the swim. Before my husband even crossed the finish line that evening, I already was experiencing an array of emotions. Guilt. Embarrassment. Fear. Crushing disappointment. I knew that I could either learn from that experience, or I would never race again. I threw myself into training, not just physical but mental training, as I had never done before. And the result was a shocking personal best of 10 hours and 54 minutes at Ironman Arizona 6 months later. A PR by over an hour.
Prior to IMAZ 2012, I had been ticking boxes to finish 12 Ironman races to be able to enter the Ironman Legacy program, a lottery program to Kona. After Ironman Arizona 2012, where I finished 6th in my age group, I believed for the very first time that I could QUALIFY for Kona all on my own. Yes, it would take time, and hard work- lots of hard work. But I was not afraid of trying. What I didn't want was to wake up one day and wonder, what if? What if I didn't give myself the chance? What if I took the Legacy slot and never gave myself the chance to be the very best I could be?
Over the weeks and months after IMAZ 2012, I made the decision to put the Legacy on the back burner and work toward getting stronger and faster. I was working to qualify for Kona.
As I put the last few days of 2014 into the books, and look forward to the challenges and adventures that await me in 2015, I knew that I was no longer RunnerChick-SkirtGirl. I knew that I had evolved as an athlete and though I still love wearing cute workout gear, I was no longer identifying with the limited vision of that girl. Over the last year Finding Kona has become my "hashtag", my calling card, my vision. I wanted to change my blog title (ie: address) to match that vision. Thus you will find all of my past posts, and all of my future ones moved to Finding Kona. I hope you continue with me on my journey to experience all the highs and lows involved in my pursuit of Kona and beyond. Kona is not the end point. It is the beginning.