It is 8:23 pm on Saturday, September 8th.
I'm sitting in the living room of the 1-bedroom room at the Residence Inn that has been my home since Thursday. Warren is here.....arrived today after competing in his Nationals tournament for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour.
The Imoo Crew (aka friends Natalie, Lance, Marcia, Gary, Marty and Mark) shared a pot-luck dinner with us tonight in the room -- a collective of food shared, stories told and support given.
Despite the thunder and lightening now, tomorrow is supposed to be a great day for an Ironman and, at 7:00 am, I'll be starting the swim and working myself toward the finish line, where I will be sometime before midnight.
This is my 3rd attempt.....and, right now, I'm a combination of confidence and fear. Peace and anxiety. Prepared and wondering where in the heck the training season went and WHY the date got here as fast as it did.
I can say, though, that I trained very hard this year. I rode through heat, humidity, wind and rain. I ran at night, in the dark, after work when I was tired. I swam a lot; I tried a lot of new things (races/techniques/plans). So.............all I need to do now is work my plan; stay in the box and keep moving.
The other REAL FACT is that, although I put in the training time, I certainly did not get here all by myself. I want to acknowledge some of the very important "villagers" who helped me more than they can possibly know:
My Coach -- Greg Rhodes. After a two year hiatus, we worked together again this year and I could not be happier. He is a terrific athlete, a wonderful coach that really knows and cares about his athletes, and I'm proud to be able to call him my friend. He knew when to ratchet things up and what to say to calm me down. I'm fit; I'm strong and I'm ready. THANK YOU! He is also racing tomorrow and I'll be sending good vibes his way all day.
My Hubby -- Warren: You put up with a lot of stuff this summer. Many weekends where we saw very litte of each other -- thank heavens golf rounds take a lot of time too; a lot of meals alone. Still, you encouraged me; you ran with me; you pushed me. You excused me for not being able to make Couples League rounds; You sent me merrily on my way for training weekends. You love me (a job in itself). And I love you!
My Long Distance Training Partner In Crime: Natalie. Nothing will ever replace the training seasons we had when we trained for Chicago Marathon, Pigman 1/2 iron, Ironman Wisconsin (round 1 for me) or any of the hundreds of other races we've done together. BUT, the next best thing is email and texting and you were there for me every step of the journey. I'm excited to see you PR your 1/2 marathon races this fall and look forward to our new adventures.... maybe Rio?
My ever-training friends: Marcia, Gary, Cheryl, Mary; My new training friends: Stephanie, Mark, Jeff. It is wonderful to have friends that enjoy this sport as much as I do. I love comparing notes, training plans, nutrition plans, tri community gossip and workouts with you all.
*Cathy Yndestad -- one of my triathlete heros: When I was running at Minneman sprint this year, I heard someone from behind me say "Great Job, Amy" and then Cathy blazed by. She went on to win the long course race. She, while trying to win her on race, had the kindness of spirit, to encourage me as I plodded along. She is -- and always has been -- one class act.
*The Gunthers -- Helen and Steve: You open your hearts, home and pontoon boat to all of us. You both have been nothing but supportive of me, offering friendship and encouragement
*Greta, Julia, Micha, Steve and Pharmie: Superstars all. I've learned from all of you.
Dave Cameron: without your help, I'd still be swimming 100 yds as 25 free, 25 side, 25 back and 25 breast. I appreciate your coaching and your stories.
Swim Lane friends: Eric, Shannon, Digby, Joe, Shaun. Glub glub and thank you!
My webfriends: Mike and Jenny Wimmer. What can I say about you two except: YOU ARE BOTH AWESOME! Your encouragement, humor and support have been unparalleled.
Beth K: your smile, your determination, your strength inspires me every time I see you. Rich V.S: it was always great to see you at races. You always had some thing funny to say to encourage me along. WIBA friends: Rob, Tonia, Lynn and Sharon: So nice to connect with you this year and to share a ride or two. Race well tomorrow.
My club run friends: Patrick, Bev, Joe, Lela, Mike, Mary, Mark, Kathy. Always full of advice, encouragement and wisdom. Best advice came from Joe: Read "Iron War". Thank you.
My siblings -- my neices -- my cousins -- my Facebook friends old and new -- thanks for listening to my boring training stroies, reading my status and giving me the old "like".
I am SURE that I've forgotten some names.....I'll remember them tomorrow about mile 75 on the bike. Or mile 17 on the run.
Just know, no matter what the final outcome is tomorrow, that I really appreciate you all for what you've done but most of all, I love you all for who you are.