Hear Me Now

Sometimes a bucket list isn’t about you at all. Sometimes its all about the people who mean the most to you. My sister is in Louisville, Kentucky tonight trying to get some sleep because in the morning she will wake up at about 4:30 am, have some instant oatmeal or a bagel and put on her workout clothes. Then she will check her several plastic bags lying on the floor of her hotel room one more time, pin on her bib number, grab her slick road bike and hit the door. She will be soon competing in her very first full distance Ironman Triathlon, swimming 2.4 miles in a fast paced river, biking 112 miles through the rolling Kentucky hills and then running a marathon of 26 miles in the sweltering Indian summer heat. Why is she doing this? To prove to herself that she can. It’s that simple.

She needs to prove to herself that no matter what the challenge, no matter what the odds are against herself, she has the physical, mental and spiritual strength to go the distance. She needs to know that no matter what she faces in life she has the strength and internal fortitude to “just keep going” and face down the fear and the challenge.

I wish I was there to cheer her on in person, but she knows I am with her in spirit. I have been with her all along.

She has faced numerous challenges over the years but nothing like what she has faced the past year. This race is a race of empowerment, a chance to prove to all who care to watch, that she is a tough cookie and even though she looks like the wind could blow her over she is a mighty force to be reckoned with. She has faced down challenges in the past year that many would have run from or bowed down to, but with each passing day she has gotten stronger and more determined. As her heart healed, she regained the lost soul inside, the one who had spunk, the one who dared to dream.

As she faced her cloudy blue skies, fought battles and tears no one should have to face she dared to set a huge goal, she dared to dream, she dared to make her own decisions in life. Every day she got stronger, every day her body handled the physical hardships a little better and every day she reaffirmed to herself that she was strong enough.

15 months later she is the strongest person I know, she is an inspiration to me and she has shown me how to face down life’s biggest challenges with grace and dignity. She is ready to be an Ironman. I know she has it in her to do this. I have known it all along. Tomorrow she will know too.

One of my bucket list items was to really be there for someone. To be a source of support for someone when they faced their darkest hours. This past 15 months I have tried my very best to do this for my sister. I believed in her when she was too scared to believe in herself. I have watched her blossom like a butterfly and she is ready for her day, her moment. I wish I could be there with her in person for tomorrow, but she knows I am with her in spirit. I have been with her all along.

The Big Day:
Today is the big day and my sister is currently knocking it out of the ballpark! I can track her progress online by going to Ironman.com and I am so impressed! She swam 2.4 miles in a river with water temps of 85 degrees and she did it in 1:29 minutes. Then she got on her bike and hit the road and posted a split time on her bike of 70.5 miles in 4 hours and 10 minutes. She finished the bike in 6 hours and 53 minutes and managed to move up in the overall ranks by 100 people. That means she passed 100 people on her bike, men, women, younger and older! She passed 3 females in her age group on the bike and moved up to a rank of 53 in her age group. She even posted a second split on the bike that was faster than her first split. She is rocking it! The temps are hot in Louisville right now in fact, they are expected to hit 92 degrees with 90% humidity. I would not like to go for a walk in temperatures like that and she is doing an Ironman.

As I post this update she is off the bike and is now in her running shoes trying to “find her legs” as the veteran Ironman says (my husband). Now all she has to do is complete a full marathon, 26 miles, in 92 degree temps with 90% humidity on shot legs. My admiration for her is hard to put into words. I wish I could be there with her in person today, but she knows I am with her in spirit. I have been there all along. You Go Girl. What a way to show the world what you are made of, especially after the year of hell you have been through.

Last Update:
She did it! My baby sister, the one who lost her voice in her marriage found her voice on the trail. By the time she got to the run she was feeling the pain, but all in all doing well. Unfortunately, as these things can go, four miles into the run she started to experience pain in her calf. She had experienced this pain a couple years before and knew what it was, which was good and bad. She knew enough not to continue to run on it because of the possibility of tearing the muscle which could leave her unable to even walk on it. She was not going to train for a year and get this far into the race and have to quit so she started walking. In the end, she walked the rest of the marathon and eventually, triumphantly, and exhaustively crossed the finish line victorious just under 16 hours after starting her Ironman.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list”.

Vineman 1/2 Ironman

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