June 24th. saddened by a big, fat DNF that sat next to my name on a results page, yet proud as hell that I had the guts to even put my face into the icy cold waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene, I headed back home to Denver. I was supposed to come home as a 6 time Ironman. full of life, energy and a sense of tremendous accomplishment. back to endless congratulations and me telling funny and exciting stories. and a wicked celebratory hangover. Instead, I came back with a wicked consolation hangover. back to an empty, quiet apartment. back to pick up a tri bike that was still in pristine condition, not a drop of Infinit, or a hint of sweat on it. back to a life that seemed unchanged and mundane. the bright side? because of course there was one...*post-3/7/12 KJ* always has or finds a bright side... I was alive. I was so proud of myself for attempting to fulfill another dream on a long list of many. I spent 5 incredible days with my best friend. and I knew I had the most solid support system should I need to reach out ~ my family to whom I owe everything ~ my boss and co-workers who are genuinely interested in my well-being ~ my friends to whom I treasure and make my life so fun ~ *the friends* whose unconditional love got me through the worst of times - Pip, Twin, Dukie, IronChristy, Paul, Trisha, Christine, Temp, Eric, Dan&Mary and Kelly B. and then there was knowing that in 62 days I had the chance to go after another dream. Ironman Louisville. Thank GOD I had Ironman Louisville. I had my 2nd chance at becoming a 6 time Ironman and come high or hell water, I was going to have a finishing time next to my name.
...and so I would spend the next 62 days more determined, dedicated and training harder than I ever have for this goal. I would dig deeper. visit parts of my soul that I never knew existed. tap into a mindset that I thought only elite and professional athletes possessed. focus on rehabilitation and maintenance of my body, finally recovering from an injury so painful it left me crying after countless runs and races. removing all things negative and toxic from life, or at least trying to - people, activities, emotions etc. A lot of spiritual cleansing would take place over the course of 62 days. I no longer felt the need to justify my actions or explain myself to anyone. I decided that if you truly love me for who I am, then you accept that this passion I have for this sport is ingrained in me, but doesn't define me. Just like someone who goes to the mountains every weekend to hike 14ers or ski, or heads to the lake every weekend to SUP or fish, I hit the open water, open road or open trail to swim/bike/run because it brings my heart and mind pure peace and joy. and for the first time, I [hesitantly] accepted invitations to train with others and even began to invite people to my workouts - something I really had never done before. I kept talking about wanting and needing balance. Ironman training can be so isolating, especially when done alone and so I saw this as an opportunity at a 2nd chance to redefine what this sport could mean to me. and now for another reason, Louisville, Kentucky was truly becoming the city of 2nd chances... 62 days.