I arrived in Louisville on Thursday afternoon and the moment I stepped off the tiny little plane, I was greeted with a giant warm and humid hug from this city's infamous climate...OH! how happy I was to see so much sunshine and feel that heat. Such a contrast from the dismal cold and grey skies of Idaho just 2 months earlier. I headed straight to the loft that my sister and her boyfriend had rented about a mile from downtown and settled in. I spent the next 24 hours on my own, soaking it all in, preparing for the weekend's festivities and the arrival of my kick-ass support crew...my older sissy and her boyfriend, Ma and Pops, and lil' pink Pip...and a last minute surprise - the Team KJ Chicago Crew of 6 - what a lucky, lucky girl I was to have so much unconditional love headed my way. [ENTER: HUGE CROCODILE TEARS]
I was having an incredible time meeting new people and making friends everywhere I went...the expo, registration, practice swim, tune-up ride etc...never the shy girl, graced with my mom's priceless and graceful social skills, I was gearing myself up mentally for an amazing race day. Once everyone started to arrive, my nerves settled and my excitement continued to grow tenfold. Quite frankly, the only thing I was nervous about was "the swim" ~ Unfortunately, IM Coeur d'Alene had become my boogeyman...lurking around every corner, just waiting for me to let my guard down, ready to pounce, and eat. me. alive... And no amount of positive self-talk, visualization sessions or encouragement from friends or teammates could make that sick-to-my-stomach-what-if-I-can't-finish-the-swim-again-and-never-do-another-Ironman feeling go away. Sure, you can sit there and take a look at what I have accomplished in my athletic career and knowing how fiercely driven and dedicated I am and tell me "You'll be fine" or "Of course you'll finish, you've done this so many times before!" etc. but let me tell you...until you experience an Ironman DNF, you can't even begin to imagine what it takes to put yourself back together mentally. My confidence shattered into a million little pieces on the morning of June 23rd. and I spent 62 days looking for those pieces, picking them up one by one, and putting them back together...and on August 25th I was going to find out if the glue was going to hold...
|Veruca is ready to ride this time!|
|The Ohio River|
|Be your own Superhero!|
|Pip, Pops, Ma, Michelle and Greg|
|SURPRISE!! the Chicago Crew of 6|