I've given so much thought to the past several months. All the support I have received from my family and friends. I don't think thank you can even begin to express my appreciation to my mom and my nephew Sammy. They have taken such good care of my children while I put in the endless hours of training. They really don't realize what they have given me. Peace of mind, knowing my children were safe, well that's priceless. I don't mean to single out just my mom and Sammy, the auntie's, Jessica, Matt and Nick were a big help too but Sammy and mom were the ones who did most of the work.
My husband, his support was always there. He told me the other day, after he won his football game, GO RAIDERS!!! That he knows how long I've dreamed of doing this and he was happy to be there for me. These past several months have tested our marriage and I'm happy to say we have survived. :) Life is good. I used to think if a marriage can survive infertility it can survive anything. Well, I'm adding Ironman training to that. :) :)
My sister Patty - she has always believed in me - in what ever crazy thing I wanted to do. She will be in Madison with me on race day just as she was with me for all the other big days in my life from having the twins, to my first marathon to Sunday. I know I can always count on her for support.
I will be eternally grateful to Keri. She has supported me thru this adventure. Not to get off track but I have to tell you this story about Keri. And this is hard for me because the story is not one of my finer moments. After I ran the Boston marathon I was freezing cold. I couldn't stop shaking. I walked thru an endless line, first to get my chip off and get my medal, then to get my gear, then walked thru a maze just to try to find my hotel. During this time I called Patty and told her I wasn't feeling very good, to please get some tea ready for me. She said she was coming to find me and I told her NO please don't I'll be there soon. Finally, I saw my hotel. A police officer, who was turning everyone away from cutting thru the barricade (aka the maze) was nice enough to let me thru. He asked if he could take me to the medical tent, that I didn't look so good. I pointed to my hotel and said that's the only place I'm going. Then I heard her, "Pam" "Ppppaaaammmm". It was Keri, some how she found me. She jumped the barricade and convinced me to tgo to the medical tent where an EMT took my temp. It was 91, so they made us go to another tent, where, UGH this was the humiliating part, I was told the only way to get my temp up was to take off my clothes!!! WHAT!!! No Way. With the blink of an eye 2 EMT's started to undress me while another tried to keep a wool blanket over me so none of me would be exposed. Then, I saw Keri, she was taking off her shirt. Ok, she had a tank shirt on underneath, so she wasn't completely naked. She literally gave me the shirt off her back. She then found my baggy sweat pants that I sprayed and resprayed with water repellent- so they stayed pretty dry. I will never forget that. And, while I was warming up with this thing they wrapped me in that forced warm air all over me, she was helping other runners who were there call their families. She even went out into the cold and got the gear bags for 2 girls and returned their chips and got one girls medal for her. It was a Nor'easter and she was out there helping strangers. That's the kind of person she is. She's been there for me on the good training days and the bad and she's going to Madison for race day. She's not just my sister-in-law, she's my friend.
My tri mates. I choked up on Sunday as they said good bye and good luck. I'm glad I had my sunglasses on and was able to control my voice. I don't think they realize what they mean to me. After I hugged Rick, he yelled from his car "Hey, just think of me whispering in your ear on that ride next week!" He really will be out there with me on the ride. He's this remarkable man who has over come his obstacles an now shares his love of cycling with everyone who rides with him. He's as fast as the fastest rider in the group or as slow as well, me, who on many occasions was indeed the last rider in the pack. Those were the rides I would learn so much from him. And Tom F., he just keeps on going. He has such a love for the sport. Just being out there and enjoying the weather, scenery, and conversation. I look at him sometimes and I can see him just taking it all in. Truly enjoying what that moment is offering him. Caroline, little Caroline, she so little. Doug and Scott I. used to tease that she wasn't real because me and Keri would talk about her and say maybe she'll come to a run or ride but she never did until last spring. She's this powerhouse, "You tell me I can't so I'm gonna" kind of person. Doug, fast Doug. He was there as I trained for Boston. Then he joined Vision Quest. My heart sank. I thought for sure our Moo Crew was losing him to the big bad corporate coaching service. But that wasn't who we lost Doug too. No, he didn't die. He's alive and well and living life to the fullest, literally. He fell in love and married his first love. How great is that! Scott I. - he's like the Tin Man, he has so much heart. Cares about everyone but silently. Watching over all of us making sure we are ok, and if he sees a problem or sees a way we can improve on something he lets us know. Never, ever negative. Only positive. Gil, happy Gil. Man, I don't think he's ever upset. He was telling me about the swim at LaPorte. It was my first time doing LaPorte and as we got close to the race site we could see the lake. "Don't let the fish nibbling on your toes bother you." He warned! "What?" I nervously responded. "Oh, come on Pam" he says to me - we're all God's creatures. He looks at life and racing in such a great way. Don't let that fool you tho, he's competitive. :) Tom R., I'm giggling just typing his name. You have to meet him to understand the giggle. He can find the humor in anything. Did I mention he's our club's treasure?:) There's Ken, he tells me he hates running and then runs a local 5k in under 20 minutes. Ok, who hates running and never runs and then does that? KEN! And then there is Dennis. He's taught me more during this training than I could have learned from reading any tri book. He has pushed me when I was ready to quit. He brings out the best competitive me there is. And did I mention that other than my family he's the only one I know who has the patience to put up with my never ending nervous sighing? He told me that on race day you stop for no one. Not even if they are crying, you don't stop you keep going. Well, if he's stopped I'll have to stop. He's never left me behind and there is no way I could leave him. On the other hand tho, we both know that the only place I'll see him is standing at the finish, with a big old grin on his face, as I cross it.
I've written a couple of closes for this blog and can't seem to find the right words - what do I want to say. I know I want my trimates, friends and family to know they will all be with me in spirit on Sunday. And Debs will probably be with me on the phone - "Is this a good time?", "Um no Debs, remember today's the day!" - "Oh, oh, oh, ok, I'll let you go, call me when you're done, love you." I want them to know how grateful I am and that I have learned something from each of them. Ugh! I can't think - this damn race has my head swimming in circles. Thank you, thank you for all you've given me this past year. Now, Madison, bring it on - cause I'm as ready as I'm gonna be.