Getting to the starting line of the Ironman World Championships is no small feat and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of many people. When I look back on the experience my mind always gravitates back to the friends and family that helped me get there. It really takes a village to raise and Ironman and I would like to highlight my village.

My Coach: Chuckie I can’t even begin to explain how valuable Chuckie has been. If this Ironman was a game, Chuck would be getting some large trophy for Most Valuable Player. He took on the intense, and goal oriented girl that I am and he did one of the things that he does He didn’t shy away from coaching me on the mental side of the sport, or the emotional side, or the lifestyle side, or the gearing side, or the recovery side. He was in one word, my “advisor”. From training, to tires, to flu shots, I asked his advice on everything and I always received a knowledgable, well thought out response on the issues I brought to him. He went several steps beyond that and rode hundreds of miles with me, and drove support or rode his mountain bike while I ran numerous times. He sat at the track for hours talking to me every lap while I ran circles. He gave me bottles when I forgot mine, and let (insisted) me use his shower about 100 times so I didn’t have to drive home smelly. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him this year, and I will be very sad when he and Angela depart for warmer weather in Arizona in a few weeks. I pray to the triathlon gods that he will agree to continue coaching me for years to come.

My Husband: Troy Few people have a significant other in their lives that respects and accepts them 100%. I have that in Troy. He not only supports the triathlon lifestyle, but he considers himself an active part of my training. The word “support” doesn’t really even hit the mark, he is so much more. He helps me balance the triathlon budget in a stress free way. He watches Annie at a moments notice when I’ve missed a training session and need to make it up, or I have so many training sessions that I’m not even sure how to get them all in logistically. He appreciates my need for tons of pricy gear. He plans trips, he schleps luggage, he builds bikes, he changes tires, he washes oddles and oddles of laundry. When I am exhausted he tucks me into bed at night, he makes meals, he drives with me while I ride or run. He’s simply “there” for me in every way you can imagine, and it’s all with a smile and an “I love you hun”. All he asks, is that I’m happy and fulfilled.

My Training Partners: PIC Michelle, Angela, Tyler My training was very focused this year and there were times when I trained a fair amount on my own. PIC Michelle has been my shoulder to cry on, and a fast wheel to hang onto when I needed it. She’s one of the only people that I know that I can be myself 100% with. She gets me and is my sister in many ways. I love traveling to races with her and I’m so excited for her Ironman debut in a few weeks. Angela, while she is so fast that sometimes I barely see her, has been such a bright light in my life this year. She’s a triathlon goddess that I look up to. She continues to amaze me, and has been nothing but too sweet all year to me. My friend Tyler went above and beyond this year to hook up with me during my easy sessions to make sure that I was still having fun. He constantly checked in with me during the big weeks to make sure my head was above water.

My Kid Watchers: Sandy, Debbie, and Hilary Sandy deserves my Ironman medal. I would not have been able to do this without her. She would pick up Annie from preschool along with her daughter, run across town to pick up her son and then watch all three of them until Troy or I could pick her up. She did it every week and all the while her husband Richard was training for Kona as well (Richard did great, and came in just over 15 hours). Annie would cry when we would pick her up because she didn’t want to leave. Annie just loves Sandy, I don’t know how I’ll ever repay her. Debbie lets me call her at a moments notice and Hillary was sweet to offer her house to Annie when I was headed in the Boulder direction.

My Family: Helen, Eric, Roger, Marla, Norm, Grace, T, Kyle My parents have supported me this year in so many ways. They have traveled to races, hosted my impromptu solo training camps complete with day care (for one), been my official photographers, helped me purchase gear, rented condos, sent Troy chinese food, and called endlessly to check on me. Troys parents have supported me as well this year traveling all the way to Kona, watching Annie in a pinch, and letting Troy and I crash their house for training weekends away from home. Norm, Grace, T and Kyle made the trip from Oahu to Kona to cheer for me and the trip would not have been complete without them.

My Sponsors: Trakkers, Goal0, Saucony, Mix1, Justin's Nut butter, Nathan, NUUN, and TriSwim, First Endurance, and the Punk Rock Racing Team Charlie and Carole with Trakkers have really made my year epic. They shower support on me with emails, texts, and offers of help. Goal0 congratulated me on my Kona slot with support that helped me pay that steep entry fee. I eat A LOT of Justin’s Nut Butter and Mix1 and both of them deliver all I can eat right to my doorstep every month. When I send out email updates they always write back immediately with uplifting responses. They have helped me this year more than they know. Saucony has been divine as well. I have gone through more shoes than the average triathlete this season with multiple Ironmans and a 100 mile run race. They have made sure my feet stayed happy along the way. Richard at First Endurance has answered all my nutritional questions and I can say that this year I have had outstanding nutritional success in all my races with their products. NUUN is in my everyday water glass and hangs out for most all rides. Nathan made sure I was taken care of, and they just make the most bomb proof products for toting around your nutrition! Lastly, and they aren’t really even a “sponsor”, more just me mooching, but I have to give a huge shout out to Punk Rock Racing. Ron has been so thoughtful and he’s one of the best things that happened to me this year. When me found out I was dressing warm for Kona, he sent over sweatshirts and hats. I love him!

My Team: Trakkers What would I do without my teamies? These guys and gals single handedly keep the comment count on my blog high. They send me notes, emails, comments, tweets of support daily, literally daily. When we race together they are my family away from home. Without this team my triathlon experience would not be nearly as rewarding.

My Friends Where do I even start here? So many of you constantly take interest in my journey, and that my friends, is what makes my journey so sweet. The notes and emails of encouragement I get from you all is out of this world. It’s never ending. If I’m down, you pick me up, if I’m up, you pat me on the back. My triathlon good luck angels: Keith, Adam, Bree. My tell it to me like it is pumpkin carver Hillary. My inspiration Amy. I love you all and hope I can impact your lives as much as you enhance mine.

With my first Ironman World Championship under my belt some of you are asking “What’s Next”? Well, first off I need to talk to Chuckie. That’s goal number one. However, about 24 hours after being in Kona Troy said “I hope we do this again next year”. After I finished, all I could think was “I want to do that again”. So, it will be a goal of mine to get back to that island. 15th in my age group is awesome, but with just one year of Chuckie coaching under my belt, I think there is more in me. I think he can get more out of me with more time, and I would love to have that opportunity again. Some have asked if I will turn PRO. That’s a definite “no” for now. If any of you know of Tim Hola, I consider his journey to be one I would enjoy.

I am signed up for Ironman Arizona in about 4 weeks. We’ll continue to watch my recovery and then we’ll make a decision on that race soon, but you can guess which way I'm leaning. I really enjoy the Ironman distance, and I look forward to many years of racing to come.

And now, my Kona Video, enjoy it! Let me know what you think!