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I've been thinking about this blog post for a long long time. Several months ago, on a long and lonely run, my brain was drifting as it likes to do and I was thinking about what it would feel like to meet my goals in Kona. Whether it was an AG win, or a bowl, both outcomes I dreamed about daily, how on earth would I thank everyone who helped me get to that result? I had this idea that it would be cool to cut my bowl up into a ton of pieces and mail one piece to each and every person whom I thought helped me get there. I liked that idea a lot. 0813_093526

Then it happened, a race result that I had envisioned and fantasized about for years, 2nd in the world, and well, that bowl will remain intact at this point in time, I sleep with it, so yea, it's not getting chopped up! BUT, I want to at least publicly (via the old bloggyblog) acknowledge those whom I wanted to send chunks out to. It really would have been mere slivers, because I have had so much help.

So this post is a really really long one. Maybe the longest one I have ever written. But to me, it's the most important.

First off, I would have had his chunk of bowl dipped in gold and framed. My husband Troy believed in me much more than I believed in myself for a great many years. I have asked him no less than 1000 times "Do you think I can really do it" and the answer was always "Absolutely." He helped me fund this crazy lifestyle, tucked me in, fed me, helped me, and reminded me over and over "You are a great mom." Thank you Troy, on so many levels, love you.

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Annie, my daughter, is the whole reason I got into this sport in the first place and she was just a little 4 year old munchkin when I first went to Kona. She is an A++ traveler, and has never once complained about waking up at 4am for a race. She's given me a wide birth and cheered and screamed for me the whole way through. I am so lucky to have such a great daughter. Thank you Annie, for being the special little girl that makes my world turn.

IN THE BOOKS!

Both my parents, Eric and Helen, and Troys parents, Roger and Marla, have supported me in various fashions from the beginning of my Kona journey. From letting me stay with them during large training blocks, to letting me vent and eat all their food, they have been there through the years. Both dads have taken oodles of photos, most the race photos you have seen have been from one of my dads. They have taken interest in my progression and success and I thank them for that. My extended family was also a huge part of my success over the last 5 years, my Uncle Norm came over from Oahu for all 5 of my Kona races and became a 70.3 finisher along the way (Honu!). Grace, T and Kyle were out on the course cheering for years and putting sponsor tattoos all over themselves! Uncle Kirk and Aunt Melissa have checked in often and sent huge cheers and good jobs throughout, as well as Uncle Tom and Aunt Katherine. Many kisses and hugs go to my grandparents as well, Donna, LeRoy, Gloria, and Bob (who has passed) were always sending love notes to tell me good job, thank you!

A huge thanks goes to Michelle, my PIC, my BFF for all the love and trust through these years. She's been my girl through it all. 3 times we started Kona together, not to mention countless other races and travel trips. I feel most comfortable when I travel to a race with her, and training with her all these years has made it worth it. I don't think I would still be in the sport if it wasn't for her. Thanks PIC, love you, and really, thank you!

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So, I gotta admit, that when I first went to Kona I just wanted to have a great race and experience the hoopla! I actually didn't even find the expo that first year, I thought the stuff at the King Kam was all there was. The first time I even saw past .01 miles on Alii was when I ran it on race day. I was a newbie. I came home that year and I remember Chuckie writing in a comment in my blog the line

"Kona 2011: AG World Champion."

That was really it. I read that comment and that was all it took for that goal to stick in my mind. Somebody, whom I admired, saying they thought I could get there, that was it. Little did I know how much of my life it would take. Many times I wanted to give up on that goal, so many excuses along the way. I can honestly say I had no idea how hard of a goal it was that I set in that instant. No idea.

And as I look back on the journey to what ended up being "near World Champion" I immediately think of the coaches that I've had along the way. The first coach I had was Steve and he taught me so much. My bike handling skills are pretty sharp for a girl (haha) and that came from him. Plus he instilled a never give up, never complain, never show your cards mentality in me and that has come in handy so many times through the years. He also didn't want me to go the Ironman route, and thus helped me know what I was passionate about, and off I went down the Ironman route. What I thought was a difference in opinion turned out to really help me know what  I wanted. That's well worth a chunk of bowl!

Chuckie V made a big impact on me, and he really birthed the bowl goal. I learned heaps from him, especially about how to build an Ironman athlete from the ground up, because that's what he had to do with me. I still have yet to laugh as hard on a bike as I did with him, and he really spoiled me when it came to hands on coaching, riding thousands of miles with me in prep for 2 Konas. He's a bit off the grid now, but I still have such fond memories of those years. I would send him an extra large slice of the bowl, which he would probably drop on some long distance trail and return it to the earth. Thank you Chuck!

I had a brief year with Dirk A in San Diego and I still refer to some of his bike sessions today. I don't think I'll ever forget that German accent on the phone reminding me over and over to be patient. I thank him for that message.

Then I found Muddy. I approached him at 30,000 feet up and knew I had to try to get coached by him. I would send Muddy a really large chunk of bowl, in fact, I bought him a bowl at Crate and Barrel and sent it to him. He adjusted my training to align with Kona. He's watched the race in Kona for 20+ years and he's had oodles of athletes race there and he knows what fitness and function the race requires. He was able to really hone my body and mind into the girl that was able to perform when it mattered. Mostly he got me to let go of the tight tight grip I had on my goals. He got the fun back into things, and he surrounded me with people who supported me in a big way. Muddy taught me to love triathlon, but not to need triathlon. I learned that it can be a vehicle for fun, and hard work, but that I'm so much more than my results. This really opened me up as a person. It made all the difference. He'll be my buddy Muddy for life, thank you Mud!

Also a huge thank you to all the coaches/technician/fitters/massagers I have worked with along the way. I've gotten tid bits through the years from Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Dennis Mellon, Paul Godinez, Brian Stover, Mike Mann, Nick Levine, Josh Shadle, Karlyn Pipes, Jenny Schumm, Mario Fraioli, Scott Geffree, Byron Thomas, and Steve Portenga.

Somewhere inbetween family and coaching are a few special people that have really made an impact on me reaching my goals. A special thanks to Andrea Watkins for really helping me dig into my inner self. When I think of strength, I think of you. Hillary and Ben Saunders, thank you for always being my unconditional family, and lastly thank you Coach Barbara Olsen who does so much for so many of us, including loaning out the person who is most special to her.

My family and coach got me to that line this year, but I would have been naked had it not been for my sponsors, both past and present. I've really navigated the waters of sponsorship these last five years and so many individuals have stepped in at various times to help make my training and racing a bit easier.

Charlie Patton with trakkers (and Rev3) was one of the first people who gave this girl a kit and said "race and have fun." He's been so supportive and feels like a family member. He also introduced me to many amazing people in the Trakker/Rev3 family that helped with love and support through the years. All my old Trakkers peeps, thank you! Sharpie, thank you for your love.

Kompetitive Edge sponsored me for several years and I learned so much about the industry and the products within it from them. A huge thank you to Jared Runyon for his therapy sessions and all the great gear. His text was one of the first after Kona this year even though he isn't associated with KE any more. Thank you as well to Ryan, and Brandon through the years and for all the help you provided.

This past year I was sponsored by Tribella, a women's triathlon shop in Denver. I feel like I have finally landed at "home." James and Liz are so unbelievably "on the ball" and my bike runs like butter after TLC from James. They helped with shoes and clothes, and suits, and anything I needed this year, always supporting me when I needed something on a short time frame. Thank you Tribella, it's nice to have a permanent home triathlon shop.

Its hard to say that I am sponsored by Quintana Roo. I really feel more like I am QR family member. My first year in Kona I wasn't on a QR, but I was for the next 4 and I've just gotten faster. But it's been more than that. They are at every Ironman and the booth just becomes my home away from home when I'm at a race. They are my family, they have looked out for me since day 1, and I will be with them as long as they will have me. The family that races together stays together. Thank you QR, love you all! Mac, Brad, Trea, and Peter, thank you for believing in me.

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Ron with Punk Rock Racing has really hung with me through all these years. He's taken more than a few teary phone calls, and still keeps shipping me gear. Thank you Ron for your support, you've had my back through it all, it's meant so much.

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I've had a few nutrition sponsors through the years and I really would send each and every one a bowl sliver for their help and awesomeness. Arshad at Amrita, Robert at First Endurance, and Stacey at Osmo have all helped me craft many a nutrition plan along the way. I don't think the perfect plan exists, but they have increased my knowledge through the years ten fold. As has Dina Griffin with Fuel4mance who really educated me on metabolic efficiency, game changer, thank you! I also want to thank HolisticGuru (she has a name, it's Christine) for the work she did with me as well. I still think about yin and yang foods. Justin's Nut Butter and Love Grown Foods helped in those early years as well.

Also, I want to give a big thank you to a future sponsor. Haha! Hailey, and Kebby and Reg at Coeur have treated me like a Coeur athlete all year long, and Jess, you too my dear, thank you! I've really felt included/loved/supported this year from your company and I thank you for that. You make the best sports bras, and I can't wait to fall in love with all the other products. Thanks for making me feel special in Kona.

There were a lot of people that trained with me knowing that I was gunning for Kona. I've had the best friends and training partners in this sport and I've made a lifetime of friends spinning around on a bike. I really valued the fun I have had with all of them.

The brothers from another mother I have picked up along the way: Anthony Beeson, you'll always be my big brother, Gui Dzwerik, you'll always be my little brother. Jim Lubinski, I still laugh about all the slurpies we drank in Tahoe, and Joaquin, thank you for lighting that candle.

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My current and past athletes have been so supportive through the years, have had their schedules finished late, and always been there for lots of pre Kona good luck wishes. HUGE THANK YOU: Terry K, Chris B, Jen S (both of you), Jonathan V, Kelly C, Paul H, Prianka N, James the Cowboy, Emily S, Kristi McE, Danielle Od, Gretchen P, Katie I, Ellen W, Michelle B, Michael I, Page W, EmmyK, Jody M, Audra A, Ali V. And a super duper special thank you to Mikki and Mo, I should refund your coaching money because you support me more than I do you at times.

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Thank you to some special dude training partners and friends who have kept me laughing: Brian Brode, Tim Everds, Scott Binder, Wayde Jester, Terry Nugent, John Woolley, Nick Baldwin, Chad Holderbaum, Tyler Walton, Peter Atwater, Larry Mason, Keith Negri, Paul Thomas, Sean English, and Matt Miller.

I have to thank my family of training partners over at the Muddy House. They kick my butt and have made me strong! Thank you Muddy Crew: Rob D (really Rob, you have gone above and beyond) , Mike B (thank you for Kona and Tahoe) , Dan (we've had some great chats), Alli G (my girl), Brynje Enderle (thank you B), Dave M (I did it Dave), Christen D, Jen H, Ciaran (there are no words, luv you), Anne T, Erich W, Matt McD (and Marni too), Al (my homecoming king), Chuck B, Steven T, Damie R, Mary T, Eileen H, Deirdre H, Andrew F, and Reyna. I could not have earned that bowl without you all!

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And finally, thank you to all the KICK BUTT women I have met in this sport who have inspired me to no ends. They truly are "my people" and I am so thankful to have awesome girl power relationships with each and every one of them: Angela Naeth (huge thank you Ang, xoxo), Mimi Winsberg, Nicki Leo (it's in you), Jen Schaffner, Erin Trail, Christine Gould (kisses), Katy Blakemore, Angela Bancroft, Nicole Yost, Jordan Blanco, Laura Mount, Laura Trimble, Liz and Bern Dornom (go twins), Gloria Petruzzelli, Beth Shutt, Christy Williams, Kim Schwabenbauer, Katie Thomas, Kayla Kielar, Kimberly Shank, Christine Scott, Bree Wee, Jessica Vitcenda, Jenny Harrison, Gaye Beckman, Rachel Ross, Beth Tennant, Susan Williams, Helen Cospolich, Donna Dewick, Bine Trujillo, Hana Sykorova, Sarah Jarvis, Kelly Williamson, Sam Mazer, Meredith Kessler, Jocelyn Cornman, Beth Gerdes, Michelle Orgill, Kirsten Smith, Melody Serra, Lauren Barnett, Hillary Biscay, Mary Eggers, Michelle Simmons, Wendy Ingraham, Libby Bergman, Malia Crouse, Nancy Scott, Kacie Darden, SheriAnne Nelson, Brittany Warly, Sarah Piampiano, Katie Kyme, Randi Strand, Kendra Lee, Jenna Gruben, Tawnee Prazak, Patricia Walsh, Haley Chura, Christine Kenney, Doreen DeRoss, Heidi Lueb, Kendra Goffredo, Whitney Garcia, Kathy Alfino, Ashley Johnson, Andrea Hopkin, and Amy Farrell. Thank you ladies, keep inspiring our future girls!! Keep kicking butt!

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And, if this was the Oscars, I would have been kicked off the stage long ago. This process and journey has been amazing and I'm excited to go through the "what's next" phase. If I could do it all over again, I would, I definitely would, so the what's next phase really just involves finding the next thing that deeply stirs my heart (and scares me to death). If there is a really scary goal that you have in your head, I would say to you, go for it! Shove that goal down somewhere deep in your heart where success is the only way to make it surface and resolve. I have lost friends along the way and I have gained friends. I have pissed off people, and empowered people. But that is life, and it's messy when done best. All I can say, is to those of you who played a part, I thank you for making me the woman I have become.

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