What a year, of incredible lows and amazing highs.
Wow what a year it has been developing the IRONMUMS ambassadorships, when I first thought of the idea never in my wildest dreams did I think that so many talented ladies would apply to be the IRONMUMS first Ambassador. Choosing just one became impossible and Belinda's story really stood out to me. We have never met in person but have had many of conversations over the phone, Belinda what you have gone through this year has been incredible. Your determination, your strength and courage to beat the odds has truly been inspirational. I have never met someone quiet like you. You have shared and trusted me with some very personal moments in your life which I think has made coaching you all the more special. Thank you for applying all those months ago and for being such a dedicated ambassador.
It’s been an absolute honour to have been chosen to be an ambassador for such an inspiring & amazing group of Mums. Not in a million years did I think I had a chance at being selected for this role but to share it with my fellow Ambassador Lee & the rest of the Ironmums community has made the last 12 months one that I will treasure forever.
This journey has been the hardest 12 months of my life. There has been some amazing high’s and some extreme lows. A constant rollercoaster of emotions from one day to the next. I have learnt so much about myself & realised how much I didn’t know about triathlon. Not only was the training harder than anything I could have ever imagined but fitting it all in around normal family & work life has been a struggle. Keeping “The Kaiser” family happy & spending enough quality time with them while fitting in your hours upon hours of training can certainly test the limits of what they see as acceptable. There were certainly many tears & fights in our household, that’s for sure. But it’s finding the balance that works for everyone that keeps it all ticking along.
My journey started under less than ideal circumstances. I was caring for my Mum who was dying of cancer. I told Nac that my Mum was sick in my application, but I kinda left out exactly how sick she was. I knew that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I needed someone who knew what they were doing to help me and applying for this Ambassadorship was a way of achieving this.
When my Mum passed away 3 months after my Ambassadorship had started, I was completely lost. I had contemplated calling Nac & chucking it all in. Nothing mattered anymore. My goals just seemed silly and insignificant. When you watch someone you love die, it changes you forever & the world just seems to stop.
But deep down I knew my goals weren’t silly & insignificant & even though Mum couldn’t understand my love of triathlon I knew that she wouldn’t want me to chuck it all away. Mum was one of the bravest & strongest women I have ever known. Not once did she complain about her cancer. She was certainly pissed off about it, but she never once felt sorry for herself. She made the most of the time she had & she lived a great life. I owed it to her to keep going.
Two months after Mum had passed away, I had my first Olympic Distance Triathlon in Mooloolaba. I went in knowing that I could finish it & I was nervous but ready. I got to meet & race with my fellow Ambassador Lee & loved every minute of it. I hadn’t raced a triathlon for almost 20 years and you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. It was amazing, even when it poured down rain on the bike leg. I had a renewed love of this sport I’d put on the back burner to raise my kids. The only downside to this race was no bling at the finish line. I really do think that everyone deserves something shiny at the end after all that hard work. Regardless, I left Mooloolaba with a skip in my step and a new goal to focus on.
My big goal race was set for August. It was Sunshine Coast 70.3. This one scared the crap out of me. It would keep me awake at night or wake me up with my heart racing. I would be thinking about doing each leg of the race & crossing that finish line. I’d trained my butt off & I was ready to go. Months & months of being tired & feeling like a rat on a wheel and having a sore bum from that bloody bike seat were about to be put to the test.
But for some cruel and unknown reason, I got sick the night before race day. I’d been up all night being sick and had not one minute of sleep. I was exhausted, dizzy & dehydrated. There was only one decision that could be made. I didn’t want to accept it & I kept questioning it. I cried and cried in my husband’s arms as I knew that my health was more important & I couldn’t risk making myself worse. When you have a kidney disease sometimes the decisions are made for you. If I had raced in that condition, I risked causing more damage to my already failing kidneys.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make & I struggled with it. The A race that I had dreamt of & worked so hard for was now not going to happen. I sat on the balcony of our apartment feeling like I was in a dream & watching all these amazing competitors living their dream. I left Mooloolaba deflated & feeling worthless. I felt like I had been cheated and I had let everyone who had supported me down, especially my coach, my family & my friends. I was guttered, angry & frustrated. Why did this happen?? Why me??
I went through all the emotions to try & find some sort of acceptance with what had happened. But I just couldn’t accept what had happened to me, & I needed to find some closure. Nac had suggested doing a mock 70.3 a few days later but I wasn’t interested. I was still not feeling myself. But after about 10 days I started to feel much better physically & mentally & I decided that it was time to finish what I had started. I messaged coach & said it’s on, let’s do it.
So, I went out on a Friday morning & completed my 70.3 all by myself. I took in every moment, paced myself and got myself to the end. Oh yes it was bloody hard & bloody hot, but I got it done!! I cried as I stopped my watch at the finish & let all the emotions of the past 12 months wash over me. I thought of Mum & all the training I had done to get me to the end. I had proven to myself that I could finish a 70.3 under cut off time & not be picked up by the swag wagon!!
A couple of months have now passed since finishing my 70.3. I’ve had some time to recover & wrap my head around it all. I’m not sure what my goals are for next year yet. I would really love to complete my 70.3 goal in a race setting. There’s still a part of me that feels like I haven’t quite finished what I set out to do. Maybe it’s the bling that still gets me. But the body & mind are not quite ready to jump back on the pain train yet & I have time to plan out my races for next year & who knows where & what I will do. I’m currently packing up my house & moving to Toowoomba. So look out ladies, I’ll be in need of some new training buddies!! I’m happy for now to just fluff around a bit until my path becomes clear. And yes, I am doing a lot of fluffy training!! But that’s ok.
The most important thing that I’ve taken away from my Ambassadorship was finding out who I really am. The reasons behind why I do what I do. For me it’s strength & resilience. You just never know what’s around the corner so enjoy life while you can & do the things you enjoy. My Mum was a strong women & through this journey I’ve discovered her strength is in me. No matter what life throws at me, no matter how many times I get knocked down I will always get back up again & have another crack at it. Triathlon has shown me how strong I can be physically & mentally. And this journey has helped me grow as a person. And it’s not over yet!!
Triathlon is certainly not an easy sport. Training for 3 different sports is hard & takes up a lot of time, and you feel so guilty for taking so much time for yourself & sometimes missing out on things with the ones you love. But all the hard work & sacrifice it’s so worth it.
There are so many amazing Mums in this sport & I am always inspired by the way we support & encourage each other on those journeys. I feel so blessed that this opportunity has brought some incredible people into my life.
I have loved every minute of my time as an Ambassador for Ironmums & I am sad that this part of my journey has ended. I have grown as a person & as an athlete. I want to wish Tania & Jodie all the very best for their Ambassador journey. You will love it, it’s a fantastic ride!! I’m looking forward to seeing where the year takes you & sharing in your achievements. I wanted to congratulate Lee on an outstanding year. Wow lady you have certainly done yourself proud. You have inspired me & everyone in this community.
And finally, I wanted to thank Naomi. Yes, I’m doing it!!! Thank you for choosing me, for believing in me, for changing my training plan constantly, for being there when I needed some advice & support, for our chats, for always answering all my silly questions and for giving me a kick up the butt when I was being a princess!! But most importantly, thanks for being my friend. I look forward to more chats & plenty of butt kicking from you in the future.