Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Clean Slate

What is about that new calendar that you hang on the wall...or the new pages in your Franklin Covey planner that give such a sense of hope....of possibilities....of dreams that are just waiting to be realized. Those pages inspire me; they motivate me; they are fuel for a raging fire that is just waiting to be ignited at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31st.

A new year. I could use a New Year. Now, Im not saying that I didn't learn a lot from 2009....Lord knows I did...but there is something about turning that page and learning to write a new year number on your checks or type it in your emails that just makes me feel refreshed...

A clean slate...

If I could pick up that slate, there are just a few words I would write on it to describe me in 2010....




Devoted Wife

and the one I have been yearning for for almost 5 years now...


What are you writing on your clean slate??

Happy 2010 everyone!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The land of resolutions

Christmas is over and we are in that strange week between holidays where its hard to get a lot of work done. Some offices close during this week entirely. For is always the week to reflect on the year.

This year had its moments of triumph and pain. I overcame some fears and demons...and came up short in some endeavors. My heart is full with the great blessings I have been given...but I still am passionate about achieving those last two goals that have eluded me: achieving my goal weight....and an Ironman Finish.

So as I went out on my walk/run/stumble this morning in the cool Florida winter air, it gave me tons of time to think and ponder 2009. A smile crossed my lips as I remembered finishing the Amelia Island Half Ironman. No jellyfish, no DNF here...and a P.R. to go with a medal around my neck.

As I remember Ironman Florida, there are so many mixed emotions. I am proud that I actually made it to the start line healthy and up for the challenge of the day. There are many that don't make it that far. I am happy when I think about all the people who were cheering for me, praying for me and hoping that I would cross the finish line. I am blessed that people cared that much to track me on race day and for my friends to come and support me in my quest. I do still feel sadness that, once again, the Ironman Finish Line eluded me....and the moment I took my chip off for the official plays over and over in my mind.

If we didn't have the disappointments in our life, we would not be able to enjoy the victories to the fullest. I remember waking up the morning after Amelia Island and feeling that victory! I remember feeling strong and happy! As I head into a new year, I want to remember those victories...and those disappointments and have them fuel me through the months to come.

There are many people that don't believe in the Resolutions of a New Year. I am one of the people that does. I believe that setting the bar high and shooting for the stars will only enhance the richness of life. It would be easy to turn around and walk away from Ironman saying that I gave it my best and it is just beyond me...

But that's crap...

NOTHING is impossible. EVERYTHING is possible if you believe hard enough, work hard enough and give it 110% of your effort. I could name the people I have watched in past years that proved that to me just in the Ironman community: Team Hoyt, Sara Reinertsen, Brian Boyle and John Blais are just the first few that come to my mind and prove my point. This is possible.

2010 holds the promise of dreams realized. I can not just walk away from the bar that I have set and just live life in mediocrity. I will keep believing. I will keep dreaming. I will achieve two things this year: my weight loss goal...and my Ironman Finish.

Now do me a favor....when it gets really hard around ooohhh lets say, June, remind me of this post!!

Happy 2010 to everyone...

Friday, December 25, 2009

The blessings and joy of Christmas

Christmas routine for the last 5 years has been the same...I go to evening carols with my parents at at 5p and then to my brother's home with his family for Christmas Eve dinner. I would always come out of church and look up in the sky ... for thats where my husband would the pilot's seat getting people to their families but not being with his.

This year, we got lucky. Steve bid his December schedule and what to our wondering eyes should appear...Christmas Eve, Christmas Day AND New Years Eve...OFF. I could hardly catch my breath. My husband...home for the holidays.

We started this marriage 24 years ago as a military family. At that point, I knew that holidays with my husband would be rare...then he became a civilian and we enjoyed a number of years as a "normal family" with the holidays off. As he entered the aviation industry, the mindset returned to having holidays when we could..on the airline's schedule.

But tonight...and heart is so full. I picked my husband up at the airport and I cried. Its been so long. We missed church...but I think God will understand...I opened my Christmas present the moment my husband opened the car door.

My wish is that you too are getting to enjoy being with your family at Christmas and drinking in the happiness that comes with the season.

Merry Christmas everyone

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Watching a Dream Unfold...or slip from your fingers...

Amongst the hustle and bustle of a crazy holiday weekend, I set my watch alarm and my DVR to watch the epic event of my favorite sport...the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii.

Like the Super Bowl is to Football and the World Series is to baseball, "running Kona" is the pinnacle of Ironman Triathlon. To make it to "the show" is an honor. To finish it is something truly worth celebration. To miss the cut off in this competition is a heartache like no other in the sport of triathlon.

As I watched this drama unfold, I felt the exhilaration of the start. The pros talked about the 30 minutes before the gun goes off as the most frustrating time in the race. You just want to get started. I knew that feeling so well; that uneasiness in the pit of your stomach and the lump in your throat.

As I watched the gun go off and the mass move forward, I closed my eyes and I was in the water getting pushed and shoved and even moved forward by the mass of people. I was so relieved to be started towards my dream. The excitement in the show was so moving. Is it any wonder that this telecast spawns so many new triathletes. You want that feeling. You want that drive and vision. You want that victory.

But as I watched the end of the swim segment and the bike segment, I felt the heartache of two athletes: Kyle Garrett and Rudy Garcia-Tolson.

Kyle Garrett, cancer survivor and heart transplant patient misses the swim cut off by 7 seconds. As I watched this unfold, the tears rolled down my face and they just wouldn't stop.

But it wasn't until they showed Rudy Garcia-Tolson that the emotion of their day came to a climax. Rudy is a double amputee that can only handle a bike using his prosthetic legs and his glute muscles. As they stopped him at bike transition because he missed the bike cut off, Rudy was quite composed. He said he had given it everything he had and there was nothing more he could have done. His reaction reminded me of mine at mile 110 of the bike as I was stopped by the officials and my chip was removed. There were no tears....I knew I had done everything I could do on that need for emotion.

But on this December day, I realized that I had not fully worked through the emotion of letting that dream slip away. Watching someone else experience the same thing brought it all to a head and I finally DID cry...and I cried a lot. When you can feel the emotion and see it unfold in front of you instead of being in the midst of it, it is so powerful. I felt for Rudy...I felt for me.

I am happy to report that Rudy is now an Ironman. He completed Ironman Arizona a few weeks later.

My day is coming...My hurdles are different than Rudy's or Kyle's but we share that common win our own race in our own way. My hurdles seem so simple to others while to me they are a constant battle that I face every day.

No more tears. Im so ready for the new year, the new season, the new me, and the newest chapter of the journey. Im ready to surround myself with positive people and keep a coach with true vision. I am eager to be the person I know I can be: she is just hiding and being beaten down by addiction and lack of self esteem. If I can slay those demons...she will take charge.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A new name that I hope I live up to...

For years, I have studied this sport we call triathlon. Yes! Studied! I feel like this is an endevour that requires persistance and knowledge. Last week, I gain a little more knowledge after I got the chance of a lifetime.

Rewind back to Labor Day weekend and a drive to Panama City to train on the Ironman Bike Course. It was my birthday weekend and I made the decision to train instead of do something fun. I needed to fit everything in: a swim, long bike and a long run so I got a jumpstart on my journey to North Florida.

This,however, meant that I would not be sitting at my computer in anticipation of the class for USAT Level 1 Coaching Certification to open. In the past, I have sat at the computer and tried desperately to get one of the 40 seats offered for this training but could never get online in time to get a slot. As a favor to me, my business partner, Rick and his girlfriend Lisa, poised at their computer and watched as the seconds clicked by. 9am arrived and they began to type feveriously. The idea was to get me in first then get Rick's application submitted. As I drove, the phone was on speaker as I listened to Rick type as quickly as he could.

And appeared. Confirmation that I was registered. He then set to work on his application...

I was incredibly excited until I heard him say "You're in..but I'm not...its sold out."

DAMN IT!! Now I feel like a heel. My dear friend had done me a favor and he sacrificed his chance to get into the class to help me. Now thats a true friend. In the end, it worked out that Rick did not get into the class. Lisa got her vacation week and they traveled to Las Vegas for several days of fun while I went to class.

For 3 days, I sat in a conferenced a learned so much, I thought my head would explode. By day, I was taking notes and asking questions and by night, I was headed out for dinner and shows and the sights of the Las Vegas strip.

I was quite intimidated when I entered this class....but after introductions, I learned that people take this course for a variety of reasons. Some will use it just for their own knowledge. Some will use the information to coach privately while others are starting teams and working with existing Tri clubs. As for me, I want to put together a program of beginner triathletes with the boot camp.

It was fun, informative and exhausting. I have a take home exam to complete and then I will be certified as a Level 1 Coach. I got on the plane home with the sense of accomplishment. This life is full of exciting adventures to come.

I came home to a mound of mail and an office that looks like a bomb went off. Between decorating, presents, parties, training and hiring new people for our boot camp, I have hardly had a moment to write. I hope this blog entry finds you well in this crazy season!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Award....

Last night I attended a holiday social for Team in Training for the Nation's Triathlon Team for 2009 and 2008. I was incredibly excited to see all my friends who had run the race in the last two years. Fun stuff!!

As I arrived at one of our favorite BBQ restaurants and watering hole, I noticed that my parents were sitting at one of the tables. My parents?? Here?? That's odd. Then my middle brother arrived. Hmmmm....something is up!!! Then my business partner, Rick and his girlfriend Lisa walked in. Now I KNOW something is up.

So we talked and caught up with all our triathlon addicts. We talked about the 2009 season and what was in store for 2010. People tip toed a bit around Ironman but finally started to ask about it and discuss it when they realized that I wasn't laid to waste by the DNF. Sure, I would love to be walking around with an M-dot necklace around my neck (I promised Mom I wouldn't get a tattoo), but...there are more adventures to be had on the way to this Ironman goal.

We ordered dinner and I was still perplexed...and all became clear.

My very first Team in Training coach, Coach Clint Carbonneau, got up and proposed a toast to the entire team and wished us all a great holiday. He then asked me to come up to the front of the room where he pulled out a two page "speech". Yikes...what is this about??

And here some of the speech went:

"We gathered here because all of us feel you deserve to be noticed as someone with a huge heart and lots of Iron Effort. I think we were all online, or texting each other on Nov. 7th when you were off on your Ironman adventure. I believe all of our hearts dropped when we heard you were pulled at mile 110 on the bike. I know I received 3 text messages from 3 different people telling me of your DNF.

I believe I am speaking for all of us here when I say that we could care less if you received that IRonman medal or not. In our hearts and minds, you received that Ironman medal a long time ago. The Ironman medal is not large enough and does not encompass what you should receive. The efforts you put forth in training and more importantly helping others, is what all of us here see in you.

Melissa, there is nothing you can not do as we have all seen, if only half the people in the world had the heart and gave the efforts you do day in and day out, we would all be better off.

So we came up with this award we all wanted to share with you and the title really tells it all: The Iron Heart Award.

Thank you for sharing so much of your heart, your experiences and your friendship with all of us."

Inside a beautiful Purple Bag (of course it was purple..its Team in Training right??)...was a glass trophy...with a swimmer, biker and runner. It reads: Lifetime Iron Heart Award Presented to Melissa Daly 2009

To say I was stunned doesn't really cover it. I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach like I do right before the gun goes off in a race. My husband squeezed my hand. My father hugged me. My mother smiled and wiped away a tear. My brother gave me a highfive. My team stood and applauded.

And that 380lb woman who still lives in my head took a backseat for just a moment in time....and the triathlete, the volunteer, the fundraiser, the cancer fighter, the Ironman dreamer walked forward....just for a moment. So many emotions and so much positive energy: Wow. How do you describe the feeling of true caring? I am sitting here crying just writing it all down. What amazing people I have gotten to know in this journey of mine. How blessed could I be???

So the question was asked: Will you try a 3rd time? As my parents stared at me, my brother grabbed my shoulder. He knew. He knew I can't let a dream die. He told me a few days ago that, if Ironman was my heart's desire, then I better go get it done before its too late. "Don't let your shot pass you by."

So I explained to all of them that my top priority was to lose 40 pounds. If I could do that before May 8th, 2010, Hector and I would sit down and consider an Ironman run in 2010...but NO Ironman would be attempted again at this weight! They were all thrilled!! Some of them told me they were considering an Ironman in 2011..something they had never even dreamed of before Team in Training!! Isn't that a wonderful thing!!

As I set the trophy in my workout room, I gave it a cherished, special spot so I could see it from my treadmill. As I was walking out, I noticed the empty spot left on the wall. My walls are filled with photos, jerseys and medals from the last 10 years of this journey but there is one spot on one wall that remains blank...

It won't be blank forever...just for now...just a few more hurdles to overcome....