Monday, October 25, 2010

And now..It's a family affair

The Women's Triathlon at Moss Park on Saturday was a special day for me in a number of ways. First, and most importantly, it was my sister in law, Barbara Yergey's return to the sport of triathlon after getting married and having 3 amazing kids with my brother David. Barbara has always kept herself fit but left triathlon behind to focus on being the incredible mother that she is!! I arrived at Moss Park to find her excited and nervous all wrapped up in the same emotion. Barb had been very focused in her training and I knew she would do well...

For me, it was special because it was the first time in 11 years that I had a family member (let alone TWO family members) besides my sweet husband attending one of my races. My parents came to my very first Danskin Triathlon at Walt Disney World in 2000 and have never attended another race. My mother exclaimed at the finish line that she never wanted to see me that "Dirty, Sweaty or Tired ever again in her life." They came to Panama City for the Ironman in 2009 but refused to come to the start line or transition area to see me race. They were simply there to "take me home if I needed to be hospitalized" and nothing more.

So this sprint triathlon took on a whole new meaning to me. My brother would be in the crowd cheering. I had not trained for this race so I was concerned. How would I do??? My swim has suffered since losing weight believe it or not. Im not as buoyant as I use to be with 30 pounds off my body (hey...fat floats...what can I tell you) as the gun went off, I knew my swim would be slow...but I was consistent, focused and did well on my sighting. I came out of the water with the same time I had several months ago.

Into transition and there is my brother screaming for me. Don't get me wrong, I have been so incredibly blessed with amazing friends who get up at the crack of dawn and come to my races to cheer me on. Several have traveled to Ironman and made an extraordinary weekend of it including cooking, making signs for the bike course and just being supportive...but my brother. Wow!! I know he was there for his wife...but I just felt..different. I mounted up and headed out with a special type of determination. I wanted to do well .....

It became a game to see how many people I could pass. Let's face it. Im not going to pass people on the run...but on a bike...Im a monster. I love the feel of the gears, the wind, and even the pain in my quads. I love seeing the police officers on the course and thanking them for their time. I enjoy cheering on others as I pass and reminding them that Ill see them again as they pass me on the run. I returned from the bike 2 minutes faster than my last race and bounded into transition feeling pretty strong.

Its on the run that the lack of training always catches up with me. I ran/walked the 3 mile course...but knew this run time would not be stellar. As I made the turn for the finish, I could hear my brother and Barb cheering and this wave of emotion came over me. I didn't show it on the outside but inside I was happy. family was supportive ...

I was so excited for Barb and her finish. wanna talk about someone with talent. In her first race, on a hybrid bike she took first place in her age group. I was thrilled!! My sister in law was taking home hardware.

At the awards ceremony, we took lots of pictures and exchanged lots of hugs. They had to head off to meet up with their daughters and enjoy the rest of their day so I didn't want to keep them. I got second in Athena...I probably would have done better if I had a little training under my belt. My brother David was walking to his car when heard my name called and came rushing back to the ceremony...

"Why didn't you tell me you got second" he asked...

"Because today its all about Barb and a new triathlete in the making " I told him...

He took some pictures and gave me a hug....and said the one thing I haven't heard from my family about my racing...."Im proud of you"

These things are really small...but to me...they are huge. I don't NEED my family's approval to pursue this dream...but I gotta tell sure does make me feel good inside knowing that at least one of my family understands along with my sweet hubby that this is my passion...even if I don't possess the talent my sister in law does. Can you imagine if we put her on a road or tri bike?? Oh my!!!

It was a great I will remember for a long, long time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where in the world is Melissa Daly

It's been more than 3 months since my last blog entry which is so not like me.
Blogging is cheap therapy and gets all those crazy thoughts that float around my
head down on digital paper. For me, it is a record of the journey I still face
and the beautiful, rewarding, painful and disappointment moments in this quest
for Ironman.

My life in the last months has been somewhat removed from the world of triathlon
and a bit more focused on things near and dear to me. Go back a few entries in
my blog and you will note the 10 weeks of my summer focused on treating my
eating disorder. In that time I lost 30 pounds. I am approaching two months at
home away from treatment and have kept the weight off. It has been a struggle
as old habits will often creep back into your life when you have worked to
create new ones....but I have been consistent... Definitely not perfect but
very consistent.

I also had the opportunity to travel to Europe for 10 glorious days with 4 of my
dearest friends and with my sweet hubby. We visited 5 countries in 9 days (
Spain, Italy,France, Vatican City and Monaco) and celebrated our 25th wedding
anniversary. This year my husband and I also attended (or are about to attend)
our 25th college class reunions...another special milestone in our lives.

In this non Ironman year I have also had the honor of helping my parents plan
their 5th trip around the world. As they enter into their 80's, it is heart
warming and exciting to watch them continue to enjoy the one passion they have
pasted on to me...exploring the world. I use to tell people I spent 20 years as
a travel agent to keep track of my constantly moving parents... And this year, I
got to revisit that feeling.

2010 also brought on my first major injury in over 10 years of triathlon. A torn
meniscus and a floating piece of cartilage in my left knee took me out of racing
in April but I didn't stay out for long. 2 weeks after surgery, I did the swim
leg of the Gulf Coast Triathlon in a 3 person relay and slowly worked my way
back into racing with the completion of The Nations Triathlon with a personal
record. Thanks to Dr. Susan Ott for fixing my knee and getting back in the game.

Life without Ironman felt foreign for awhile. Let's face it.. It has been the
focus of a good part of my world for 3 years now but the break has help me to
recharge, refocus, renew and resurrect this life goal. At the end of 2009 and
the ever so close missed bike cut off at Ironman Florida, I was emotionally
burned out. There were several friends and family ( including my dear parents)
who pleaded with me to let this dream die. My mother to this day states that
Ironman is a "man's sport" and a lady has no business attempting such as this...
But ....if you're a triathlete, you understand..... The call of the finish line
is simply too great..

As I sit on this 9 hour flight home from Barcelona, my sabbatical is now over. I
have spent my year focused on husband, family and getting myself into a better
physical and emotional place. I have achieved many of my goals for this year and
it's only October but as the first week of November approaches, a new year dawns
for me...Ironman Florida 2011 is a little more than 1 year away.

Some people suggested that a new venue for my first completed Ironman might be
in order but there is no way that would be an option for me. I have a dragon to
slay in Panama City .... A few personal demons to lay to rest on that flat windy
bike course... And lord knows.. I just want to get to the run...

So.. If you are racing Ironman Florida, look for me on the course as I plan to
volunteer anywhere and everywhere so I can to cheer on those that are about to
attain the dream that I hold so dear. Each of you are heroes to me because I
truly understand what you have sacrificed to make this dream a reality. You
will also find me in line to sign up for that shot at my own dream in 2011....

See you soon in Panama City.....