So, I signed up for an Ironman…

The first year I was with my husband I got super excited when my birthday rolled around. I romantically wondered what present he could possibly get for me? What I didn’t know at the time was that even though he is the most generous, wonderful, thoughtful person I’ll ever know… he kinda sucks at picking out gifts.

That first year he suggested I choose a plant for myself at a florist (seriously?), and the second year he came empty handed(“I couldn’t decide…”).

Since I absolutely loved my birthday and I loved him too, in order to avoid future b-day conflicts I took the matter into my own hands. Each year I choose my own gift. It lets him off the hook of trying to find the perfect present, and I get exactly what I want. Win-win!

In my 30’s and 40’s it was always a new dress or a day at a spa. When I turned 50 I wanted each gift to be positive and with a lasting memory. I gave myself a trip to Messina, Sicily where I swam the Messina Straits. It was an awesome 50th birthday that I’ll never forget.

At 51 it was my first Half Ironman… and another at 52.

Last week for 53 I gifted myself with a full Ironman…

Just noticed the 6:30 am start...

Just noticed the 6:55 am start…

I’ve been asked a lot about racing a full Ironman over the last few years, people wondering why I hadn’t done one yet. I’ve flirted with the idea for a really long time. Part of me thinks it’s a crazy ass thing to do and anybody who does it has to be nuts. Or have a lot of time on their hands. Or both.

The other thing stopping me was life in general. I have two kids, a full time job, no relatives in the vicinity and a husband that travels 150 days out of the year. I honestly could not picture part of my personal life/family life burdened with full-on Ironman training.

But now I have one child grown while the other is starting to be more self sufficient. I have my work under control (at least for the next year). My husband not only encouraged me to sign up; he offered to coach me. Now that is an incredibly thoughtful present!

I waited for my birthday to sign up for Ironman Zurich because I wanted it to be a symbolic gesture. I wanted to feel that focus and determination; the very thing I’ll need for the next ten months.

I’m really excited if you want to follow along. I just have to warn you: there won’t be a lot of “drama” or “inner turmoil”. I’ve done loads of sprints, dozens of Olympics and four halves (a.k.a 70.3). Now I just want that last brass ring.

  1. Denise
    My husband is equally bad with gifts (and cards, for that matter), so I usually buy my own, too. How wonderful that you'll be able to say you've done every kind of triathlon! I just finished my first sprint duathlon last weekend and started looking at sprint triathlons for this time next year since it would be for my birthday (which is in October). Of course, mine won't be anywhere nearly as lovely as Zurich, though - how wonderful!
  2. Julia Jones
    Hi Denise, I'm sure you can come up with a great location for your sprint triathlon!
  3. Paula
    So cool... and exciting!
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