Ironman Arizona Week 13: Distracted But Grounded

This week I was distracted but I might as well get used to it. From now until November 16, there will be a lot going on. I have the 8 mile Swim For Alligator Lighthouse with my disabled friend Kerry Gruson, we are moving houses, and a bunch of other lovely but time consuming initiatives are in the works.

Yet, as I’ve said before, this Ironman feels completely different than the first time around. This has been an inward journey as I train mostly alone. But even without a training partner, there is always someone with me; a presence that doesn’t waiver: Brianna.

I am racing Ironman Arizona raising funds in Brianna’s memory. She was a second grader in Dreamer’s class who passed away in April waiting for a heart transplant. She is with me always, and sometimes I tell myself I have to stop talking or people will think I am crazy. I call on her when I have to dig deep. I ask her for help.

One day, after a particularly difficult swim, I heard from Maria, Brianna’s mom. I mentioned that I know I might seem crazy, but I know Bri Bri is with me. She sent me this picture:

Brianna and her brother on the beach

Brianna and her brother on the beach

I’ll share something with you about Bri – she LOVED swimming. Didn’t matter if the water was frigid, hot, etc. She LOVED it, she was a fish. So I am SURE she was swimming with you. She was fast too. She couldn’t hold her breath for long, but she kept at it. Who knows how hard a toll it was taking on her, hard to say, but she NEVER complained. Can’t say the same for running and cycling, she did manage to complain about those all the time, but swimming, she was in paradise.

So even if I was distracted, there is one thing that keeps me grounded and moving forward: I am not racing this for me, but for Brianna and her family.

If you haven’t already, please consider donating $5, $10, anything really, to the Arts In Medicine Program at the Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. That program helped Brianna endure a difficult and long stay, and we want to make sure that other children with long-term hospitalizations benefit from her bravery.

One piece of artwork Brianna created in art therapy.

One piece of artwork Brianna created in art therapy.

As for training, this is how the week went:

Monday: SWIM. Long, with ThumbsUp teammate Caryn. 2.5 miles

Tuesday: BIKE. At the Ultrabikex Computrainer Studio. 15 miles of 8% grade hill repeats.

Wednesday: REST DAY. Not intentional but went house hunting.

Thursday: BIKE. Again at the studio, I am a sucker for pain. This time I rode with Amy from Because Amy Says So. I’ve known her for years on social media but it’s the first time I actually trained with her.

Friday: RUN. Long, 11 miles before sunrise followed by a rough mile in the ocean.

Saturday: RUN, BIKE, RUN. 4 mile run, 56 bike, 5 mile run. Need I say more?

Sunday: SWIM. 3 miles choppy, crazy ocean swim. I am still swaying side to side hours after I finished.

Click here to donate to Brianna’s Hopeful Heart.

I would call this a decent week that fits into my 80/20 rule. How was yours?

2 thoughts on “Ironman Arizona Week 13: Distracted But Grounded

  1. Oh wow–got the chills reading this. I love that you carry her with you like this and I’m sure her family does, too. Great cause and great job!

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