When I signed up for IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, I honestly did not know if I could finish it. I mean, I knew I would complete all my training. I knew I would have an advantage with my background in coaching triathlon. I just did not know if my body would physically be able to hold up, especially to the running 13.1 miles at the end. Being hemiplegic, I run with a very strange gait, and it is hard on my hips and knees, so we had to be very careful of injury.
So why did I decide to do this major triathlon thing anyways? Well, there were two reasons. First and foremost was for the coaching knowledge of doing a long course triathlon for both me as well as my athletes. As I am someone who learns best by doing, I knew it was time to try it. The second reason was to demonstrate to everybody out there to keep going through good times and bad. Just keep moving forward. Most of all, I needed to prove to myself that I was back from my traumatic assault. And of course, I wanted to do it by doing a 70.3. In Boulder, CO. At altitude. Go big or go home right??
As I was doing that race, I kept thinking of all those that helped me. When I came to the run, I just had to grit my teeth and keep going. I knew that this part of the triathlon would be the toughest for me. For this reason, I ran one mile at a time, running each mile for someone that helped me get back to running again. Heres my list:
My doctors - they worked tirelessly to save my life
My speech and occupational therapists- they got me to be able to communicate again and live COMPLETELY on my own. And to hold on to a bike handlebar for 56 miles…
My physical therapist - who got me to RUN again
My in-laws - who came to watch me race!
All the other triathletes out there - There is a comraderie that is built in endurance racing
My friends near and far - I felt the thousands of thoughts and prayers sent for me and they strengthened me
That coach of mine - because just because I am a coach does not mean I don't need a coach to work out all my emotional crazies...and I hit the jackpot in my coach and mentor, Coach John Murray.
My brothers, Timmy and Kyle - so emotionally strong!
My sisters, Emily and Julie - They had to deal with so much and handled everything with so much grace.
My little brother, David, who passed away - I ran a mile for him while he is preparing for a marshmallow fight with me in heaven :)
My Mom - I can never repay all that shes done for me, but I can run a mile for her!
Sam, my husband - I cant even begin to list how awesome he is…
And the last 0.1 mile? I ran that for me! It was a pure celebration of life! (Here is the finish line video!)
Running the 13.1 miles of the half Ironman seemed daunting and risky with my strange gait. Maybe the swim feels intimidating to you. Or perhaps that long bike part of the race. For me, it was the run. By dividing it up, not allowing me to feel sorry for myself, and thinking instead of someone else, I made it. Next time a task feels daunting to you, try it! If you'd like more tips, or help with your "Go big or go home" goals, email me at becky@teamMPI.com. I'm cheering for you!
Read more about her race at Becky Piper - Paralyzed on right side, completes IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, by Dana Willett, August 6, 2017, 303Triathlon.com.
With husband Sam, me, Emily Harvey, Sasha Underwood