This time next year I will be in Lake Placid, NY going through registration, race expo and pre-race rituals, getting ready to tackle my first Ironman. The physical and mental preparations will be behind me and all that will be left to do is ride the course, swim several times in Mirror Lake and drop a ridiculous amount of money on Ironman-branded race gear. I will need to be comfortable knowing that I have put in the time, effort and preparation needed to carry me 140.6 miles in a day by my own volition.
My family will be there as well as new friends I’ll make along the way whether they are “virtual” training partners via the blog-o-sphere or Facebook or the other 99 participants who will fundraise throughout this year for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation. This week will be one I’ll never forget and one that I aim to savor and take in while controlling the gigantic butterflies that will inevitably be present the moment we touch down on the tarmac.
The preparation for this race has already started. Mentally by doing other race distances and learning about training blocks and pushing through times when the body resists. Physically by eating better, keeping the workouts up, and taking care physical care of myself. What makes this race completely different than any other I have ever toed the line at before is the fact that I’ll have prepared for this singular day for more than a year in advance and will do the race in memory of my grandfather.
Lake Placid signifies several things.
1. New York is where my mom, uncle and aunt grew up. While I won’t go in-depth, it means I get to race in a state that connects us to our family.
2. Lake Placid is home to the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Olympics represent the epitome of what you can achieve as an athlete so being as close as possible to this history and competing in the same facilities is exciting.
3. Ironman Lake Placid is one of the most iconic and storied Ironman races of all time.
4. By race day, I will have raised at least $5,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation while educating others about blood cancer along the way. I will write a separate post soon about fundraising and how you can get involved. I will have a separate page for fundraising so please check back!
These bullet points don’t even touch the hours, miles and drops of sweat (and tears) that will be experienced the next 365+ days. But more than anything this race will allow me to learn new things about myself, new reserves of mental will that I have not tapped into yet, new skills that will develop and hidden muscles that will inevitably be sore that I never knew about.
While pushing myself and training throughout the year, I will be doing it all in memory of my grandfather, William DeCaprio and grandmother, Margaret DeCaprio. Grandpa Bill is a man who I was never able to meet yet feel connected to. By this point in reading this post, my mom will have tears but its ok mom, this will be a great year for us as we will celebrate William and Margaret and their lives even though we were not able to know them like we should have been able to.
Both Margaret and William were taken at early ages from different cancers. They were taken so young that my mom and uncle grew up without them but they were loving parents who served in World War II and brought their family to New York. Having cancer in the 1940’s and 50s meant something completely different than it does today but even today, we still have to fight to keep our loved ones alive and healthy. This is why I signed on to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation. (I will do a blog post later about the MMF.)
Even writing this I have tears as it hurts to know that life can be so unfair but it also serves to remind us that we are stronger than we know and that we can celebrate our loved ones in a way that helps to ease the pain. By doing this race, I hope to do just that, ease the pain. I have been truly fortunate to grow up where I have, had the experiences I have had and most importantly, have the family I do have, whether near or far. I do this race for every single one of them and for myself, so when I cross that finish line and hear announcer Mike Reilly say, “Jaclyn Garris, you are an Ironman” it will not be just me but everyone in my family.
This is a truly personal post but I thank you for reading it and learning why I am taking this on for the coming year. I know I will need support, even when I don’t ask for it or don’t think I need it at that particular moment, so thank you in advance for your support, it truly is appreciated.
Below is a great video that brings Ironman Lake Placid “Full Circle”. It is lengthy but please spare 20 minutes to watch the video as it is very inspirational and touching.
Race Day: Sunday, July 27, 2014-366 days til race day!