Last year I wrote you a Letter, thanking you for all the finish lines that you have allowed me to cross.
Ironman World Championships, Hawaii
Once again, I find it very important to give you the "thanks" that you deserve in helping me reach my number one goal of getting to every IM starting line. In the closing of my last letter, I told you how much I wanted to qualify for Kona. Of course, you knew that since you endured many long hours of training in order to gain the strength that was necessary to race the girls in the 25-29 age group at Ironman Wisconsin. Well, body - WE did it and I can't thank you enough.
It's been 13 months since I wrote you a letter and perhaps this letter could not have come at a more appropriate time.
I am four days away from racing in my 2nd Ironman World Championship and my 5th Ironman triathlon. We are 29 years of age and can you believe that we are still going strong at learning how to race for 140.6 miles?
Body, we have a great relationship. I really do love you a lot. I am proud to call you MY body. I realize that we have had our ups and down, moments in life where I didn't like the way you looked and I was likely a little too hard on you for something so trivial. But you know what, you told me to focus on progress. I listened. You showed me that I need to respect you and that you are not perfect. I listened. You told me not to be so hard on myself as life should not revolve around food, calories and body composition. I listened. My happiness is not determined by a number on a scale and I know that there is no purpose of having a lean or toned body, if I can't do anything with it.
It's been a few years since I have had all those negative thoughts and I am so fortunate that I found many other positives in my life to distract me from the constant pressures of looking a certain way. You wanna know something body, the way I feel about myself right now is indescribable. I removed the negative words in my vocabulary like fat, bad, off-limit and I acquired a sense of balance in order to stay focused with my personal goals. 'Cause frankly, my weight and the way I look has nothing to do with my career, athletics and ability to love others. The most important thing is that I give love to myself.
Body, what I find so wonderful about you is that my weight has nothing to do with achieving my goals. For if I provide you with the right nutrients, I know that you are going to enjoy every workout that we do together. My weight does not determine if I will have a good or bad workout and when I am out, getting a good sweat, I know I am working towards my performance goals and not working out to burn calories. Body, I do not restrict food and we have worked really hard in developing a healthy relationship with food. After so many years, I think we have made great progress and we are on our way to a lifetime of happiness, health and fun.
Body, we spend every day together and body and there is not a day that I am not proud to live my life with you. My passion in life is providing you with quality food as I hope to live a long, quality-filled life. There are so many places in this world that I want you to see, so many adventures that I want to take you on and so many people that I want to help. I promise that I will always nourish you in order to reduce risk for disease and to keep you at a healthy weight and I promise to respect you when you are sore, tight or feeling overworked.
Body, you repeatedly tell me that life is all about balance. Remember my 3 day TriMarni training camp, when I took you to Coldstone w/ my family and Karel and we all enjoyed REAL ice cream without feelings of guilt? There was no way that I would choose fat free, sugar free, etc. as that is not real food and I only want to give you the best. That was a lot of fun and Campy LOVED licking my cup. Because it was an occasional treat, we enjoyed every yummy bite and life continued on as normal, without any harsh feelings of eating "bad" or as if I "failed" you. It's moments like that where I am proud to eat well most of the time so that we don't have to worry about the rest of the time.
Now I have to admit, you have a way of confusing me, at times, of what you want to eat after intense or long workouts... but I think I figured you out. For it isn't that you are asking for ice cream, a few bowels of cereal, something fattening and rich or a bakery treat. Rather, you are asking me to give you something nutritious and balanced. For at one time I thought that I could treat myself to something indulging after every long workout but when I thought deep and hard about what you were really wanting me to provide you in order to refuel, repair and rejuvenate, I quickly recognized that in order to reward you for all your hard work in training, it was necessary to provide you with quality fuel to prepare for future workouts.
This past year has been filled with tribulations and blessings, but not one day has been taken for granted. We have been through a lot and I think this is the perfect time to thank you for all you have allowed me to accomplish.
Body, it is funny how life provides us gaps in life to really soak up the moment. But don't you find that life passes on by, way too quickly? Sometimes it's hard to find opportunities in life to become a better person, to reach dreams and accomplish goals but body, but I love it how we like to search out those opportunities. Life will never always be perfect but we can certainly make the most of our days, here on earth.
Body, you have taught me so much over the past decade of my life. So much of my adult life has been dedicated to endurance sports and setting athletic goals for myself to achieve. But in this last year, I had a different reason for living.
For the past 3 years, but more specifically, from July '10 - May '11, my life revolved around dietetics. Despite wanting you to help me reach my personal athletic goals, I asked a lot of you to help me reach my educational goals of becoming a Registered Dietitian. In doing this, you were extremely stressed, tired and overwhelmed with information but you were also required to be sharp and alert - so I didn't fail my internship!
As much as I wanted to balance it all, something had to give. In February of 2011, you gave me a wake-up call that I was doing too much and it was time to take a back seat from structured training and just exercise.
Although I cried a lot and envied everyone who was able to use their two legs in order to run freely while enjoying the outdoors, you told me to be patient and that it would all be worth it. You told me to not focus on what I CAN'T do but rather what I CAN do.
Well, body..once again, you were right. I was able to take my passion for triathlons and move it to my internship but still live my triathlon lifestyle. Rather than wanting to become a better triathlete, my purpose for life was dedicated to becoming a better dietitian and living a healthy and active lifestyle.
After 3 separate internship rotations (community, food service and clinical), alongside MANY finals, exams, portfolio's and projects, it was time to study for the RD exam. I was SO stressed before taking the National Registered Dietitian Exam in June 2011, but you told me that I had prepared you in the best possible way.
It's kinda crazy but body, every journey that I take you on, you make me more and more proud to be alive and healthy in order to experience everything in life. I don't know how you do it but you have showed me, once again, that life is all about balance and appreciating every opportunity that comes into my life.
I realized that I CAN do it all, so long as I make realistic goals, keep life balanced and remove pressure to be perfect at everything. For the only person I have to please is you. You are all I got body, we are in this together for the rest of my life.
Although I don't want you to be perfect, I think you are really awesome. Thinking about all of the courageous people in the world who battle with uncontrollable diseases and illnesses, I think we have it pretty good and it would be silly of me to focus on your meaningless aesthetic imperfections that have nothing to do with my health, pursuit as an active individual and purpose of living a quality life. For no matter the number on the scale, I know that I am doing my part in providing you with food that fuels my active lifestyle and making you move on a daily basis.
Body, this past year has been amazing and I could not thank you enough for helping me overcome all of the obstacles that make life so bitter sweet. My 3 goals over the past year were to fuel you with quality food, to keep you moving and to respect you when you speak to me. Although I admit that I doubted you at times, you continually showed me in the smallest ways that this year was going to be a great year.
What a year....
July - started my 10 month dietetic internship
Sept - participated in my 4th Ironman, qualified for the Ironman World Championships
Feb - May - wasn't able to run due to hip issues
May - finished my 10 month dietetic internship
June - passed the National RD exam and started my new job as a clinical dietitian
July - started my 14-week "KONA" training plan
Oct - ??????
Just a few more days until Oct 8th 2011. I can't believe the time is here for the Ironman World Championships! I do not ask a lot of you as I know I have trained you in the best possible way and you are in the best shape of your life. Body, I can't believe I MADE you the strong, healthy and educated person that you are today. It wasn't easy, but I never gave up. Body, please don't ever give up on me 'cause I will never give up on you.
So, body. In order to compete in the gusty winds and blistering heat that makes the big island of Kona so amazingly remarkable, I only ask of one thing.
Please give me the strength to dig deep when I forget how much I want this.... as 140.6 miles is a long way to go and there will be times when I will be hurting and want to give up on my dreams. Remind me of the many great days in training and in life, where I felt so lucky to be alive....lucky just to be able to move without pain. Body, when a bad moment comes (which I know there will be more than one), give me ability to connect the body to the mind, as I did so many times during training. Remind me that my life does not revolve around this race and life WILL go on but don't be afraid to find that inner strength that is necessary to get to the next mile, and the next, etc. Body, please shower me with positive thoughts throughout race day. Fill my head with cheers from all of the people who have supported me and have believed in me. I absolutely do not mind if you send those cheers to the other athletes on the course, because at times, they may need them more than me. Lastly,
have a great time and don't forget to smile (for the pictures, of course). Enjoy every single mile of this event as there are many people out there who would (and do) give everything to think, dream and try to do an Ironman.
Body, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to reach my personal athletic goals as well as giving me the gift of passion of being able to inspire others to reach both personal and athletic goals.
Love always and forever, Marn