After that race I assumed there would be more but then the word "Ironman" started coming up more and more. (and he wasn't talking about the movie either!) At that time I couldn't wrap my head around him taking on something like that. But as time went on, the pieces started to fall in place and I finally could see it.
After 2 years of new athletic adventures we both had big dreams for 2014. I was going to do my first marathon in February and Kipper would do his first half Ironman in October. We both agreed we would do what we needed to in order to support each other through achieving this fitness dreams. Which basically meant while the other was training we would step up and be domestic. (which I am not!) Let me tell you Mr. Martin got the better end of the deal because his training is WAY longer than mine was. lol.
First up...find a tri coach! This was a long process that he actually started in December 2013. If you know Kipper, you know his OCD. Agonizing over who was the best fit for our lifestyle and his personality, plus their training philosophy was a beat down. In my heart I knew who was best for him, but I only offered up advice when asked and tried to let him figure it out for himself. In the end Trident was his pick. As well as mine since the day we met with Tim nearly a month before.
I'm not going to lie, after meeting with the coaches I was nervous. Ironman anything was a big time commitment and time wasn't something we always have a lot of. Between working 2 jobs, school and family this was going to be a major life change for not only Kipper, but me too.
And then there was my "investagoogle" of how Ironman training affects marriages. Much of what I found didn't ease my mind. Story after story of damaged relationships but then there were a few that talked about how it made their marriage stronger. We are very blessed with a strong marriage and I made a promise to myself that in the end we would be better for this experience.
For the last 8 months our lives have sort of revolved around triathlon. While it hasn't always been easy and there have been times if I had to wash another water bottle I might have gone mental, it has been incredibly rewarding. I have watched my husband grow in ways that just 4 years ago I would have never imagined. We found a new normal in our relationship and made it work. And with less than a week till race day I am happy to say with a lot of work, we both made good on the promise of our marriage being better for this experience.
I feel like we are more in tune to each others needs more than every before (which is kind of crazy since we have always been pretty good about that!) I will be the first to tell you I got lonely with Kipper training so much. Many days he would work a 12 hour shift and then go workout for 2+ hours. By the time he got home he would shower, eat and pass out on the coach. Then back up at 4:30-5:00 am to do it all again the next day. He has been so good about picking up on when I just need time and somehow making it happen. Lunch dates on his days off during the week have been a true blessing.
For my part (other than the extra domestic stuff) I tried to play it by ear each week to see how I could best help Kipper through that week. Sometimes it was helping get his stuff for the next day together, picking up dinner because he was too tired to cook (and didn't want what I would cook! lol) or staying up with the fur babies when they were extra playful so he could sleep. Other times it was as simple as reminding him that I truly believe he can do this or keeping him company on a run when his head is telling him to quit.
The one thing I did every week that never changed was prayer. Lots and lots of prayers. For us our athletic adventures have been very spiritual. As much as we have enjoyed the challenges, it isn't about us. The grace of God and His strength have carried both of us over each finish line. It is the same grace and strength that have helped Kipper push through workouts when he didn't think he could give an ounce more. And even though the participant handbook says you can receive no outside help, come Sunday, October 26, 2014 I know Kipper won't have to do this alone. And that gives me an incredible amount of peace.
I know I speak for both Kipper and I, we are so grateful for supportive friends and family who have been there through this journey. It takes a village and we are very blessed to have a HUGE village praying and supporting this weekend.
For those of you who would like to follow along from home there are a few ways you can:
- Follow my Instagram/Facebook posts #halfironkipper
- Follow the athlete tracker on the Ironman website. He is bib 2655
- Watch the live feed from the finish line
Many friends have asked what they can do to support Kipper this weekend. His wave is slated to hit the water at 8:10 a.m. Sunday morning. If you don't mind, please stop and say a prayer at 8:10. Pray for a safe, injury free race. Pray for peace of mind. Pray for endurance. And most of all pray that God is glorified every step of the way.
I can't believe the day is almost here. A day that has been in the making for 4 years. This proud wife can't think of a better way to spend her 33rd Birthday than cheering on her best friend as he achieves this dream!