I have often wondered what my family “really” thinks about me doing what some people call crazy…. Running and doing triathlons in combat boots — wearing boots EVERYWHERE I go, and the fact that I put it out there for the whole world to see.
I often pondered, “Is my family embarrassed by what I’m doing?”
In the fall of 2012 I was knee deep in training for my first half-Ironman (70.3 miles) in combat boots for our troops.
With a house full of kids and a working husband I found myself having to get up at the most un-Godly hour(s) of the morning to get my daily training done. Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t function at seven o’clock in the morning no less four-thirty. However, with my family situation — early morning workouts had become an unwelcome daily routine for me.
One such morning, I woke-up less than happy about the hours of hard training that awaited me. I desperately wanted to crawl back into bed, but reluctantly I got myself ready for another suffer fest. On my way out the door I wrote a quick Facebook post about having to get up at such an awful hour, how tired and sore I was, and all I wanted to do was sleep in. I also questioned my own sanity and wondered if maybe my friends were right. Was I crazy?
Later that day to my surprise my son; a man of very few words and a United States Marine responded to my post with the following:
4:30 am. That’s the time that men and women who wear those boots get up everyday.
Because we are the first ones to wake-up and the last ones to sleep.
We wake up everyday to put in the long hours and training for the sole purpose to be the best. Many call us crazy but it’s our way of life. Just like you…. you are showing everyone in this country what it’s like to put a day in our boots.
I just want to tell you, I thank you for everything you are doing to show your support for our troops. You are the strongest women I know; and I now see where I get it from. Thank you so much for raising me to be the man I am today. Keep up the good work.
I love you mom.
This public show of love and appreciation from my son… melted my heart. I thought, “He doesn’t think I’m an embarrassment, he’s proud of me!” (as I am of him).
After reading his post I sat there crying like a child (quivering lip and all).
Months later (during my race) I would draw from his words and his belief in me. It was those words on Facebook for all to see — that rang out in my head when I was faced with not finishing my half-ironman due to being stuck by a truck at mile fifty-three on the bike. When asked by the EMS if I wanted to be taken to the hospital for further evaluation I replied, “No, I have to finish…. You don’t understand…! I HAVE to finish. I’m not here for myself, I’m here for my son — he’s in the Marines.”
Armed with Tyler’s belief in me; battered, bruised and covered in road rash – I gingerly got up and slowly made my way to the bike/run transition.
How was I going to be able to do this?
My road rash was burning, my left shoulder was hurting so bad that it hurt for my arm to hang, and with a quickly swelling hip — I couldn’t run — walking at this point was a challenge. I stopped and looked back at the transition area I had just left. I thought to myself, “Amy it’s okay to quit, no one would blame you. Look at you, how are you going to make thirteen miles in this condition?” That’s when I thought of Tyler again. I also thought of all the soldiers and marines that at that very minute were in the sandpit, hurt or critically injured. They had to keep moving forward, because their life and/or the life of their teammate(s) depended on it.
I suffered with pain every mile of the 13.1 mile run, but like those on the battlefield – I sucked it up – I kept moving forward. I had a mission to accomplish and I would not quit. Four hours later with my arm in a sling and a melted icepack on my hip, I completed my mission. I did it in honor of Tyler and all his brothers and sisters in arms and for my charities.
I only hope that someday Tyler will know how much strength I draw from him…