Today, October 14th, was the day I planned for over two years. The day I would finally hear the words, “Darchelle, You Are An Ironman!” I registered for this race in October of 2016 and the week following my resignation I found out I had to go to Afghanistan for a year. Ironman allowed me to defer my race entry for one year and I was re-registered for today October 14th, 2018. The problem is, this morning while everyone else races, there is a race packet with numbers no one picked up. That race packet belongs to me. It will be impossible for me to hear, “Darchelle, You Are An Ironman,” today. As others race and hear those words about themselves, my bike sits in my basement on its stand still with stickers from my last race in August. The shoes I planned to run the marathon in are in in their box unworn and my wet suit, I purchased in 2016, remains lost somewhere in my house.
Yesterday I ran during Timyra’s swim practice and about a mile into the run I was overcome with emotions as I thought about not racing today. I, for the first time since I knew I wouldn’t race today, mourned the loss. I put in a solid year of training in less than ideal circumstances in Afghanistan. I got up early mornings all summer to swim and worked long bike rides around a family who had missed me for over a year. The loss of this race required a moment and I gave it about thirty seconds of tears while I ran through the cold. Then I was back and ready to finish my run with gratitude I am still running and extreme gratitude for why I can’t race today.
After Taylyn was born TJ and I decided we were done having babies permanently. So we made it a permanent decision. Yet what we learned in August is nothing is absolute. Three and a half years after his vasectomy, it reversed itself and TJ is fully functioning again. God had other plans for us, and Ironman wasn’t it for me. As of today I am 15 weeks pregnant and that is not how I want to do Ironman. One, if anything went wrong at any point during this pregnancy I would never be able to forgive myself. And secondly, when I do Ironman, I want to race it. I want to give everything I have that day and leave it all out there. I want it to be between me and my body along conquering the swim, bike, and run. I want to get off that bike and run a marathon, not just get through it. I lost a lot of training days in August because I felt awful. Ultimately, my primary focus right now needs to be this miracle baby and making sure I do everything in my power to ensure it comes into the world healthy and strong.
Please don’t miss read what I just wrote. After a day of shock, TJ and I are ecstatic about welcoming another little one to our family. As I stated before, I had not taken the time to properly mourn the loss of this race. The race I had put a lot of me into. Training for this race is what distracted me and motivated me through the year I was away. Without this race, the year in Afghanistan would have been very different and I owe my resiliency from deployment to my training.
Because I started this pregnancy in the best shape of my life I am able to do things this time around I couldn’t do with the others. I am still running over one hundred miles a months at a pace that many consider fast. I continued to run with my track group and do hard workouts on Wednesdays. I have been racing. I did a sprint triathlon and took twentieth over all. And don’t forget about my famous Croc race, which was done while pregnant. When I got home from that race TJ joked, barefoot, pregnant, and running. I am swimming at least one day a week and putting in solid swim workouts of 3000 meters. The one thing I stopped was biking and I know I should get on my trainer. This just comes down to the fact that I hate biking.
This weekend, instead of racing, I ran and spent the time with my family. I took my kids with my mom and niece to a pumpkin patch. I spent the afternoon cooking. I enjoyed the fall days and I am just happy with my little growing family. I remember when TJ had his vasectomy my Aunt Ann asked me if I was sure we were done, and I said yes, but felt no. My girlfriend Lori, told me that four makes more sense than three and she wished she had four. These moments were always in the back of my mind and something in me always felt like four was what we were supposed to have. Clearly God made the decision for us, even if we may have made another.
I want to leave you with a thought from my eight year old. Which, by the way the kids are super excited for another baby. She told me that God had a decision. He could choose Ironman or baby. He decided baby, because Ironman will always be there for you to race, but it is time to have another baby now. I can’t agree with my little girl more! Can’t wait to meet you number 4!