One of the most rewarding parts of my time in Afghanistan was when we were able to invite the the young ladies from Free to Run onto the base to run. These young women show strength and determination in a setting I could never imagine. These women want change. They need change. The are looking for something that is their own in a country that doesn’t want to let them and in a world that wishes they could.
I came home from Afghanistan with dreams and those dreams altered and shifted course, but never at any point did I ever believe they were not possible. I am a mother of four incredible humans, two of which are perfectly strong girls. I will nurture and care for all of them as long as they will let me. I pray daily to be the role model they deserve and when I do misstep they have the grace and patience to forgive and learn from me.
As part of my journey home, and hopefully someday in conjunction with an Ironman (I just can’t let it go. Dreams and goals are what keep us going and give us a reason to get up! I’m not giving up on mine), I committed to race for the charity She Can Tri. This charity was founded by a friend, Jackie Faye, who I served with in Afghanistan. She is an amazing women who is doing great things for women who really need it. The current focus of her charity is to train Afghanistan’s first women triathletes in partnership with Free to Run. They have their sights set on competing in the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand. I want to be part of their journey and help get them the funds they need to reach their dreams.
While I am racing and wearing my She Can Tri suit there are always people cheering me on screaming, SHE CAN TRI. The support I receive from strangers is inspiring. This triathlon season has been a season of rebuilding my base. I was talking to a friend of mine who is struggling with injury and can’t train like he would like. We talked about having to train for where we are today. I thought I would have Eugene and be back in half Ironman shape this fall. The reality is, I’m not there. I’m not even sure I will be there next year. My life is full of conflicting priorities and this one needs to fall to the bottom. I am thankful to be able to run hard and the rest will come. I will continue to tri, but I need to be realistic about where I am at today. I need to embrace my current situation and nurture what works today and tomorrow will come.
I am blessed to live in a country which allows me to raise my girls to believe they can do anything. The opportunities for them are basically endless. They will never have to wonder if they have the support to do what they dream. Timyra has already started her triathlon career. She always knew she could tri and is out there TRIng her little heart out. I want to ensure she will always be able to pursue her heart without adversity. She may never know the hardships of the Afghan women, but I will do whatever I can to teach her so she can appreciate her fortune. She knows the stories of these women and will race to raise money for their dreams.
My girls are also fortunate enough to have an amazing male role model in their life who supports them in everything they do. TJ is always there for all his girls. He takes amazing care of the three of us. He is always cheering for us even when he’s not standing right there at the finish. Sometimes he can’t be there because he’s home taking care of the little ones, but he’s always thinking of us and cheering for us from afar. The majority of women in Afghanistan are not supported by the men in their life. They TRI, but they do not have the support to lift them up and keep them TRI-ing.
All of us have a try in us and we need to embrace it. The effort of trying has the ability to get us far. If you don’t even start and try you’ll never know what you can do. For these Afghan women they tried and look what they are working to accomplish. Please look into your heart and consider giving to a cause I truly believe in. These girls need us to make their dreams come true. Follow this link to She Can Tri to contribute. Timyra and I are out there TRI-ing for them and hope you will TRI too!