My First Taste of 40 – I Am an Ironman!

by Heather Ferber on July 17, 2012

In less than two weeks, in eleven days to be exact, I will be celebrating a milestone birthday that will bring me into another big decade – my 40’s.  I’m having a bit of a difficult time accepting the fact that I have reached this significant point in my lifetime as I never imagined I would be the one with gray hair, fine lines, 3 little peeps wrapped around my legs, and a little bit of belly fat here and there.  But, here I am!

About a year ago, I thought it would be fun to mark this grand occasion with a spectacular event. That thought, in conjunction with the motivation and inspiration of a dear friend, led me to sign up for Ironman 70.3 Racine.

And on this past Sunday, after  7+ hours in the hot, hot sun, I became an Ironman! Technically, I was only 39 when I crossed the finish line; however, for IM purposes, they use your birth date as of December 31st of this year. So on Sunday, I was 40 years old – and it felt great! If this is what a decade of 40’s is going to feel like, then I’m up for it!  And two days after the big event, I still feel great.  Very little pain or soreness, just a bit of overall muscle fatigue and some nasty blisters on my feet from my soaking wet running shoes and socks. (It was blazing hot so spectators were hosing us down, which was great. But I had a very poor plan in place for dealing with wet feet. In fact, I had NO plan.  Lesson learned).

There are so many stories I want to share about my exhilarating and inspirational day; however, I cannot sum them all up in just one blog post. You guys would be reading all night!  So I just want to start off with a great big thank you to all of you who inspired and supported me throughout this journey over the past 20 weeks, and ultimately, this past year.  I would not have crossed the finish line without each and every one of you.  A huge heartfelt thanks to my dear family and friends that joined me during the race and at the finish line.  You are all an amazing part of my life!  Love each of you.

American writer Ursula LeGuin once said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” And I am realizing how true this is.  I have learned so much about myself – my body, my mind, my emotional state, my spirituality, my commitment, my determination, my sweat rate, my tastes, my gut, my ability to juggle, my creativity, my tolerance for eating moldie protein bars and allowing laundry to reach piles that were sky high – plus tons more over the past year.  In addition, I have learned so much about my close family and friends and their unending support, love, willingness to help, understanding, flexibility, generosity, patience, and kindness.  Truly, I am blessed to have a wonderful support circle surrounding me and encouraging me in my life’s endeavors. This has been a most inspirational journey.  Thanks to all of you!

Later this week, I will update you on some really funny things that happened to me on race day – all pretty much a result of being a total tri newbie – as well as more on the race itself.  Some of you may not know, Ironman Racine was only the second triathlon I have ever done in my life (the first one was last summer and it was a sprint tri).  With my inexperience, there were bound to be a few “oops” and there were.  Also hope to share some pics and video clips with you very soon as well.

Signing off to check out a few pics my hubby took of the race and to savor my first taste of 40!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon K. Fuglestad July 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

BIG congrats to you, Heather! What an amazing feat of endurance and perseverance you have completed! So many are very proud of you and your strong stamina in participating in this triathlon. Will look forward to the future blogs and pics.

Hugs, Sharon Fuglestad

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betterhealthbyheather July 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Thanks Sharon! It truly was an incredible journey and special experience. And I was so blessed to have Molly and Mason there! I cannot describe the feeling of joy when I saw Molly and Mason on my first loop of the run, at the 6 mile mark. It was just about the time I had my first “negative thought” about finishing. They inspired me to keep on going and get the job done. I was truly blessed to have this opportunity in my lifetime. Thanks for thinking of me and hope to have those pics posted soon. Hugs to you too! H

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