In 1992 I started training for my first Ironman competition but never made it to the start line due to plantar fasciitis. It was not until 1999 that I actually completed or completed my first ironman race and since that time I have been addicted to this wonderful sport for many reasons. Since then I have competed in 8 Ironman competitions, qualified for the World Championships, am a Competition Triathlon Coach and will complete my 9th Ironman in my home town of Whistler, B.C.. It is not common for a coach to compete in the same race that their athletes are doing but this year is different. It has been a huge learning year for me as a coach and has been great fun being out with my athletes every weekend, watching them train, correcting their positioning, encouraging them and they have been encouraging and inspiring me as well. But this Ironman for me will be for a cause bigger than myself. This past spring in Whistler a couple by the name of Ginny and Kerry Dennehy took off to bike across Canada to raise funds and awareness for their Enough is Enough Campaign. The Dennehy’s lost their son to depression and suicide. The Dennehy’s have devoted their life to their Foundation named after their son, The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation ,Preventing Depression Related Suicide in Young People. The Enough is Enough campaign is about raising awareness and funds for mental health. Their ultimate goal is to have a mental health resource center in every province in Canada. It is an amazing goal and one that I am going to help raise funds for as I compete in the inaugural Ironman Whistler.
As a person who has suffered with depression for many years and has learned to manage it I am passionate about there being more awareness and attention given to Mental Health and by Mental Health I do not mean Mental Illness. Mental Health is how we cope, communicate with ourselves and others and how we manage anxiety, fear and our emotions. I have been in the fitness and health industry for the past 8 years and during this time I have learned how to help people be physically fit. But the part that is missing is the mental fitness. Recognizing this incongruence in people and in our industry I took a Life Coaching course 4 years ago to learn more skills to deal with this side of health and fitness. It gave me a few tools but I wanted more. Over the past 3 years I have taken workshops on Reality Therapy and Choice Theory and University pre-requisite courses for a Masters in Counselling Psychology. I am fortunate to be involved with a wonderful organization called Whistler Community Services Society and work for them as the Support Network of Whistler Facilitator teaching Life Skills and Goal Setting courses. Through my personal and work experience I have realized that we all have challenges in life to deal with and we all need the skills and support to help us get through.
My Ironman journey this year will be a reflection of what this sport has given me, how it has changed me, taught me life lessons, kicked me in the butt, what is has taken away from me and how it has helped picked me back up. I will be out there this year knowing that I am competing for a cause that will help impact someone else’s life in a positive way. It is a way for me to celebrate what my body can do for me and how I can help someone else in the process. I will not be looking for a personal best or a qualifying spot, my goal for my Ironman is to help raise some money for a cause I believe in, to cheer on my athletes, to wave at my friends and family and to smile as I cross the finish line!