“All those around me are the bridge to my success- So they all matter”- One week to Ironman!!

From the moment I witnessed this I knew I wanted to be in that water one day.

From the moment I witnessed this I knew I wanted to be in that water one day.

Its official, next Sunday I will be at the start line of the race that has been my focus and goal for the past 3 years. I will never forget driving from Victoria, BC to Edmonton in May of 2010 and my good friend Greg asking if I wanted to do an Ironman with him the following summer, the idea being we would raise money for my younger brothers memorial fund. Without even thinking I said ‘sure’. We drove to Penticton that August and I watched the most amazing testament to human ability and sheer will-power play out in front of me as I watched my very first Ironman unfold. I was particularly inspired by the run and the finish line. I remember standing in the grand stands with Greg watching people come in at 14 hours and crying to myself, I was overwhelmed by emotion watching these athletes clearly pushing their limits and celebrating their accomplishment. I knew I wanted to be one of them the second I saw the swim start, and standing at the finish line I was sure. I pictured myself being there, and what it would feel like and I felt a pull in my stomach as I thought about how I had to do this one without Rhys, the reality hit me that my brother who left us way to early that spring was not going to be there holding one of his cheeky signs like he would make at one of my soccer games. Even worse, he was never going to be able to finish his goals that he set out to accomplish in athletics or anything for that matter. I stood in the grand stands and I cried, for myself, for Rhys, for my family, for all the other people out their that have felt loss and desperately felt a need to keep pushing on, even though it hurt, knowing that the one they lost would wish nothing less for them.

I stood in line the next morning and registered with Greg. We started training as soon as we got home. My swim had a long way to go, and I didn’t purchase a bike until that January. I started a new job that October, it required long hours and my training suffered. As the summer loomed I was overwhelmed by my new job and my training, something had to give. I was facing the harsh reality that is Ironman training-its no cake walk. I was driving down the Whitemud one afternoon feeling particularly overwhelmed and the solution came to me, “You can do Ironman any year”. I felt a sense of relief flow over me, this wasn’t my only opportunity at Ironman but it was my only opportunity to succeed at my new career, I made the decision to drop out of Ironman and look to the next year.

The next year, I set my sights on a half-ironman and completed the Great White North Triathlon and I was elated! I remember going to pick up my race package before race day, feeling extremely nervous, and the ladies at check in assigned me #25 as my bib number. Rhys’ very first football number throughout high school football was #25, my older brother and Greg had also worn the same number at the same high school. Rhys was with me on this race, I knew it, and I was calm. I was so relaxed that whole race, finishing with a smile on my face and a couple tears.

As you all know by now this past fall I was given priority registration for Ironman Canada and I took it! My heart beating so fast as I registered! It has been a long year, thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog, it has been such a help for me as I have taken on my training week by week. As I complete my final prep for the race, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have been especially instrumental in supporting me in this amazing journey. Whether just this past year or the past 3 years every bit of help has meant so much.

My Mom and Dad.
photo-59– My parents are always my rocks, and when it came to Ironman things were no different. From my dad getting up at 5am, meeting me after work and on weekends to go swimming. To my mom prepping 20 chicken breasts and bags of rice, countless vegetables and fruit to help me keep up with my clean eating. (These are just 2 examples, I could go on) They were both there for the emotional phone calls when I had to pull out the first time, supporting me and reminding me that I was still strong and could still do this. They have supported me in every way possible and this goal would not have been able to be accomplished without them. I am so grateful to them for their love and support and I feel so blessed knowing that they will be there on race day cheering me on.

My Brother Jacques and Sister Elise.
siblings– From Jacques putting up with me spinning on my trainer in our house, sounding like a jet engine taking off. Following up behind me at Great White North where he was working on the Ambulance to say Hi and cheer me on! Elise for always being that person I can call when I am overwhelmed and need to vent. Sometimes you just need your sister. To showing her support by telling everyone she knows that her sister is an Ironwoman! Haha. I love my siblings more than I can even explain. They are my best friends and I have leaned on both of them many different times over the past 3 years as the 3 of us have come together to deal with our loss and push through in our own ways. They are always there for me and I don’t know how I could have gotten to where I am without them.

My Boyfriend Jason.
jay– Since I signed up for Ironman this year Jason’s support has been amazing. He has never once questioned why training comes first which can be tough in a long distance relationship when your hours are already limited. He gets me up in the morning with a coffee always pushing me to be the best person I can be. He rides beside me on his longboard for a run, gets up at 5am before a race and is all calm as I work through my nerves and focus. He holds my bag, gives me a hug and cheers me on every step of the way. I have been so grateful to have someone so close in my life understand and support me with everything they have. I am a very lucky girl and I feel calm just knowing he will be there on race day.

My Original Training Partner- Greg Broduer.
gregI would never have dreamed of Ironman had it not been for Greg. We have been neighbors and friends since we were little and his unwavering love and support was what got me through my first 2 years of training. He was my original training partner for early morning swims, and late night runs and nervous chats about what to expect! I am so grateful to him for this. Greg will tackle Ironman as soon as his knee heals and I hope to be there to cheer him on when he takes on his goal!

My Team and Community at Blitz.
photo-17– Since I started with Blitz I have never failed to tell people I have the best job in the world. I get to do what I love with people that I love. I know everyone that walks in Blitz feels the community feel, but working there you feel it even more so. Not a day feels like work at Blitz. I am surrounded by inspiring supportive group of people and I love them all. The team at Blitz has pushed my body to places I never thought possible and all the while supporting me. We train together and we laugh together and I am grateful for that! From Chris and Brett coming out to the lake to keep and eye on my in the open water, to Paul and Steve helping me and my community members when I am unable to be there because of training or a race. Just asking me how training is going, they inspire me and keep me accountable.
– The community has been amazing as well. So many people asking me how my training is going and sending me inspiration! I have met some amazing people at Blitz and I am so grateful. Everyone that walks in our doors is an inspiration and I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

My Friends and Family.
– I have an amazing support network. My friends and family are all so amazing and I honestly feel so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. They all check in and ask how I am doing and have taken a genuine interest in my journey to Ironman. The support has been amazing and I truly appreciate it. None of my friends have ever gotten upset over me not being able to be around because of my training and when I apologize for not being around everyone one of them has brushed it off and told me not to worry about it. Whether it’s a text message, a call, a tweet, to see how my training is going I have appreciated it all. From British Columbia to Toronto, my friends and family have supported me and I am so grateful.
– A special shout out to my super fan and carbo-load dinner partner, Joey Busetto. Joey helped me prep for my first race at GWN last year and drove me to the race and stayed with me cheering me on the whole day. He did the same for me this year and it means so much to me to have a friend like him.
– My Uncle Pat, for always being available to chat triathlon and for participating in 3 races with me! My Uncle Pat inspires me, he started this sport later in his life than me and gave me a run for my money my first 2 races. He is always looking for the next challenge and is planning on competing in a Ultra-Ironman next year! I have loved racing with him, it has been such an amazing experience.

Last But Not least- My Younger Brother Rhys.
rhys 2rhys1– I have saved Rhys for last because, first of all he wasn’t one for recognition and secondly because at the end of the day he has been the guiding light and driving force for me and a lot of the people mentioned above. It seems right to round it all off with him. While Rhys wont be there in person on race day I know in my heart, he will be there in spirit. He has been with me every single step of the way. Rhys was always my biggest supporter, verging on what my sister called my ‘shadow’ when we were younger. When it came to sports and working out Rhys soon became someone I looked up to. He was a phenomenal athlete and person, inside and out of the gym or playing field. I learned so much from him in his 20 years about what it meant to be a committed athlete and a genuine loving person. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. During training it is thoughts of him that push me through the toughest days, he wasn’t nicknamed ‘Superman’ for no reason and I try to embrace that superhero spirit whenever I can. I started this journey in his memory and I plan on running this Ironman in his memory, as I have every race so far. I know he will be watching over me as I take on the day and as I cross that finish line, and all of the other finish lines to come. I will always LIVESTRONG for RC, I know he would want nothing less.

One last thank you to Ford Canada for providing the vehicle that I will be driving down to Whistler- A beautiful 2013 Explorer. I am looking forward to next Sunday and updating everyone when I am done! If you are interested the race will be televised and if you are interested in following along on ironman.com just go to Ironman Canada, Results and you can type in my last name or my bib # which is: 350. Thanks again for following my journey!

GOAL TIMES FOR RACE DAY:
Swim: 1hour and 20minutes
Transition: no more than 10minutes
Bike: 6hours
Transition: no more than 10 minutes
Run: 4hours and 15 minutes.

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Amy Coppens About Amy Coppens

I’m passionate about fitness, health and helping others achieve their goals and as a result their best life.

Comments

  1. Ann Normand says:

    Best of luck, Amy! I’m so inspired by you.

  2. I would wish you luck Amy, but I know you don’t need it. You have all of your family and friends behind you 100% of the way. We are beyond proud of you and are such an inspiration. If Jordanna and Myles grow up to have even half the determination, drive and spirit that you, Jacques, Elise and Rhys all have, Rob and I would be so proud. There is a reason they both look up to all of you. Remember the impact you have on everyone who knows you and let us help carry you through. Sending you all our love and support. You got this!

  3. What a great post Amy! It brought a tear or maybe a few to my eyes!!! This is such an amazing accomplishment!!! Congratulations and rock the race!!!

  4. An incredible post, Amy! I’m so excited for you and all you’ve accomplished – you’re an inspiration. You’re so ready – emotionally, physically and mentally. It’ll be your moment to shine.

    Now, go get ’em girl.

  5. Aww what a great post! Not sure if you have heard of George Sheehan but this made me think about success and a concept he has talked about in his books called arete which, in Greek, essentially means to become the best possible you. (‘Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be.’ – George Sheehan) I think that’s what the IM is, a way of acheiving this, a way to figure out who you are and a way to get perspective and strive for happiness… to achieve the best you. So no matter how Sunday goes (current forecast is a one million percent chance of awesome), you should know that with your attitude and heart you were an IM long before Sunday!

  6. beautiful blog post aimes, i wish i had seen it before your ironman, but it’s kinda neat to read it knowing now that you are now an official ironman!!

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