5 months, 3 sports, 1 dream realized

Today I became a triathlete. Today was the culmination of 10 weeks of training to be competitive as a swimmer, cyclist and runner. Today I felt that amazing sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line and heard them call out my name and saw 13 members of my family cheering me on. Not only was that feeling from finishing this race, but also because today marks exactly 5 months since I had surgery to remove my colon and replace it with a permanent ileostomy.

May 7 and October 7 will always be aligned in my mind. Both days I woke up before the crack of dawn and spent the morning running around, making sure I had everything I needed. Both mornings I rode with my husband Jarrod to Chapel Hill and talked about how nervous I was for the day ahead. Both days I was surrounded by the amazing support of my family and friends. Both days, there were moments where I wanted to say “Stop! I don’t want to do this anymore.” But both days, I followed through and I came out stronger on the other side.

Stephanie Hughes Ramblin' Rose triathlon race swim bike run stolen colon ostomy blog surgery ileostomyRunning this race today meant so much more than just getting in shape. To me, it was about showing the world, and mostly myself, that just five months after a major surgery, I am stronger than I was the five years preceding. I made a life altering decision in May, and it has led me down an amazing path. I see now, more than ever, how much it has changed my life. I also know that the support of my family and friends has continued to push me along.

The race was an adventure in and of itself, as most of it took place in the pouring rain. I will definitely share more on how the race actually played out in another entry.

For now, I will revel in the fact that my dream of living a normal extraordinary life has already begun.

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