Saturday, April 5, 2008

Marit's Thank You Story

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved triathlon.
(Katie P, Marit, Ludi, Katy R at Santa Rosa Island Triathlon, October 2007)

She loved to swim (even though she was afraid of sharks!)

She loved to bike (even though she was afraid of incliment weather - and would therefore bike inside on occasion!)
(Liz and Marit, at the top of Mount Palomar, California. March 14, 2008)

And she loved to run (even though she was afraid of hurting herself by running too much or too hard - on occasion she would have to slow down and relax!)
(Timberlake Half Marathon, finish sprint! November, 2008)

She loved training in general (Even if she looked silly while practicing!)
(Yoga practice, March 2008)

She had the BEST training partners in the WORLD, and learned SO MUCH from them.
(Leslie, Jen, Mary, Liz, Ashley - Camp HTFU - February 2008, South Carolina. Running at Paris Mountain)

And more...
(Chris, Sherpa Thomas, Liz, Marit. California, March 2008, before the eipic climb of Palomar).

And still more...
(Ludi and Marit, post swim smiles! January 2008)

And plenty of others who she couldn't catch on film - because they were simply too fast!

She had the best family ever, who loved and supported her, and urged her to follow her dreams
(Nathaniel and Marit, USMC Birthday Ball, November 2007. Ooh-Rah!)

(Karyna, the Little Sister, and Marit, The Big Sister, making cookies. March, 2008)

And a House Monster that loved her very much
(Tabbitha, the fat, grey cat, sitting on Marit's lap. December, 2007)

Marit's parents, husband, sister, cat, in-laws, and friends (regular friends AND blogger friends) were SO SUPPORTIVE of her, of her dreams of triathlon excellence, and she was so happy because of it. Yes, Marit was happy, lucky, and felt grateful for all of the support. It made her smile!
(Marit at Clearwater 70.3 Awards Ceremony. Big smile after recieving her award, November 2007)

Marit had a GREAT coach, who made her train hard nearly every day!
(Coach Jennifer Harrison, the poster-girl for Waffle House - but only after a hard workout)

And together, they climed mountains...
(Jen and Marit, at the top of Panther Mountain, SC. Camp HTFU. I could not have made it up the hill without Jen's encouragement. She was simply incredible)

Marit worked very hard. Sometimes, she even required a post-workout ice bath!
(Post workout ice bath. January 2008. Heat wave!)

While in South Carolina at Camp HTFU, ELF invited Marit for an epic training adventure out in California!
(Lederhosen Liz. Swiss Miss or Super Sonic Biker? A bit of both, I think)

Marit jumped at the chance, and in March 2008, flew out to beautiful, sunny - and hilly! - San Diego, California.
(Citruis groves, on the way to Mount Palomar. We climbed that ridgeline, and then continued up and up and up...)

Marit knew it wouldn't be easy, but she was determined to work her hardest.

She climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more. And didn't stop along the way to take pictures - even though the view was phenominal. And her body, mind, legs, and soul were screaming at her to stop. 1:27 of continuous climbing, and she was at the top.

Only at the very top of Mount Palomar, did she take a photo of the famous Observatory.
(Bigger in real life. Thank goodness she was wearing sunglasses!)

Marit was literally in the clouds:
(View accross the ridgeline on the top of Palomar. Clouds were sweeping over the top, and the views over the cliffs were stunning).

She had never climbed anything so difficult, so long, so grueling. She returned a changed athlete - for the better. It was truly an epic climb.
(Liz and Marit, post Palomar. One of the most incredible days of Marit's life).

Sunday morning, Marit, Liz, Cat, Chris, Sherpa Thomas, and Brad swam, and then enjoyed a great breakfast at Einsteins.
(Line at the Coffee Counter. Chris, Cat, Brad, Sherpa Thomas. Liz had already consumed half her coffee. It was crucial!)

Later that day, The Group headed out for a wonderful bike ride along the Coast, and then took a paved trail back to Home Base.
(Photo from the back of the pack, beautiful ride on a beautiful Sunday).

Everyone in California worked hard, including the dishwasher!
(Dishwasher, or Water Bottle Washer? You decide)

On Monday morning, Marit, Liz, Chris, and Thomas headed out for a final ride. On the return trip home, Marit crashed on this beautiful stretch of highway 101
(Marit broke her Sacrum, but didn't let the crash break her spirit. She still thinks this stretch of road is one of the most beautiful in California)

With the help of a very special friend, ELF - Marit made it to the hospital, and spent 5 days recovering from emergency surgery. Liz stayed by her side for the first 2 days, supporting, loving, and just being there for Marit. Marit was grateful to Liz, grateful to their friendship, grateful for how supportive Liz was.
(Liz at the computer, smiling away, with the words "PAIN" on her back. Typical triathlete and triathlon coach!)

Eventually Marit's Dad and her sweetheart Nathaniel made it out to California, and Liz headed back to snowy Chicago. Marit's time in California went by quickly, but she was sad. She missed her home, her many friends, her Mom and sister, and last (but not least), her kitty cat Tabbitha.
(Tabbitha, the fat, grey cat and House Monster extrordinaire asleep on the Ugly Green Recliner)

Meanwhile, Marit's wonderful coach, Jen, mobilized people from all over the internet. Some of them knew Marit. Many others, she had never met. But well wishes, greetings, heartfelt get-well wishes poured into Marit's blog, Jen's website, and Elizabeth's blog. Marit was so overwhelmed, extremeley touched by the caring and compassion she recieved from so many whom she had never met. These well-wishes, these "good vibes" made her feel better, and she read many emails and blogs that Liz printed out while she stayed in the hospital. When things got tough, Marit re-read these emails, re-read the wishes of support from strangers and friends alike.

And slowly, but surely, Marit began to heal. The phone calls she recieved in the hospital helped take her mind off the pain - people she had never talked to before, called to check up and see how she was doing. She was grateful and extremely touched. Eventually she was released from the hospital, and on Friday March 28, Marit flew home to Pensacola, Florida. Although her scar and lower back looked funny - Ness had dubbed it the Extendo Crack - Marit was proud of her scar.
(Marit's post-surgery scar, March 29, 2008)

Unbeknown to her, Jen - the amazing coach - had begun a secret project for Marit. With stealth-like secrecy, Jen began a special gift collection to help Marit with her recovery. Answering Jen's call - many bloggers and internet friends - readers of Marit's blog, contributed towards Marit's "get well care package."

Marit didn't have a clue, as she was "out of it" (rhetorically speaking)
(Post long run, Marit - after running 2:45, in preparation for Ironman Arizona. Wow - very tired!)

Shortly after returning home, Marit recieved a very special package in the mail. She was very surprised!
(The box was bigger than Tabbitha! But that didn't keep The House Monster away. Nathaniel even suggested that after the box was emptied, Tabbitha could join Nermal in Abu Dabi. Marit vehemently disagreed. And thus, Tabbitha remained The House Monster).

Marit was SO EXCITED! She could hardly wait to open the box!

And, she had help...

Even Nathaniel - the Man in The Flight Suit - wanted to be in on the action!
(Okay - so a little messy! But, when The Man in The Flight Suit studies, his papers and gear go all over the place. Almost like a tornado, or whirlwind.)

Marit continued opening the many surprises that were in the box. And she couldn't stop smiling...

Even Tabbitha couldn't help herself.

Marit was so happy, so touched, very tearful, but overall extatic!

And saying "Thank You" simply doesn't do it justice...

Beccause the wonderful people who contributed towards Marit's care package have no idea how much their gifts truly meant. After opening the wonderful box, Marit was so inspired, so motivated, that she headed out the University of West Florda track for her first Power Walk since returning to Pensacola. The support of these friends motivated Marit to jump start her recovery.

And though she isn't quite sure of how long her recovery will take, Marit knows the future looks bright - and she can't wait to take it, step by step.

Thank you to Jen, Elizabeth, Beth, Katie W-J, Mary, Danielle P, Mira, Cat, Mel, Elaine, Seeley, Courtenay, Terri, Alicia, and Katie O. I love you guys all!

Thanks also to Leslie for the Vemma - this will also help tremendously for my recovery!

Leslie - my Ironman Arizona Soul Sister. You will do great, my friend. I will be thinking of you all day! Great Curlye - swift winds (tailwinds), and flowing seas (not too choppy!) You will do great!
(Ashley in the chair, and Leslie smiling next to me. Camp HTFU 2008.)

A big thank you to Nathaniel, my parents, family, friends, Jen, blogger buddies, training partners, and everyone who has supported me. The road will be long, but I am determined to return in full force, raring to go and hungrier more than ever. Everyone's support has been simply fantastic - and I thank you all! With much love!


Anonymous said...

Ok, this is the NICEST and most inspiring post I have read in a very long time, MARIT. WOW you did a great job on this one....I was riveted to the computer EVEN WHILE the twins jumped all over me!! I LOVE the pics!!! WOO HOO! SOON...VERY SOON....It was the least we could do.
Jen H. :))

Sally said...


Thank you. This is wonderful. Warm and Meaningful. My thoughts are with you. Your smiles in victory and in recovery are all wonderful. Thank you.

Trigirlpink said...

Oh man.. that was VERY entertaining especially with all the photos. Awesome!

Beth said...

What a great post Marit!! Love all the pictures. And I just love the fact that you aren't feeling sorry for yourself or getting too down. It's very, very hard to do. And I'm sure you have some moments. But you are doing sooooo awesome! Next photo story will be of your triumphant return! :)

Mel said...

WOW, this is so very nice and I love the stories and the photo's are PRICELESS...You are ALL heart Marit....Like I say to everything: BABY STEPS...Good for you walking the track and begging to get in the will be healed quicker than you can say "Holy cow Batman" :)

Danni said...

Marit, You don't know me but I follow your adventures through your blog. I love your attitude towards what happened, I love that you are not giving up on your dream just because of a "bump" on the road.
I know you'll heal fast and I know you will come back even tougher than before.
Loved all the pics!

Cy said...

Marit-This was such a great post. For someone who recently joined the blogging world and found your blog as a result of your accident, it was nice to hear and see (Great Photos!) the background information. You're wonderful attitude and supportive network will indeed bring you back Stronger than ever. Keep up the great work!

Marni said...

I really liked your slide show. Hope you get back to things as soon as possible!! :) I love your spirit! even when you are hurt, it is contagious to want to be happy with you :)

Anonymous said...

Marit-this is an amazing post. I love it! All your pictures are amazing! I'm speechless...that doesn't happen very often.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marit!

Sarah said...


You have a real gift of being able to share your heart and energy through your words and photos (and smile!). That was really touching and it's a wonderful reminder of how good people can really be.

You are truly an inspiration! One day at a time...

Marni said...

that was great! Thanks for taking the time to put up the pics. I'm sure it made you feel good as you saw all the great things you have accomplished and now you can look back and be even more determined to come back strong!

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