Fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

I'm joining my friends to walk in the Out of the Darkness Seattle Walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in October.  This cause is VERY important to me, and I hope you'll help me and my team raise as much money as possible, because the AFSP needs more funding to help save lives!

A little background about my connection with suicide...

I have suffered severe depression for the last three years since I was hit head on by a SUV while training on my bicycle.  During these three years I have attempted suicide multiple times,  committed suicide once but managed to stay alive.

I still struggle, but I'm making a conscious effort of sharing my struggle with mental health disorders, depression, and suicide.  I share very personal details of my fight so people will wake up and see how serious this problem really is!  I want to spark change and action, because I'm done seeing this nation continually sweep mental health under the rug to resolve itself.

I'm raising money for the AFSP because I know first hand they need more funding.  I want it so anyone who calls the Lifeline number to connect with someone immediately and to never have to wait on hold!  Every second counts when someone is on the edge, and they need a human instantly, no waiting.  We need more people to pick up that phone to talk to that person.  We need more advancements in medication that doesn't have a side effect of suicide to help people in need of it.  I've tried a couple of anti-depressant and each one resulted in me trying to commit suicide.  A drug that is supposed to help fight depression should be killing people!

This is my story, and my purpose going forward, and I will not rest until we fully prevent suicide! Please join me, and please help make a difference by helping me reach my goal by donating to my fundraiser page.  All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.

Thank you for your support!

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Something has been on my mind since a few days after I finished Ironman Coeur d'Alene (IMCDA) last August.  I haven't had the desire to touch my bike.  I literally want nothing to do with it.  I've been ignoring the issue this entire time, because I honestly have no clue why, or how to fix it.  It's just been festering and building, and I know it's one of the reasons for my deep depressive falls.  Ignoring it, clearly isn't working.

I don't know where this is coming from.  Before getting into this rut, the only thing I wanted to do was jump on my bike, and go for a ride.

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motivationErin Hamilton
a new team!

I am so proud, and honored to announce that I’ll be racing for the Trans National Women’s Cycling Team! I’m very excited to represent the transgender community, this team, and our awesome sponsors for the 2018 cycling and triathlon season! 

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2017 has been quite a year for sports, and many firsts! This year was my first doing triathlons, each in of itself brought new and interesting challenges for me to overcome. I learned how to swim, and was able to get to a level where I can confidently swim in races. I also got back into running, something I haven’t really done since high school track and cross country.

Most importantly this year I completed my first Ironman 140.6. One of the hardest sporting achievements I’ve done to date! It was a very proud moment in my life, and one I hope to repeat in the near future.

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sportsErin Hamilton
a new project

It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks.  I recently took an internship opportunity with a fabulous media company, Live Feisty!  It allows me to explore a brand new field that I've never worked in before; podcast media, and journalism!

I work on their newest podcast (released today), If We Were Riding.  Right now I just edit the show, but I hope to expand my responsibilities with the show, and company in the future!

If We Were Riding, is a triathlon-ish podcast.  It's an extension of a newsletter written by one of the hosts, Kelly O'Mara.  The hosts, Sara and Kelly, talk about topics in the newsletter, and expand on those topics with their own personal experiences, and perspectives.

If you enjoy swimming/biking/running, and think equality for woman in sports is important, and would like to a little inside baseball of a professional triathlete ... Give it a listen!

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personalErin Hamilton
this is me

This last year has been an amazing year.  My continue progress with my brain injury recovery, entering the world of triathlon, training and finishing my first Ironman!  One thing has always weighed heavily in my head.  It has felt like I've been living two separate lives; my everyday life, and my athlete/athletic life.  You're probably wondering by now...

What's so different?

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personalErin Hamilton

The Seattle Marathon is the last race on my 2017 calendar, and my 2018 season probably won't start until like March, if not later.

Do I say screw it and do the marathon, and deal with the ramifications and spend the entire off season working this issues out, or follow the physical therapist's recommendations and not take the risk?

I don't know what to do.  The entire reason for doing the Seattle Marathon, was to redeem myself from my Ironman run disaster.  But if my leg/feet issue flares up during the marathon, then I'm walking after the first or second hour.

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runningErin Hamilton
living and training with a brain injury

It's difficult to understand brain injuries until you have one, and it's a club you really don't want to be a member of.  It's a type of injury that is fairly easy to identify with a number of common symptoms, such as, difficulty remembering new information, difficulty thinking clearly, fuzzy or blurred vision, dizziness, headache, sensitivity to noise and/or light, issues with balance, drastic mood swings … just to list a few.  Determining the extent of damage, and it's long term effect, on the other hand is extremely difficult.  Unless you have a brain bleed, nothing is visible on MRI or CT, two of the most common methods of imagining the brain.  It's really a new frontier for the medical world.  We simply can't wait for people suffering from brain injuries to die, in order to physically look at their brain and see the CTE, or other damage that's a result from head injuries.  They're just starting to gather the data, and test how to find these problems while the person is still alive, which can lead to better rehabilitation, and change any many full contact sports/jobs.

This single event changed my life, and the lives of everyone around me forever.

That was two years ago, and here we are today.  I'm still recovering, still healing, still learning limits and how to adjust my life to accommodate my on going TBI and symptoms.

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Post Ironman depression is very real I'm learning.  Nine months of non-stop training, it was pretty much a part-time job for me, to suddenly having a blank calendar and a lot of time on my hands.  It's a tough adjustment, and you start slipping pretty quickly.  It really doesn't help hearing my coach, and tri friends telling me to not do anything for a couple of weeks to recover.

I'm still trying to fight out of this little funk.  I'll also admit, it's not just post-Ironman stuff that is knocking me down.  Events in my life haven't helped the situation either.

So what do I do?

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running, ironmanErin Hamilton

This Sunday marks the end of a nine month journey to becoming an Ironman finisher.  So much work, blood, sweat, and tears to finally reach this point, and it's amazing how far I've come.  It's best to talk about what pushed me to make Ironman Coeur d'Alene my goal.

Back in 2015, while riding my bike home, I was hit head on by a SUV.  For someone reason, the woman who was driving this SUV decided on that day, and that time to cut a corner, and plow right into me.  I've been told that I was thrown off my bike a good 30 to 40 feet ... every part of my head took the blunt of that distance covered.  If it wasn't for my helmet, I would have been dead on the scene.

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ironman, personalErin Hamilton
lake meridian olympic triathlon

Despite being two weeks out from Ironman Coeur d'Alene, and with the disaster that was the Ellensburg Olympic triathlon ... I felt like I needed another Olympic distance race under my belt.  With how I performed, and my results in Ellensburg, I was extremely worried about Ironman.  My confidence after that race was so low.  I needed to know if Ellensburg was a fluke.  So on a whim, and not in the training plan, I signed up for Lake Meridian.  Thankfully, I was able to put to rest Ellensburg, and prove to myself that I am ready for Ironman.  Coming out of the Lake Meridian triathlon ... my confidence, and determination, couldn't be any higher, and I'm glad I decided to race!  Getting this high two weeks before Ironman is exactly what I needed!

I had the most run in a race in a long time.  I had a smile on my first the entire time, singing to myself, laughing, and just having fun.  I need to do that more often!

Let's get into this awesome race!

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ellensburg olympic triathlon

Over the weekend, July 22nd, I competed in my second triathlon race in Ellensburg, WA, and my first olympic distance.  I knew going in that this race was going to be a rough one.  Having done a 2.4 mile swim race the night before (July 21st), and to drive over to eastern Washington the morning of the race.  So very little sleep, and sitting in a car for an under two hour drive to get to the race on time ... not a good setup for race day.  But, you do the best you can with the situation your dealt with.  

I was a little disappointed with the size of the field, only 14 women started the olympic distance compared to the 39 in the sprint.  I think it was this was the first year for the olympic distance, which makes sense for the low turn out.  Regardless, would love to see more women out there for these races!  Hopefully next year there will be more.

Let's jump right into things.

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friday night swim race (2.4 mile)

Second and final swim race of the year.  This time entered into the 2.4 mile swim, using it to see where things are at for the Ironman swim.

This race was eye opening, and pushed a lot of limits mentally.  It showed a side of me that I've never seen before ... I decided to call it, and leave the race before the last turn.  It's something I've never done in competition, and it took me a while to see what I learned from this race.

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Let's face it, getting into workout ruts is inevitable, no matter what kind of activity you're doing.  It can come from multiple avenues.

All this rinse and repeat can take a toll on your motivation.  It happens.  I've experienced this a number of times during my Ironman training.  I can't count the number of times I just wanted to throw my swimsuits, bikes, and running shoes into the trash.

I know a lot of people deal with this, so I figured I would share some of my tricks to help reset my thinking, and get me out of my workout ruts.

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Six weeks until Ironman Coeur d'Alene 😳😨!

The last month or so things have been really challenging.  My body is tired, my mind is tired ... I've reached that point where August 27th just needs to get here faster so I can return to a "normal" life, haha!  Training is getting hard, and getting that motivation going to get out there is pretty much depleted.  I reached out to my coach, needing something to help.  She gave me a pretty good idea.  She told me to put something positive, some kind of message, or a few words on my bikes top tube, so every time I look down I see those words, or message and remind myself what I'm doing this for.

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ironmanErin Hamilton
friday night swim race

I didn't make the same mistake I made at the Lake Wilderness triathlon, starting out way too fast, and trying to follow the other swimmers around me.  This time I went out with a pace I'm comfortable with, and could sustain for the whole 1.2 miles.  I felt much better at the beginning, compared to being dead exhausted at Lake Wilderness.

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