As President of The Fellowhsip of Extraordinary Women, I recently kicked off FEW’s Extraordinary Woman of the Month by interviewing an AWE-INSPIRING woman who I am also blessed to call FAMILY. Amanda Geissler is my cousin, a world traveler and an avid athlete. And I must tell you…the word ordinary isn’t even in her vocabulary!
Just a few days ago, on 9-11-16, I got to watch her cross the finish line of the IRONMAN Wisconsin race. The IRONMAN was on her bucket list for years and now she’s checked it off! This grueling race requires athletes to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and finish up with a full 26.2 mile marathon! (Yes, all in one day.) Amanda accomplished all of this in 12 hours and 52 minutes!
Although these races are offered in various locations in the U.S. and abroad, Amanda chose the course in Madison, WI, one of the toughest IRONMAN courses in the country! Also noteworthy, the IRONMAN WI is the only IM race in the country that requires all athletes to enter the water, tread water until everyone is in position and then start the race from there! Amanda said she was getting kicked and hit the whole time she swam. (Check out the crazy picture of the swimmers below! Those are all arms and legs!)
Well, I could go on and on about this amazing IRONMAN, but I’d rather have you hear from her! Here is my interview with Amanda. I LOVE her answers and LOVE her huge spirit! Be inspired, be challenged, be extraordinary!
Name: Amanda Geissler
Grew up in Thorpe, Wisconsin
Currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota
Current position: Sales Representative
Kim: In your own words, what do you think it is that makes a woman extraordinary?
Amanda: What makes a woman extraordinary is easy to describe- it’s confidence. (Please don’t confuse easy to describe with easy to be). When you are confident and believe in who you are, who you really are down to your core, the rest follows. You not only live your life with love and integrity but you automatically inspire others to do the same.
Kim: Who would you say are 1 or 2 extraordinary people who have inspired you?
Amanda: My family has always inspired and supported me to dream big. Even if it seems borderline crazy.
Kim: What would you say are your three most extraordinary accomplishments?
1. Ironman- both physically and mentally
2. Backpacking Latin America solo- taught me who I was
3. Maintaining life lasting friendships- I’m a huge believer that to have great friends, you have to be a good friend. I’m proud of my lasting friendships with friends and family.
Kim: When you crossed the IRONMAN WI finish line, what were you thinking and feeling?
Amanda: Crossing the finish line… Wow. Where to begin… I don’t remember thinking at all. All I remember is feeling. Feeling so intensely. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so much at one time before. Excited, proud, relief, sad, exhausted,… Etc. Mostly, I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy. Pure joy.
Kim: How many hours would you say you spent training for the IRONMAN?
Amanda: I started physically preparing for Sept 11, 2016, in October of 2015. Mentally, I think my entire life in sports, college basketball, running multiple marathons and life-in-general prepared me for the day. As far as training hours go, physically I was probably training 15-25 hours a week in the bulk of my training. That was six days a week, the majority being on weekends. Let’s just say I wasn’t waking up and joining my friends for Sunday brunch. Additionally, like any large goal in life, even if you’re not physically doing something to reach it, you’re always preparing for it. From what I ate, to how many hours I slept to making sure I stretched enough. Everything I did and thought about for 10 months contributed to my preparation for Sept 11, 2016. (This is my favorite part of the interview!) I read a book over the summer called, “Resilience,” by Eric Gretchen. Gretchen is a retired Navy SEAL. He explained that when we went to SEAL training there were 255 people that started but only 22 actually become SEALs. The rest quit! However, he could only remember a handful of men that quit during the actual exercise. Most of them quit while standing at attention at the beginning of the day, thinking about the day ahead, what it held and wondering when they will sleep or eat again or what they might go through. The idea of the task as a whole was too overwhelming so they quit. That’s how I feel about a marathon or IRONMAN. The entire event is overwhelming but if you stay in the moment or concentrate on each mile or even each block, it’s doable.
Kim: What kind of impact do you strive to have on other women?
Amanda: I don’t think there’s anything better than women sticking together. If I inspired one woman out there to lace up her shoes and walk one mile, I feel it was a success. With a little hard work and a lot of heart; anything is possible.
Kim: What is something on your bucket list that you are yet to do that you consider extraordinary?
Amanda: Oh man, I have so many things to still do! The most important one for me is #16 (Yes, I have them in a book and numbered. I’ve completed 8 of 31 and started this list 9 years ago.) #16 says: “Never get out of touch with my sister.” No matter how many finish lines I cross or stamps I have in my passport, this one beats all of that. Life is about experiences and I would never live my life the same without my sister.
Kim: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Amanda: I love so many quotes but this is the one I’ve read every day training for the Ironman: “Dreams, if they’re any good, are always a little bit crazy.” -Ray Charles
Well, I told you ‘ordinary’ was not in her vocabulary! And she didn’t even mention that she ran the Great Wall of China Marathon! Women like Amanda are the ones you want in your corner in life because they will push you toward greatness just by being themselves.
Amanda’s bold, courageous and extraordinary accomplishments have inspired me to dream bigger and act on those dreams. How about you?
How has Amanda’s story impacted you? Let me know in the comments section.
Thank you for inspiring us, Amanda!
Inspired to be Extraordinary,
Enjoy these pics of Amanda and her fans at IRONMAN WI!