Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Matters Most

When I was younger, mom would drive me 1-3 hours each way to bring me to hockey practice. I was the only girl in the league most times. Mom would stand by the frigid rink, covering her petite body in layers of sweaters to watch me (and pray) as I battled against the boys. She taught me to persevere, even when things looked impossible. 

My sweet lil’ mama and I
Mom also taught me to hold tight to the things that matter most: God and family. Nothing else really mattered. Not the shots blocked. Not the hockey games won...or lost. Not the little insignificant things, like traffic, weather, and bad hair days. Not my plans. 
My hockey days turned to triathlon days, but what matters most is still the same. What is important is treasuring family and being with the ones I love, especially the precious one who gave me life. 

What matters most to me is my mother, my best friend. 

Which is why I decided not to race the Rev3 Florida Half last weekend. 

Mom wanted me to race. She wanted to be there, cheering me on. She was so excited a couple of months ago when I told her that I’d be racing so close to home in FL. 

And then the doctors found the cancer. 

And all that I thought was important at the time… didn’t matter at all anymore. 

None of it. Not the bike. Not the training days. Not the race times. 

What mattered was being there for my mama. 

So instead I went to be with my mother after her surgery at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. I stayed by her side in that hospital room all weekend. I didn’t miss my bike, the water, or the pavement beneath my feet one bit. Every second with her was precious. 

Time with mom and family <3
After I told Coach Chip that I wouldn’t be racing the Rev3 Florida Half anymore so that I could be with my mom, he said he understood and told me that I was doing the right thing... and then asked if I wanted to do my own half-ironman in Northwest Arkansas the weekend after I got back from FL. He said he would map out the course and offer support the whole time. 

My response was something like, “Huh?? My own half-ironman? Wait seriously? ...huh??!!?”. 

And then I jumped with joy, shouted “heck yeah!”, and sent mom a message (she is ALWAYS my cheerleader and was disappointed when she knew she couldn’t make the REV3 race in FL ). 

At Rev3 Branson Half 
So on Sunday, November 17’th, I will be “racing”  70.3 miles in Northwest Arkansas with the support of my amazing friends and incredible coaches. We will be able to record some of the race so that I can send mom video. Even though she can’t be here for it, I know she will be cheering for me back home. :)

No, it isn’t an official race. But that’s not what matters. 

What matters most is God and my family. 

This one is for you, mama. 



  1. What a beautiful tribute to your Mother. With the Patty 70.3 coming up- I can just imagine what you are going through right now. Coach Chip is just a rare bird isnt he, to even think of such a thing, how kind of him. But, now you are in deep. Good luck and I hope the goggles are on and the shifter shifts. You are going to be great!

  2. Thank you for writing this. It made my day by reminding me of what is really important.

  3. That is simply awesome. Not the cancer of course, but the love and strength of family.

  4. To: Patty Schaller, Ironman / Fitness Coach
    Re: Twitter & Pro Triathlete / 5x Ironman Champion, @HeatherGollnick
    From: Darin Armstrong, Team LIVESTRONG

    ***Special #FF #Shoutout To: @PattySchaller 2x #Ironman (#Swim #Bike #Run) & #Fitness #Coach -

    Hello Patty,
    The above is what your #Twitter #FollowFriday #Shoutout will look like this Friday should you do a 'mutual' following with me on twitter. If you want changes made above, not a problem. ('Smart Individual Marketing/PR')

    Just a quick email to ask if you would be interested in a ‘mutual’ following on twitter that will be very beneficial to you. (Ex: I am providing continuous 'Anytime’ #RT's / Marketing support for all Professional Ironman Triathletes who follow me on Twitter. Over 42K quality folks at your access which is 'great exposure' for you & your sponsors. '5x Ironman Champion & Professional Triathlete @HeatherGollnick follows & is one of our biggest supporters as well as 'Hundreds' of other well known Professional Ironman Triathletes & Triathlon Coaches.) I am currently following you now and am awaiting your follow-back.

    All the very best to you & yours in 2014 Patty. I couldn't locate an update on your mother, but only hope she is doing well! Look forward to hearing from you...

    (PS. Patty, should you follow back, I'll be giving you a 'Stand Alone' #FollowFriday #Shoutout including your 'website' this Friday.'Great Exposure.')


  5. PS. Patty, (The biggest thing we share in common....Jesus!) That caught my eye in your bio for sure. Again, look forward to hearing from you... Darin