It’s really tempting to go into some ‘deep-thoughts’ writing on the inspiration and significance of my tattoo, but the truth is really simple. I wanted to permanently record for myself a reminder of what I can accomplish, and the incredible experience of Hawaii with my girls and racing the Ironman World Championships. If others like it, that’s great. If not, that’s totally fine too. This is for me, but I’m happy to share with those who are interested in the ink.
If you google “m-dot ironman tattoo” you’ll see all sorts of different versions of the m-dot that athletes have created. After completing the Ironman in Louisville in 2013 I thought about getting the tat, but couldn’t come to terms with branding my body exclusively with a corporate trademark image (regardless of what it signified). The road to Kona however, was so difficult to navigate, that once we got there and began to experience the people, culture, history, island, and overall mystique of the World Championships, I fell in love with all of it. Seeing and learning about the Polynesian (Samoan and Maori) tattoos and their meanings (http://www.apolynesiantattoo.com/) opened my mind up to doing a little something more.
In my discussions with the artist I started with the idea of an armband, within which the M-dot could be centred. After around 6 hours of design, with all of the elements I wanted to cram into my little armband, I ended up with half a sleeve. In the M-dot, you can see the swim, handcycle and racing chair (my swim, bike, run). Around the M-dot there is a Manta Ray, Turtle and Shark. We did a night swim with Manta Rays, swam with sea turtles at the neighbourhood beach, and got in the ocean with the dolphins. We didn’t swim with the sharks, but they are undoubtedly cooler than dolphins so I was totally fine with the artistic license in design. Also within the tattoo are the initials for Sabrina, Chloe and Zara, and the number 16.
Many people have asked if it hurt. While it was definitely uncomfortable, it was actually empowering to know that I was in control of this experience. My nerve pain has been especially bad the last couple of months, so I figured that if I’m going to be experiencing pain, I might as well have something cool to show for it.
Thanks to my girls for their design input, and my good friends Leah and Carole, and sister, Doralyn, who all have very beautiful ink going on and gave me great advice and the needed encouragement to take the plunge.