"My family is really fretting about this whole thing," the 24-year-old said. "My mom and my grandma are terrified about it. We have to call my grandma as soon as I'm done and tell her I'm OK."
Holly's mom is even flying up Sunday from Twin Falls to see her daughter in action.
"She's not going to see the swim, which is a good thing because that's what she's really terrified about," Holly said with a laugh. Give credit to her husband, Justin, for scaring his wife's parents.
"It's kind of his idea to do this," she said with a smile and glance at her husband, sitting next to her in the kitchen of their Dalton Gardens home. Justin, 26, also will compete in Ironman. While it will be his second, it will be her first, so he had to do just a little convincing to talk her into signing up.
"I did it five years ago, and we had been talking about it last year. She wanted to do one eventually," Justin explained. "It's kind of motivating watching everyone down there. We were in the moment and signed up. I'm excited for it."
Holly is too, kind of.
"I'm pretty nervous. This is my first time," she said. "I did a sprint triathlon last year and that's pretty much my only experience. I think I can finish it. That's the important thing."
Holly, a kindergarten teacher at Betty Keifer Elementary, and Justin, an engineer at the Idaho Transportation Department, trained up to 20 hours a week to prepare for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.
Justin, a graduate of Lakeland High School, completed the 2004 Ironman in about 12 hours and 40 minutes. He volunteers every year and was ready to try again.
"I just figure it's my health plan to keep me in check," he said.
They believe their training time has been good for their marriage.
"We haven't had any arguments," Holly laughed. "We have put a lot of time in together and we encourage each other, so I think it's been very positive."
The couple like to test themselves in Idaho's outdoors. Both enjoy rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and rock climbing.
Why not add Ironman to the list?
"We had talked about it for a while," Holly said. "I wanted to do it eventually. In my mind I was thinking, start small with the Coeur d'Alene triathlon, then a half Ironman, then maybe eventually the whole thing. He said he was signing up, I said, 'OK I might as well.' It was so spur-of-the-moment I didn't have time to think."
Holly did admit that there are those days she questions her husband for talking her into it.
"I say, 'This is all your fault' when I'm exhausted after teaching and training," she laughed.
But, she admits, after volunteering last year she wanted to try, too.
"It was very motivating, exciting, that made it easy to convince me to do it," Holly said. Justin calms her worries by telling her he had the same jitters his first time. Once you're in the water, just keep going.
Holly said Justin has been "very motivating" throughout her preparation for Sunday's 140.6-mile adventure.
"There's no way I could do this if he wasn't pushing me along. He's really good at keeping me upbeat and excited about it. He's probably the main drive of the whole thing."
She paused for a moment, then looked at her husband once more with a grin.
"I figure when it's done it will be a good accomplishment," she said, "and then I can thank him.”