Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shocking...the one where I talk about me...

Well, friends. What an interesting couple of months it’s been and so much has changed since that first post over 16 months ago. Time marches on. There was a time that I felt life was galloping away from me, leaving me stuck between what I knew and what I’d hoped for. But here I am a year and a few months later, shaking my head and smiling because life is just that amazing.[I know...right?] I’ve been trying to find the right words for awhile now; so I’ll just have to start and see what I end up with. Like an old absent *ahem..Ggg* friend is wont to remind me…just write, just write, just write. No epiphanies…just a whole bunch of stuff buzzing around in my head.

As I mention in the earlier teasing posts…there was hardware. My particular brand of courage comes to me in fits and starts; when the well threatens to run dry I’m able to fill it up by sucking it up, answering only to myself and surrendering to the discipline of training [sometimes yielding painfully slow forward progress] and toeing the line at a race.

There were three races this summer. The first, started at a time when I spent at least as much energy holding myself together as I did going through the motions of the short little race. I was overwhelmed and slept for an entire afternoon afterwards, but I did it. The second was a familiar one, this being my third consecutive Alligator Creek Tri which resulted in a PR (personal record) and the best part was my girl PJ was there to cheer me on. I could not think of a better way to spend my 36th birthday. My best girls are runners, rockstars really, and when I made the move over to multisport I lost a little of the camaraderie we shared. They are far from me, but their girl power isn’t diminished by distance and I’m so glad P was there and brought her awesome family along as well. They spoil me and the truest gift is the time we are able to spend in each other's company. The third marked a huge milestone for me. One I didn’t even recognize until a day or two before the race.

One of the favorite and longest running races held in the area is sort of the season ending St. Louis area “Championship” race. 750 participants, it sells out very early in the season and is where a lot of the local speedsters duke it out in a little friendly competition. I got in this race last year, paid the fees, flew through the practice session the weekend before, but then my life as I knew it, imploded the night before the race. To be anywhere but with my babies that next morning would have been unfathomable. I was paralyzed under the weight of their sadness and rightfully so. There would be no refund, no do-over. There would, however, be a moving forward.

So cut to the race morning 2007. Stunning morning. Cool and calm. The realization that I was finally coming full circle and finishing what I didn’t really get to start a year ago was mostly bittersweet but also empowering. Everyone standing out there in the early morning sunshine had a different motivation to be there. Different life experiences that they were carrying with them, just as I was. Met with quiet determination and the knowledge that they had prepared the best they could and would deal with whatever the day threw at them. I didn’t run the race that day in 2006, but it took every bit of preparation and experience and luck and support that I had accumulated all the years prior to soldier on this past year and be able to toe the line in 2007.

Now, instead of quietly deflecting the questions as to why I was a DNS (did not start) at the 2006 race, I can now explain that I took third in my age group and how everything came together at the end of my racing season. My babies didn’t see the smile on my face as I crossed the finish line and accepted my plaque; but it was for them.

And I can't wrap it up without saying something about the determination of the wheelchair athletes I saw during the race. All under the age of 20, they put in the miles just like the rest of us; but with bodies that don't always cooperate. There are times in every race, hell, even most training days where it would be easy to quit. Just walk it in. Those kids are stronger than I can ever hope to be and I find that incredibly motivating. And humbling. And it makes me proud to be competing shoulder to shoulder, on the same playing field.

Part 2: Bike love...of a different sort.

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Rock on superstar!

Brilliantly written. Excellent!

When did said race take place?

4:15 PM  
Blogger mimikatemom said...

I think you know...

I'll talk about that too. You fall in the "wayfaring strangers" part. ;)

5:18 PM  
Blogger bstrouf said...

More please...

9:39 PM  
Blogger JJ said...

Ok, pick us a race for late next September or early October. I need something to work towards. :)

12:53 AM  

I thought so! :)

Nicely done.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

great season. you continue to inspire me to push my limits and face my fears, and I know that you don't realize this...but you're such an amazing inspiration to everyone out there.

you inspire all of us that read your blog, you inspire the ones that raise it with you, you inspire the guy passing you in his truck saying to himself...I've got to get my bike out soon.

thank you.

9:28 AM  
Blogger frydog said...

Thanks. Hugs and keep on keepin' on.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...


12:46 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I've been trying to think of something cool to say, but I guess I'm just glad to see you're doing well. Yay!

12:00 AM  

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