Did that just happen?“You need to go to Lake Placid.” My husband announced Friday afternoon. My heart leaped in hope and fell in guilt. I told him I couldn’t go. I can’t leave him home post op by just one week. He hadn’t driven yet.
“I will drive to Wegmans and get a sub. If I can, you go.” he said. “You need to be there for your athletes”.I did and I didn’t. They were prepared. I had no doubt. Maybe I needed to be there for me. Because I always go. Because I want to see their faces as they run up the hill with less than 2 miles to go to the finish line. Because I need to see them cross that line. Because I know that it has nothing to do with the start to finish aspect of this whole Ironman thing, but the 365 days that came before it. Little did I know at the moment though…. that it absolutely DID have to do with start to finish this time.
So he went to Wegmans. I held my breath debating. He told me to go. I wanted to go. I was afraid to go. What was the right thing to do? He planned on going to work on Monday. What if he has another night of pain?He came home, his trip a success. “Go” he told me. I hesitated. He insisted.
30 minutes later Luc and I were traveling down interstate 90 on our way. Feeling excited yet guilty. The great thing about where I stay in Placid…. is who I am with. The Score-This family. We were in a beautiful house just down from Rich Clark Hill with family. I was able to get out early for my own training (nothing is better than the loop at 6am!) and Luc got his in as well.Lake Placid was phenomenal. It always is. My athletes killed it on the course. They dealt with the most horrific weather conditions I have ever seen there. In 20 years of racing I don’t think I have ever encountered thunder and lightening, a mid race change to a swim…. but they have. They did amazing. Tim V. even made the newspaper (our kit was designed by Alex Tong. He’s incredible).
I sat on that hill, as I do every year…. and I watched them round the oval. This race encompassed not just what happened the 365 days before it…. but what happened from start to finish. During the season we get to know each other. We become a team, and we become a lot like family.
A year ago I left a bigger coaching company that I was happy and thriving at, to come back out on my own. It was me, not them. I remain friends with almost all of them. They are wonderful, always have been and always will be. I just felt like I needed to coach this way. To this group. To these people.
I know I should charge more for coaching. I know I should take on more athletes. But this way is the way I am passionate about coaching. My way. A small reasonable number of athletes to work with. Athletes who I know on a personal level. Who know me on a personal level. Who know they can contact me at 4am with a question or a joke. I charge a rate that I believe is fair and don’t close out someone who doesn’t make six figures. When I began this sport people were incredibly kind and giving to me. I want to give that back.
I could easily do this full time. But I am a nurse. And if all that I did was triathlon I would lose touch with the other side of that finish line. Where people dream of beating cancer, not Ironman finish lines. Where mothers hold their babies hands with just one finger begging for them to live. Where first steps after losing legs are so much more important than a Kona spot. In this new chapter of my nursing career, teaching…. I get to be part of the education and development of new nurses. Students who have their own dreams. Students who may hear my voice in the back of their head at 2am in a trauma bay.
I need nursing to keep me grounded and to help me give back to a world that has been incredibly kind to me. If it was only triathlon I fear I would get caught up in a world that… at the end of the day…. would cause me to lose touch with reality.
I’ve been a triathlete for 20 years and a nurse for 15….. and I will stay one forever.
I have pulled in more favors for Curt during the past 4 weeks than I know I deserve. So many areas of our lives have given to us…. I need ways I can give back. Through coaching the way I do, through being a nurse…. it’s just my way. It’s the way that is fulfilling to my heart and soul. It might not be a great business plan. I don’t live in a big house, I don’t drive a fancy car…. but I have a richer life than I deserve.
We came home on Monday feeling like we just spent the weekend in a dream. I enjoyed showing Luc this side of Ironman. He’s grown up in this sport. His first Ironman finish line was at 11 months and his last one was last August. Some parents have school photos on their wall demonstrating their children growing up. We have Luc growing up through Ironman finish lines. Because this sport has loved him and helped raise him as well.
As I write this Curt is sleeping soundly. He’s healing. Luc is out running. The kitchen is clean. I keep staring at the photos my athletes keep putting up on social media of Ironman Lake Placid. Their faces, their smiles…. say it all.
I am such a proud coach.
And a lucky girl too.