As the national anthem played, that feeling came over me. There is just something about listening to Star Spangled banner before a race that brings tears to my eyes. Every time.
As I stood on that shore with 2000 people, I felt so happy. Happy that I got to be there, that I got to be part of this. That this swim bike run thing we do allowed me to be part of this worldwide family of sorts. People that I have met at starting lines and crossed finish lines with. People that I don’t see for months or years but when we get to a random place for a random race, we find one another and it’s like no time has passed at all.
For 25 years I have gotten to be part of this, and I still feel the same as when it first began. I can’t believe I get to be here.
Had it not been for this sport and these events I would never have been part of this Ironman relay that had brought me to the shore of Lac Tremblant at Ironman Mont Tremblant that morning. This year this race had the unique option of entering as a relay.
Ironman as a relay? Heck yeah! All I had to do was SWIM!
I would never have known my teammates Jim and Karla had it not been for this. We would have never met. It went so well that we are headed back for another relay in 2020. I got an Ironman finisher’s medal for SWIMMING 2.4 miles. After 9 fulls, trust me this was welcome!
I didn’t have a real plan for the 2019 season. I had intended to begin my Doctorate in April. I registered for the program, paid my tuition and the very next day I withdrew and got a refund. I don’t need my Doctorate for what I love to do, teach in the nursing program I am teaching. Educationally I had reached the goal. I just needed to stop and say “You have reached the top of this mountain, we have to find another to climb“.
And that’s brought me back to this starting line.
After SwimRun Boston I jumped into a series of relays. I was the swimmer in our Mont Tremblant Ironman relay. I was the cyclist for my husband in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Tri. In all these years the only times I had ever competed as a relay was when I was pregnant!
I loved it.
I loved racing my bike again. To me success isn’t time or place or power objectives. Success was getting on the bike and racing it. Anyone can hit numbers but it’s a whole different ballgame to RACE. Man it felt good.
I loved being part of teams. In Mont Tremblant the day went so well. Our relay came prepared and our relay executed earning a combined time of 11:15. Jim rode so solid and Karla not only ran well, but she had the extra challenge of managing herself on site for 8 hours, and starting the marathon in the afternoon. She literally laid under a tree, hydrated and kept loose. And it paid off.
Even in triathlon you can have this camaraderie, it’s so powerful.
The whole season was so much fun. It was a part of this sport that I hadn’t truly experienced before.
As I began looking to the 2020 season I felt in my heart that I am ready to go big again. My triathlon career is long and storied. I have won big, I have lost big. I have done everything in between. I would trade none of that for anything in the world. The experiences we get to have shape us into who we are. And I like where I am and I love who I am because of all of the various roads I have traveled.
It’s also taught me what it takes to reach and reach big, and the kind of work needed to get there. Plans are easy to make. Goals are easy to set. But I know all too well what dark o’clock feels like in the middle of a snowstorm when I have been on the trainer for 2 hours and riding outdoors ever again seems like an impossibility due to snow and cold.
That is when the real magic happens. Because of where I have been I know that. I have embraced it and I have walked away from it.
It’s an embrace it year, I can feel it in my bones.
As we move towards 2020 I have some changes coming around here. This blog and site will be overhauled, because every few years we need a refresh and a reset.
I have been doing a LOT of writing this summer utilizing Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” exercises. I am going to be putting those up on the new site. I really love writing and in this space it’s been about sport and life, I write so much more than that. I would like to share that more as I develop my writing.
Change is a good thing. Chapters close and others open. As we have closed the chapter on our son’s high school years the next one has opened. We have watched him become a dedicated college student and transition into a Masters runner with some big targets of his own coming up this year.
As I stood on that shore with my hand over my heart, listening to our national anthem (and Canada’s), I was filled from head to toe with… as cliche as it sounds … gratitude. Not just to be standing there but for everything. The dark times and the bright times. They all lead us through what we need to experience to get to where we are today.
Today…. it’s a good place.