There is just something about the Adirondacks. The people are laid back and conscientious. Everyone around here uses glass instead of plastic. There is a little more care when they slide you your cup of coffee across the counter.
“Have a nice day.” They say…. and they mean it. They look you in the eye and they take the pause. And when you say it back to them… you mean it too.
The cabin we are staying in has no television, like last year. We prefer it that way. We spend our day out and about. Catching up with athletes and friends, fishing, swimming, riding, running. Hiking. Anything but being trapped by a screen. To be fair, we aren’t a TV sort of family at baseline, but across the blue line, it’s like we are with our people.
Here … we share a beer or two but no one takes it to excess. You can sit down and enjoy the deep taste of a good lager and not worry about it getting crazy.
I appreciate people like that.
As always it’s good for the soul out here. To know that Luc feels it means we have done something extremely right with our parenting (or maybe really really wrong!). While we were running he pointed and said to me “Mom, look at the mountains!” and that made me smile. I want him to always appreciate that. I want him to appreciate that life is more than the silly things we are tempted to fill it with.
That’s why we come here.
I wrote the above while we were up in Lake Placid last week, and forgot about it. Before I found it I hit the submit button and registered for my 9th Ironman, my first in 5 years.
And I almost threw up.
When I read the above words, it brought me back. To a lot of things. Placid is just so damn special, and hitting submit was scary. It hasn’t felt scary since my first one. IMLP is part party, part reunion, and part race. I have been away from it long enough to overcome the way I took it over the edge. I have been away from it long enough to forget much of it, and I never want to forget what this damn distance teaches me.
As I was there last week I felt this feeling, it was deep within my soul. I thought it would pass and it didn’t. And I had to follow it because that’s what I do.
I wrestle with doing it all over again. It feels so thrilling yet feels so selfish. I turned to a friend and confessed that I should be doing something more important than Ironman, like taking care of children in Haiti.
You care about children in Haiti. You just have chosen to give your time and gifts to people closer to home. Which, in turn empowers the people closer to home to be a positive force in the lives around them and so on…. eventually the ripple makes landfall in Haiti. Look you can go clean brush burns in Haiti but your talents have the greatest impact just the way you’re using them.
You’re not struggling with some sense of guilt that you’ll be dedicating time to IM for yourself are you?
You’ll inspire 20 people to move, 40 people to contemplate moving and 60 people to aspire to just do more. In turn, 120 lives will affect 120 more…. before you know it 1000’s have chosen to be a better version of themselves and all but that first 20 will think to thank you.
All because you decided to be “selfish” and do another IM.
All of these things are important to think about and I like to think we’re lucky we do.
He’s right. We discussed my why and I had a few and one of my biggest ones was that I just f*cking love this race when I am not totally over the edge about it.
Because I can get that way.
I don’t give a sh*t about Kona, that’s not why I am toeing the line again. I have never accepted my Kona slots, Kona is where I surf. Placid is my jam, this is where my heart is. I don’t give a rats ass about time. I care about the journey and the experience. I took that away from myself during the last few.
My last Placid finish was 2007. In 2008 I was carried off the course in an ambulance (that was an expensive ride!). I went on to complete Ironmans in Florida and Canada, as I swore this one off. That was back in the day of the 3,000 person mass start.
As we watched the race last week Luc extended his pinky finger out to me and said “Promise me you will do this race next year”. I promised. For the record he remembers none of my previous 8 races, even though I carried him across the finish line of most of them!
If you have never been there, this will all seem like insanity. Maybe it is. But it’s what I love. I have been spending time out on my bike and I love it again. I have been slowly building towards this marathon and I love it again. Easy runs are feeling easy. My health is strong. My heart feels full and I …… geez I just don’t know.
Next July is a long ways away. I have adventures and my return to competition coming, starting in September. A lot can happen between now and then, so focusing on keeping things one day at a time, is how you prepare for an Ironman.
This isn’t my first rodeo. It’s my 9th. I am not chasing my past self, I am creating my future. I am an athlete, and this is what I do. There’s no denying that.
There is just something about it up there, that draws me in and allows me to learn, to trust, to have faith, and to believe. It’s magic.
“Your heart is pure, trust that when it wants something, it ain’t just selfish impulse”
Thank you for totally getting me, my friend.
I think I just needed permission to follow my heart.