There are some things in life that come easy and there are some you have to work for and yearn for and keep after. I am partially through realizing a dream that has taken quite some time but the icing on the cake is just around the corner.
Sunday I race Ironman Canada in Whistler and I really could not be more excited and happy. I have trained, I am ready, and in the process of getting here, lived exactly the experience I played in my head more times than I can count.
I’ve been on this journey for 3 years. In 2012 I signed up because some other friends had signed up and I thought it would be fun to train with them and race with them. Ultimately I could not rise to the occasion. I whined about my injuries. I was too slow, I couldn’t train with my race day partners because they were too fast or, in one case, her life was fully impacted by a parent dying of cancer and twins graduating from high school and she was never around and really couldn’t train. By the time race weekend arrived I had withdrawn from the race, cancelled my airline reservations and just paid for my spot in a house I never saw. She went and did not make the swim cut off because she spent about 2 hours training for a 2.4 mile swim which never goes well.
Last year I hired a coach and was training in earnest but not with anyone else doing the race. It was fine and I was enjoying it some but I got in a minor bike accident that resulted in a broken thumb. I had on a waterproof cast and continued to train for 3 weeks but then the thumb didn’t heal, I had surgery and ended up in plaster cast. Could not swim and running was very uncomfortable as was working out on a spin bike. I went to Whistler with friends, toed the line and then pulled myself off of the bike course at what I thought was mile 95 but was really closer to mile 102. I thought I couldn’t make the cut off. I could have made the cut off. I’ve beat myself up about it a lot but now I’m glad it happened because it lead to this year.
This year I hired the same coach and my IM partner from 2012 who also DNF’d hired the same coach and thus began 7 months of camaraderie and training together on the weekends. We are roughly the same speed and so we spent many, many hours riding and running and doing open water swims and anticipating this day and discussing our fears and our glee at overcoming our DNFs. We are Team Redeem and come Sunday we will swim, ride, run and conquer.
Thursday we will board the same plan and then the same bus and stay in the same condo. We will go to athlete registration together and eat together and go for quick swim/ride/run sessions together and go to the athlete briefing together and get up at the ass crack of dawn Sunday together and board the bus together and hug each other good luck and then get in the water at the same time. And then we will part ways and I will be out of the water before her because I’m a faster swimmer but I hope to be united later in the race.
In my head we will meet up on the run course and keep each other going and we will finish together. And maybe it will go that way and maybe she will pass me at some point on the bike (she rides faster than me) and maybe I will stay ahead of her (not likely) but eventually we will both cross that line and we will be Team Redeemed.
My goal is to make it as big in real life as it is in my head and so far, so good. That doesn’t mean I need to finish in a certain time although I have my goals. It doesn’t mean the dream has to come exactly true although I hope it does. It means I need to keep going no matter what the day hands me and I need to finish and have that medal hung around my neck and I need Kaaren to finish and have that medal hung around her neck and I need us to get a picture together in front of the M-dot background and I need us to feel that overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief and pride. That will be plenty to make my dream come true.
Let the games begin!