Monday, August 28, 2006

Pacific

Things have changed.

I knew they would, but I never really thought they would like this.

Five years ago, I stood on the beach to start my first triathlon. I was scared, but ready. I was nervous, but confident.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

I sort of remember standing there looking out into where the blue sky met the dark waters of Lake Erie, which is surprisingly big. I say that, because my friends who have never seen it are always shocked by how big it is. I don't know if they were expecting something a lot smaller, or to see Canada across the other side, or what. It's funny to me that the size of a Great Lake seems to surprise some. But it's big. Trust me.

And I sort of remember standing there, nervously squishing sand in between my toes thinking, "What am I DOING here?"

I knew I could do it. That wasn't the question. But was I ready to do it? Could I deal with whatever happened when I set out to do it?

Was I ready for how it would change me afterward?

Only one way to find out, I guess.

So sooner or later, the gun went off. I dove in.

And I made it through. And it changed me more than I ever could have imagined.

This thing called triathlon is no longer just a sport I do. It has become a pretty big part of who I am. It's so much a part of me that I can not imagine, nor do I ever want to imagine, my life without it.

Sometimes my day and my race flies by as effortless as the waves crashing ashore onto the beach--like the smile I have on my face on the downhill after a hard climb. Sometimes I go so fast down that hill that the wind makes tears form in my eyes, and it makes every second of the climb worth it. I might even let out a little laugh.

But I'm not gonna lie. I've got a long way to go. There is always work to be done.

There's been other days and races where I feel full of doubt. I forget how hard I've worked to get there...I let my head get in the way. But I've come to see each of these stumbles as part of a grand climb up a hill that's simply testing my head and my heart.

In the past five years I've become an entirely different woman.

Five years.

Five short years, and I've seen everything around me change: my world, my country, and myself. This change has sometimes seemed out of my control, but despite that, this sport has helped me remained grounded in my same values and principles. Essentially, I've been able to deal with the various forces beyond my control, and to grow exponentially from the things a simple sport made up of playground activities has taught me.

And in thirteen days, I'll be standing on another beach in Madison, Wisconsin.

Lake Monona is not as big as the lake I stared at that August day of 2001, but the day itself will be the size of the Atlantic Ocean. And I supposed I'll yawn like I always do when I am nervous--my body's little trick of making me appear to be calm, when I am really terrified. And I don't know what that day is going to bring me.

I can't even begin to imagine what that day is going to bring me.

But I can almost feel the sand between my toes.

And I have a strange sense of calm. Like I've been there before.

I know who I am and I know what I've done to get here.

And I know I will get through this ocean.

22 comments:

rice said...

Your posts seem to be very ponent lately. It makes for a very enjoyable read. I grew up on Lake Superior so I know what you’re talking about when you say ‘big’. But Superior also has a wild side to her. Like Mr. Lightfoot said, “…She sings in the rooms of her ice water mansion”

Cheers

Rice.

greyhound said...

I.Can't.WAIT!!!!

Scott said...

Ditto re: Lake Ontario.

We know you can do it Sara.

I can't stand that you have to work in a school without A/C... I'm only slightly relived knowing that you love being a teacher.

Jodi said...

Wonderful post, Sara. I can't wait to log onto my computer on Sep. 10 and watch you finish. I think that my Dad is going to go up to Madison to cheer you on.

:)

Jodi

RunBubbaRun said...

NIce post, you seem calm and collected and ready for the day with no doubts. Seeing everybody on race week is going to be a blast.

Chris said...

Well said, Sara! It's be great following your journey all summer.

See you in 12 days!

Wes said...

Visualizing yourself crossing that finish line is more than half the battle T. Wish I could be there...

Vickie said...

Great post. Like Donald Trump says (not an exact quote): if you can only think of one thing, think big. Sounds like you are thinking big.

qcmier said...

I'm sure you're going to conquer the mountains too. Bring on IM WI!!!

Pixie said...

You are going to be awesome! I can't wait to hear about it.

mouse said...

everyone has their own story, their own journey that they've trekked on their way toward loving their sport. reading of yours is always so enjoyable.

on a somewhat related note, I had a *gasp* date last night, and the guy's from Wisconsin, and he was talking about the lakes surrounding Madison. I was so proud to say, "hey, I 'know' someone who will be swimming in one of those lakes in a few weeks!"

you're going to totally rock it!

Ellie said...

I know you can, too. I can't wait!

Batman said...

"This is the moment, this is the day, this is the moment that I know I'm on my way. Every endeavor, I have made ever is coming through to play. Here and now today..." Donnie Osmond

I'll be thinking of you when I run the Duke HIM the same day. Go Go Go!

Fe-lady said...

I will be cheering you and Wil on come the 10th of September! Go get 'em! You were meant to do this!

TriBoomer said...

Sara,

Thanks for sharing the part of your life with us.

Soon you'll look across the Lake Monona and the horizon of your destiny that is "Sara -- you ARE an Ironman!"

Can't wait to cheer for you as you cross the finish line.

Stay tuned...

Robb said...

You are looking deep inside to muster all the resolve you can find. I love that about your blog. Go girl!

Michele said...

Great post.
I am so excited for you.
I thought about you this morning while I was running and how close your Ironman is now.
You are going to do great.

Duane said...

Great post for me to read as I am doing my first triathlon on September 10th! http://couchpotato-to-ironman.blogspot.com/

Siren said...

Can't wait to meet you next weekend! I'll be there cheering when you cross the finish line.... and possibly handing you your gear bad in T2 : D

tri-mama said...

Chills.

Lana said...

Great post. As I took off on my run today, I said my prayers, and I thought of you (I found it weird that Michele thought of you too!). You are able to reach so many people in your posts, like me, because you are so down to earth and honest. You don't come across as someone who was born running 6 minute miles and with a Superman emblem on their chest. But you have made your own Superman emblem with hard work, patience and dedication. You will never know how much you inspire me.

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