At home. In front of my computer. Nowhere near Madison, Wisconsin.
It's hard to believe it's been an entire year since I felt the whirlwind, since I was checking the weather report every hour, since I layed out all my gear and food and socks and tubes and stuff on a hotel bed and stared at a series of 4 bags and went, "What am I doing here? Do I really deserve to be here?"
But I did somehow. I earned the right to enter the water that morning, and as I blew a kiss to Wil and said a nervous "good luck!" to TriThomps and then, about 17 seconds later when I heard Mike Reilly say, "ONE MINUTE! WHO WANTS TO BE AN IRONMAN TODAY?" I spontaneously thought, "Oh sh*t" and peed in my wetsuit.
And then the cannon went off.
And I didn't have time to think about the doubt anymore. I just had to go.
Now, 36 weeks pregnant, I feel an entire new kind of scared. Every Saturday I wake up, I think, "Is this the last Saturday I have to sleep in a bit?" I wonder if all this baby gear will get easier to figure out, as I still can't figure out how to fold up the damn travel system stroller. And why is it called a "travel system?" I mean, seriously. It's a baby. Does it really need a "system?"
I feel this little being tossing and turning around in my stomach and watch it roll. I still wonder if I'm cut out for this or if I really deserve this. If I'm really ready for this. If I can still do this and be me.
Pretty soon my proverbial cannon's gonna go off, I guess. And as much as I can't wait for it to get here...as much as I've thought and researched and mulled it over for nine months now...I still have some doubt. But once that moment's here, I'm not going to have time to worry or doubt anymore.
I just need to go.
I pray for my friends tomorrow that they trust themselves and go. They're ready. It's time. So to everyone who's toeing the line in Madison tomorrow at 0700, and especially to my friends that made my IronDay the amazing day it was last year: Bubba, Greyhound, Wil, TriShannon, Tac Boy, Walchka, Pharmie, Stu, and Steve...I'll leave you with the quote that I read before I left my hotel room at 4am:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." --T. Roosevelt, 1910
Go get 'em, guys.