Saturday, December 19, 2009

52 and Raining

Just got finished watching the World Championships.

About 2 weeks ago, when I was driving my car home from work, the temperature registered as 52 degrees on my dashboard. It was raining pretty hard, and also pretty windy. Unseasonably warm for Cleveland in December, and the wind reminded me that it was in fact, a fluke. It wasn't supposed to be 52 and raining. It wouldn't be for long.

Whenever I see 52 and raining, it takes me back to that day. The day that was also, in essence, a fluke. I remember the months of training...deliberately waiting until 1pm in July when it was a good 84 degrees or so to start my long run. "So I can be ready," I thought. Because it's always, always hot and humid in Madison.

Except when it wasn't.

I remember the emotions of that day: the profound disappointment, extreme pain, gratitude for my friends and family and their support, love for my most loyal fan Matt, fear of the unknown and of 5:30pm and of cutoffs, belief in myself, and utter, sheer joy when I crossed that line.

I remember this:

(Courtesy of Taconite Boy--thanks, buddy for filming that moment that I never dreamed I'd really get to have.)

Watching the World Championships tonight, someone said that "you really can't imagine those emotions at the finish line unless you've been there." And I really think that is so true. I can't describe it at all, except to say that it's one of the most remarkable and memorable moments of my life where I've felt the most alive I've ever felt.

For me, Ironman is not a one-time event. I just know I'll be back there someday. I don't know where, exactly. And I definitely don't know when. But I can say with 100% certainty that it will not be anytime soon. For me, I just respect the race too much to do that. I know what I, personally, would need to do to get there, and I have no--and I really mean this--NO desire to sacrifice what I'd need to sacrifice at this moment to get to that start line...let alone the finish line again. Some can get by on a lot less training than I could, and that rocks. But for me to do it the way I'd want to do it, it would take a lot of major, major sacrificing. And I really, truly believe that about 90% of completing an Ironman is wanting to complete an Ironman.

But just knowing that I will get to that finish line again someday is pretty exciting.

And it might not be 52 degrees and raining again. Maybe this time it will be 90 degrees and humid. Or 65 and cloudless. Or whatever. Who cares? Because that's not really the point.

Ironman is about learning who you are and what you are made of.


anna jo said...

that is amazing. you are amazing. I know that one day I want to complete an ironman, but like you don't know when that will be. I just had my first baby in september and know there might be a couple more down the road. the amount of training for ironman would definitely be a sacrifice, and I guess I will just need to figure out when the best timing will be. it is so inspiring, though.

Mama Simmons said...

"90% of finishing Ironman is wanting to finish an Ironman". I could not agree more. :)

RunBubbaRun said...

I think no matter how many IM's I will do, I always remember that day at IMWI. It was brutal that day!!!

Yes and IronMan race will always be there. The memories of family will always last longer.

Thanks for look back.

Kim said...

i'm tearing up watching your video - and i was a blubbering mess watching NBC on saturday! you rock sara - hope to meet ya one day - maybe at an IM! happy holidays to you and your fam!

Mnowac said...

Ahhh how inspiring. If you do decide to do another one someday, let me know. I may join you! If I could just learn to swim...

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greyhound said...

Nanner nanner, Kim. I've met her!

I remember that day--I SO remember that day. And I thought of it when I was struggling through my less than ideal conditions at Cozumel this year. Grabbing you at the finish is one of the things that pushed me to "want" the finish for myself.

Rural Girl said...

You will and just like you said....when the time is right.
Happy New Year!