This was a race I do every year and a race unlike any other. It's the shortest race I do and was the hardest for me to get in the water.
On Friday, my friend Shannon posted a frantic post on facebook that her son, Sidney, was missing. Sid is an amazing 4 year old who also happens to have autism. I had just seen them all heading to the pool on Thursday and said, "Hey Sid! What's up buddy? Have fun at the pool!" His mommy, Shannon, is a tremendous mother who always has a smile on her face.
After the softball splash party, I saw he still hadn't been found. I took the kids home at 10pm, called up Noelle, and headed out about 12 miles west along Lake Erie to get to his grandparents house, where he was last seen. Shannon believed he was trying to walk home along the coast to Bay Village.
In your heart, you know where this is going. I did too, but I didn't want to believe it.
I headed home around midnight and couldn't sleep at all.
I got up on Saturday and headed back out with my neighbor Suzy. We searched door to door, climbed the rocky coast of Lake Erie, and called out for Sid. We begged him to come out. I wanted to believe he was just hiding.
The worst happened. When I heard, I collapsed to the ground. I spent the rest of Saturday crying.
I woke up Sunday and the thought of getting into Lake Erie made me sick to my stomach. But I thought maybe it was what I needed; to get back to the thing that has always made me feel better and reminded me that forward motion is sometimes the only thing you can do.
My swim was awful. Just horrible. I was all over the place, I kept losing my head in the murky water. I was very, very happy to get out of that water, and my time reflects some of that.
I saw my children and Matt at the top of the hill--they just arrived, and gave me big high fives and shouts. I tried to keep my emotions in check and accept the blessing of them in front of me.
I hit the bike hard and had a great ride--from what I can tell, I had the 3rd fastest female bike split! It's so funny that my weakness has become my strength and what started as my strength is my weakness.
The run was AWFUL. The slowest run I've done in years at that race. It was humid, yes, but that run was literally 30 seconds slower per mile than the 10K I ran in Vermilion last year at the end of the Olympic race. I tried to just focus on counting my steps and moving forward and keeping my emotions in check.
I finished holding Emery's hand. It still makes me tear up to think of it.
I won my age group, despite my not so hot performance in the swim and run. Somehow I ended up 1/8 in the AG and from what I can tell 6th overall female and about a minute off the podium from 3rd overall (what I was able to do last year).
Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other. I am glad I made it to this race and it felt good to move after so much fruitless movement in the search and rescue effort. I am blessed to be able to hug my two little ones after the race, to see their toothpaste globs in the sink, to step on their Legos, to hear them argue over Skylanders.
This race was raw and the events of the next few days will be very difficult.
Forward motion. Sometimes it's just what you do.