Thursday, August 31, 2006

September Eve

It was like this.

It was chilly last night. So chilly that I had to put on a hoodie to take the dog out. I LOVE this time of year. The kids are all excited because the first home football game is tomorrow, and my classroom isn't a sweatbath. It's getting darker earlier, but the fall clouds are coming which make for some amazing sunsets on the lake.

So I came in and thought I'd check the weather for tomorrow.

More of the same. I love it.

But man, my swim might get a little chilly. Ah, no biggie. That'll bring back memories of swim team, freezing cold before an early summer meet, shivering a little under that red swim team hoodie that had my name on the back, feeling like the coolest kid around.

And then, I thought...hmmmmmmmm. 7-10 day business forecast. Just put in the city. Hmmmm.

And it didn't quite go to September 10th. But it came close. And just like you don't EVER, EVER, when someone's pitching a no-hitter, utter the words, "Hey, this guy's got a no-hitter," I will NOT utter the words that I thought when I looked at that weather forecast.

The words will not be uttered.

Or typed.

Don't even think of commenting about it, either.

So the wind made it feel like fall today. I love fall. Love it love it love it. It is by far my FAVORITE season. Fall means the leaves are red and purple and yellow, the sunset is all different shades of amazing, there's lots of football to be played and watched, s'mores on my fire pit, one more camping trip if I can, and baseball playoff season. It means my favorite 5K weather.

And this year, it means something entirely different.

I knew it when I got my bag to head to the pool. It was windy, and very chilly, but I knew I just needed to swim outside in one of the last days for the pool. I also knew it wouldn't be crowded at all.

What I didn't realize, until it's too late of course, is my body's already doing its weird little things to tell me that I am nervous, even though I don't outwardly appear nervous. Today, I realized as I tasted a little blood on my lower lip, that I had been biting it and not realizing it. I do that when I'm nervous, but I never know it until it's too late.

Guess that's to be expected this week, huh?

I arrived at the pool and sure enough, it was me and about 4 other nutcase lap swimmers--and that's IT. Some very bored guards sitting in their chairs, in full sweatsuits, shivering.

Well, here goes.

I got in--and immediately knew it would be a good swim. I didn't wear my watch at all. Just was going to swim and enjoy it and do about a mile.

And that's when things got nuts.

I just felt awesome. I felt really strong, and not sore, and not fatigued. I was wearing my new goggles, and I almost forgot what it's like to really see underwater--you know how after you wear your old goggles for so long, you just sort of get used to a little film of fog on your vision?

I could see everything crystal clear.

I could see my hand catch the water and pull it back with the little bubbles that followed it. When I took a breath, I could see the wind whipping through the trees and the clouds in the sky that looked a little bit gray like a windy fall day does.

I could see the guy next to me in the other lane, and just for fun I "raced" him for a lap. He didn't know it, of course.

I so beat him. :)

Then I started to see other things, too.

Wil and I with our wetsuits on, walking into Lake Monona at around 6:50am.

RobbyB and his wife meeting me when I exited the water to help me with my wetsuit.

SLS, my other new tri sis, riding either Louise or Tony. (I vote Louise :)

TriAl cracking jokes Saturday and making me laugh.

Siren handing me my T2 bag.

TriMama and her amazing Tribe cheering me on.

Walchka in the crowd somewhere.

Greyhound handing me my medal.

My girls there to make me laugh and have a good time.

My parents, and my heroes, who will probably be running all over the place, with various cameras, waving.

My Aunt Betsy, Uncle Jack, and Grandpa, who can't be there but will be with me.

My husband and best friend, who I can't even describe the size of the sweaty, nasty hug he's going to get.

And I saw all these things as I saw myself, with every flip turn, and caught myself thinking that suddenly I barely recognized this swimmer.

And before I knew it, it was my last 50, and I thought, "Remember need to remember this feeling" as I watched my hands reach and reach and reach to the wall.

And then I touched it.

And as I dried off as quickly as I could and headed to my car, I passed two teams of probably 10 year old boys learning how to play football...they looked so awkward in their equipment and helmets, and eager to learn as the wind whipped on the field. And I thought, Just give it time guys. Give it a few years. You'll grow into it before you know it.

And you might not even recognize yourself.


Lloyd said...

So...when is this 5K?

Great reflection today, Sara. Your easy effort today reminds me what a good taper is supposed to feel like. It must feel wonderful to have a clear vision and to have everything slowing down around you. It sounds like great things to come on Sept 10th.

Laurie said...

Great post! I could see the crowd cheering you on. You sound so confident and ready for IM. You will have an amazing race!

Wes said...

Ya forgot about me! Sitting in front of my computer watching you Ironpeople come in, biting my lip cause I can't be there, LOL! Tremendous!

You poor cold weather yank! I went to grade school and high school without air conditioning in Mobile, AL. Talk about a sweaty school!!

I am so looking forward to my first fall of running in a long time. This is all so exciting T.

RunBubbaRun said...

Don't forget to say "hey" when you pass me on the IMWI course on raceday.

Kool and confident, one with the water, a great feeling.

christine said...

you write so make me love swimming even more....i'm so glad i gave it time!

qcmier said...

Hmm, quite honestly I am a bad joke teller, but okay I'll try to make you laugh on Saturday.

Can't wait to see snowflakes on Sept 10th.

E-Speed said...

I'd imagine this is just how it is suppose to be. Absolutely Perfect!

Kim said...

And you have a bazillion RBFers enthusiastically and nervously pacing in front of our PCs or laptops cheering you on every second of your race. You are ready woman, hear you roar!

Pharmie said...

EEEE! I got goosebumps when I was reading your post. I will be with Louise that day, I've decided. Wow, I am SO excited to be hopping in the water with you Sept 10, sis!

Chad Austin said...

As usual, another great post.

Don't forget to visualize me sitting on State street drinking beer! Can't wait.

rob reddy said...


that feeling you had in the water - effortless, strong, a real high - its what I call the Ironman Spark - it can be very addictive - very hard to explain fully - only when you have experienced it can you truely appreciate how awesome a feeling this is - it is confidence in its purest form

remember it, enbrace it - you should have a few more of these moments in the coming week - then when things get really tough on the 10th go back to that place.

Jodi said...

Amazing post, Sara.

I'm going to hurry home on Sunday to watch you finish on my computer. You are so ready for this!

And I agree. Fall is the absolutely best time of the year.

Batman said...

Shivers...rock on!

Donald said...

Take your own advice and remember this...not just through the race, but afterwards, as you return to everyday life. Don't forget what you accomplished and how strong it made you.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

BuckeyeRunner said...

What a great post, Sara! You are so ready to tackle this beast. I am excited for you and all the other bloggers headed to WI. I will be watching the results and cheering you on!

Run for Chocolate said...

Heard about you from Wes, good luck on Sept. 10 can't wait to hear about your big race!

xt4 said...

That was awesome.

Rae said...

It's getting so close and you have worked SO hard!!!! YEAH!!

Michele said...

HeHe love the part where you "raced" the other swimmer!

You are going to rock at IM.

jkrunning--Just Keep Running said...

aww, I loved this post. Great job.
Just remember to think of all those blessings as you are racing, it may help the time go by.