I don't like numbers.
I don't like to quantify things with digits. I've always been someone who uses words--uses emotions. Whenever I'd compete in performances for the flute and piano, I always got marked up for my "musicality," and occasionally would get marked down for being off a beat slightly.
But to me, it was fine. It was the way I felt it--not "felt" with a snotty attitude, but I mean FELT with my heart and soul, and that's how I liked it.
AP Calculus was nonsensical to me, but Emerson and Steinbeck and Vonnegut were clear as day.
I dreaded this past weekend for a long time in several ways.
Jacks reminded me that today--that when I stopped at her apartment on September 6th on my way to Madison, I mentioned the possibilities of this past weekend's events. And she told me, "If it could make you worry more than an Ironman, it was a big deal."
It was. I'm accepting that. It was and I dreaded it and it's over and I made it. And I feel...better even. Vindicated in some ways.
And even a little bit stronger.
Today I got my flu shot at school. Yawn. Or, in my case, THUMP (the sound of me passing out whenever I get a shot). But I didn't pass out this time. I felt a little queasy and nauseous...a little like I felt Friday around 6pm...but I made it through with a smile despite the churning stomach and I'm pretty certain that no one even knew the difference.
(Except, someone did on Friday--I learned that on Saturday. That someone, at one time at least, knew me very well, though. So we'll let it slide.)
I then got my numbers for my health screening--they do it every year for free at work, when we get our shots. So, what the heck, I thought. Might as well.
They have my numbers from last year--November 4th to be exact.
The nurses jaw dropped when she wrote down my new stats:
Blood pressure? 30 points lower.
Cholesterol? 30 points lower.
"Good" cholesterol? Slightly higher.
Resting pulse? 48 beats per minute.
"What did you do?" She said, surprised.
Well...I guess...I did an Ironman?
But that's probably not it. One day didn't do it.
I woke up early for nine months. I hate waking up early. I swam endless laps in a 20 yard pool with Noodle Lady, Navy Guy, Dave the Lifeguard, and TriEric.
I rode on a trainer in my basement, when I couldn't ride outside. I did one leg drills until I swear I did them in my sleep.
I ran. And ran and ran and ran. Slowly. Which, I didn't like to do at first, and then I got used to it as being necessary. To make me stronger.
I rode more hills than I've ever rode in my entire life. I doubted myself. I felt tears welling up in my eyes several times on the course that kicked my butt over and over and over again. And I kept going back. Every. Single. Weekend. Because, what does not kill you, most assuredly makes you stronger.
I rode 100 miles 4 times. And then ran afterwards up to an hour.
I got tossed around by waves and felt the sun shine on the back of my wetsuit as I focused, focused, focused on my stroke. I ignored the dead fish that I ran into in July. I pretended he was just sleeping.
I made it to the start line.
I made it to the finish line.
"I did a lot of things," I answered, smiling. There's no way I could explain it all--nor would she have probably cared to hear it all. I just know that I did a lot of things.
And I'm better for it.
All of it.
It was worth the pain, it was worth the tears, and it was worth the joy while it lasted. I remembered that, this weekend, too.
All of it.