Monday, March 16, 2009

Chasing Boston

Sunday, I went for a run.

It was still a little cold, but not a cloud in the sky. Lake Erie has thawed out, and the blue of the sky met the whitecaps as the wind came off the lake. I love to run on the lake, following the water. It's one of my favorite places to ride, too. Lately most of my training has been alone, and I am really enjoying it that way. It's good to have company once in a while, and I'm lucky to have a few good partners nearby. But sometimes it's best for me to just be alone. Just me, the lake, the sun, and the iPod.

It's been three years now since I trained for the Ironman. Scared out of my wits, I built a whole year of my life around that day. I needed people then--people to help me, to pace me, to wait for me at the top as I blinked back tears and cursed hills on my bike. I was a newbie in every sense of the word. That summer, I met an amazing group of people. We had this thing--this big scary monster called Ironman--and we rallied around each other.

lights go out and I can't be saved
tides that I tried to swim against
brought me down upon my knees
oh I beg, I beg and plead

Sunday when I ran, I remembered that spring. How scared I was. How I didn't know if I had it in me, but I wanted it more than anything.

tiger's waiting to be tamed

Certain songs make me think of Ironman. It came on, and I was reminded. With each step of the pavement, I remembered the fear. The sheer and utter fear that motivated me through that summer.

confusion never stops
closing walls and ticking clocks
gonna come back and take you home
I could not stop that you know now

As I ran, I remembered all the emotions. This was the song in the highlight video--the free DVD you get the next day. And as my feet hit the pavement scenes flashed in my head to the music. Finding Al's note in my bento box. Holding Tracy's hand as I got in the water. Peeing my neoprene pants for the first time ever. Seeing my knuckles turn blue from the cold. Wearing the trash bag for the marathon. Hearing, "It's bloody cold!" The feeling I got when I knew I would make it.

oh nothing else compares
oh nothing else compares

What I know now, three years later, is that I left that fear on those Madison streets forever. Ironman allowed me to let go of my fear, of every second I doubted anything. Part of me is the same girl I was three years ago, but part of me has been changed forever. It's a moment I remember much as I did in a high school stadium wearing a white gown one June evening 14 years ago, at an airport on the down escalator one late summer day in 2001, an August afternoon in 2004, or a sunny October day almost 18 months ago.

I'm at peace swimming, cycling, and running alone now. Now what motivates me is seeing how far I can go--but this time, not out of fear. I know now without any doubt that I can do anything I dedicate myself to, even if I fall down a few times. I enjoy the lonely road, and don't really miss the races at all. A few here and there are just perfect for me. I'm at home on Lake Road, chasing the water and the shadow girl, knowing that my little man, big man, and furry four-legged man are at home waiting for me.

home, home, where I wanted to go
home, home, where I wanted to go

I'm about to end this "season" I've trained for. It's my August now. It's go time. And when I come back, I'm going to chase Boston. And it will take me a while (most likely a few years), and probably a few fantastic falls along the way. But I know without a doubt in my mind I'll catch it.

Because with just me, the road, the lake, and the boys...really, that's all I need.


Eric said...

Amen Sara. Chase the goal. It will be yours.

cdnhollywood said...

That about sums it up. I was like that last year as I chased down my first (and second) half-iron tris. This year I live in fear of my first marathon, and possibly my first Ironman.

I find it so odd that the fear suddenly flips to confidence - it's not even gradual. But I wish it would stick around for more than just the last new distance. :D

xt4 said...

That was awesome.

Chase it down, then. I'll be cheering you on, as always.

Lana said...

No doubt you'll get it, Sara!!

triguyjt said...

see the goal....
plan the goal...
achieve the goal...

great post!!

Rural Girl said...

Look out Boston, 'cause this girls coming!

Maggs said...

you'll get boston. No problem.


With all of your wonderful training and coaching, you'll be heading down Boylston in NO TIME!

Wil said...

Crazy how far we've come huh sis? ... Always there holding your hand ;)