Let’s put Ironman CDA 2012 to bed, shall we? That is not to say I won’t reference it now and then where it seems appropriate. But it’s time to look to the future. There are more adventures to be had. Before I do that, I have a few final thoughts to wrap it up.
The finish line of a race carries various meanings for each person who crosses it, each representing their particular journey. Some will be satisfied, others will not. Some won’t make it to that line and will face the decision of whether or not to try again. Some will set new goals based on lessons learned and finish times earned. It is the end for some, the beginning for others, and in my case, a mixture of both all based on one solid foundation; faith and relationships. There were so many people who came out to support and watched online from afar; some who made it to my finish line that I haven’t mentioned yet, new friends who became a part of my journey and I theirs, and those who have been there all along.
My finish line was unexpected. Not only when and how I finally crossed it, but as you now know, what happened after. I expected to see it as merely a satisfying and joyous end to this long journey, putting an exclamation point on that ending via my triumph over asthma. But it has turned out to be much more than that. I now consider my finish line a crossing of a threshold into something new. A door has been opened. I have no idea in what direction it might take me other than it is clear that it will involve an open and candid reaching out to fellow asthma sufferers. I love not knowing. My finish line also had that “end of” element to it. Not just the literal ending of the physical race that day. Rather, the end of things that needed to be left behind. Spring cleaning is exhilarating.
A few days after the race I received the email notification that my finisher certificate was ready. I was surprised by that but here it is in black, white, green and blue. I am an Ironman finisher with the time noted on the lower right of my certificate as 17:00:23. SWEET!
I am an Ironman. I am an asterisk. I couldn’t be more pleased.
I think some hearts just skipped a beat while reading that. My mom and I had a great exchange in the finisher’s area after the race. My friend Tom helped me up onto a chair to reach her as she was above me on a platform. I love this picture of that moment.
They then helped her down to where I was and she gave me another hug and said with all sincerity, “Sweetheart, I am so proud of you. Can we please never do this again?” Hahahaha! Sometimes I wonder if my mom has met me. I think it’s cute that she still thinks that maybe someday my adventurous nature will be satiated. But as much stress as it causes her given that she is one of the few people who has seen me at the worst and scariest moments of my illness, she’ll always applaud me along the way.
That said, I don’t have plans to do another Ironman. First of all, I need to tackle the rest of this list. I am a triathlete and I am so thrilled to even be able to say that. I’ll continue to do triathlons but at half iron distance or less. Many hope that I will endeavor to complete another 140.6, if for no other reason than to finish before midnight. I really don’t have a need for that. Besides, how could I possibly top a finish and its aftermath like this one? I almost feel like anything else would be anticlimactic. I relished friendships, celebrated victories, had a blast, swapped stories, was the recipient of amazing generosity, raised my exclamation point to target asthma awareness, and I now have some awesome new friends. Though I rarely say never especially where challenges are concerned, I would have to have a very compelling reason to do this again. Time will tell.
At the end of my life, I won’t be asking for a list of my accomplishments. I won’t ask someone to bring my medals to me, or recall any of my finish times. I won’t want to see any certificates, degrees or diplomas. I won’t want to don any of my sports equipment. I will want to be surrounded by people I love and who love me. I will want to remember time spent together, crazy adventures and meaningful journeys alike. I will want to laugh hard as we reminisce. I will hope that I am leaving something good behind and that I served the purpose for which I am here. (Phil. 3:14) Life is primarily about relationships in my book. I don’t need another Ironman to solidify that.
Besides, I’m not sure I want to mess with my Ironman PR.
I’ll continue to blog. I’m having fun. I’ll use it for two primary purposes: Documenting my racing and other adventures, infused with a good dose of humor; and sharing viable solutions with my fellow asthma sufferers. I could say that I’ll throw in a few random morsels too but really, almost anything can fit under the category of adventure.
And as for that adventure list; it’s huge! I have several excursions planned in the next few months. White water rafting, half marathons with cousins and friends in Texas and Nevada, possibly a very laid back trail ultra-marathon (to the certain dismay of my PT – sorry Neal!), a swim across Lake Coeur d’ Alene, a long bike ride fundraiser, volunteering for IM Canada to cheer on my friends, and a few spontaneous events are a given. There are hills to climb, others to roll or fly down, planes to jump out of, craziness to rope friends into, lines to zip, mud to sling, and new things to learn (I really need to learn to ski now that winter sports are an option for me). The list is growing. I hope you’ll join me for the fun.
Asthma and racing, racing and asthma. The two sort of go together for me. I’m pretty certain I’ll get sick again, but I think it will be less often now that I have more tools in my belt. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll be talking about some of my asthma experiences past and present, in the hopes that others who have this condition will know they are not alone and more importantly, that there is hope. I am preparing to share what I am doing in order to breathe freely even while training and racing.
For today, I leave you with a quote that I mentioned previously on this blog. It’s one of my favorites:
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming, ‘WOO HOO what a ride!!'” Hunter S. Thompson
Come back and join me for the ride!