Hold On For 1 More Day

My celebration/commemoration of the Breath of Life Triathlon lasted all of 24 hours. Until I received an email from Coach Gerardo indicating that today marks the beginning of my taper towards Vineman 70.3.  And the stern reminder that "everything we have done the past few months is for this race."

As if that wasn't enough to force me to refocus on the race ahead instead of the race I just finished, I received in the mail today another omen: My Vineman 70.3 visor.

Breath of Life is soooooo June 27.

Out with one incredible life experience, on with another.  But something is nagging at me.  Tugging like a kid pulls on his dad's belt buckle for attention.

Where is the journey in all this?  The soul?  Where's the pause for reflection?  Jubilation?  Course correction?  Does it occur in the eight hours while I'm sleeping?  My 10 minutes in the shower each morning?

Being a "nester", I need at least a little bit of time to assess and put everything in its rightful place before moving on to the next project.  In this case, my first Half Ironman distance event.  I'm still busy remembering moments from yesterday's race before I put them in my mental scrapbook. Or in this more technical example, my blog.

Closing my eyes and really feeling the National Anthem, for example. Swaying gently side to side thinking of my grandfather and how proud he'd be if he were there physically in that moment.  Smiling to myself.  My pre-race ritual complete.

These are the moments I want to hold onto.  The moments that make a race an event, not just a training exercise.  The moments that threaten to escape me if I let them.  If I move too quickly from one memory to the next, like a bee anxiously finding the next flower while working herself into exhaustion along the way.  Never enjoying for a moment that hard-earned pollen.

We all train many long hours to achieve our goals.  And then we wake up at 4:30 in the morning, stumble out of bed into the darkness, don our wetsuits as the sun rises, and sprint earnestly into the salty water.

Then, we wish for the pain to end. For the finish line to show itself. Eventually, it complies.

And then the race is over.  The chapter is written.

Meanwhile, while the body recovers, the brain is still trying to figure out what the hell just happened.  At least mine is.  What did I learn?  What will be burned into my memory like a cattle brand?  What excess experience can I quickly snatch from impending forgetfulness?

I suppose what I'm getting at is that retention is part of recovery.  And recovery needs to occur before a new chapter begins.

That's where my head is at right now.  Even if my body is eager to take the next step on this Ironman odyssey.

Even as this Vineman 70.3 visor stares at me on my office desk.

There will be time to wear you soon, M-dot.

But not yet.  Not today.

143 days and counting.