After the iron
Things were pretty quiet after the race, internally.
I seem to have found more patience. I can sit quietly. I can wait until a piece of software opens up on my computer without impatiently switching to some other task. I'm not so short with the kids at the end of a long day.
I had a big party to celebrate, and it was a ton of fun. I haven't laughed so hard or hugged so much in a long time.
Then everyone left and I got sad. Fortunately I have a husband who did this, too, and he completely understood what I was going through. He said he was surprised I hadn't had my breakdown right after the race, but he figured out that, in my mind, the race wasn't the end for me. The party was the end. The last thing.
The final chapter in the most dramatic and exciting thing I'll do in my life for awhile.
I've written before on why I personally felt driven to do this.
But I'm not the only one. There were hundreds of other people next to me on the beach that morning, toeing the line.
Have you ever seen a family with kids walking along in a big group, and there is a big tree stump or rock in their path? Everyone goes around, with the exception of one or two of the kids, who climb up on the rock and leap off. After a second, they catch up and it's just one big group again.
It's easier to go around the rock.
It's more fun to jump off.
It makes a scene, it slows down the group, and it's a little vain. But it's also how you find out what you're made of. You can't find out if you always walk around the obstacles. Sometimes you have to seek them out.
I really wouldn't mind keeping my lean, mean physique.
I always planned to give up iron distance after this, at least until the kids grow up. But I never plan to give up triathlon. Sprints and Olympics are certainly fair game, and maybe a half-iron will still make it on my race schedule from time to time.
David and I are racing something called Triple-T in May. It's a festival of triathlon, with a super-sprint on Friday, two Olympics on Saturday, and a half-iron on Sunday. It's hilly, too. Really hilly.
So I'm taking a few weeks to just work out when I feel like it.
Then I'm doing the Columbus Marathon.
Then Triple-T in the spring.
And I'd like to write a book.
But no more iron distance. I miss the kids too much on weekends.
People who train with me know I have a tattoo of a wolf on my lower back. (This sport doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination, that's for sure.)
When I chose the wolf, at age 21, it was because of a favorite Kipling verse I was first acquainted with at Camp Wyandot, the Camp Fire summer camp that saw me through my teen years.
Now here is the law of the jungle
As old and as true as the sky
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper
And the wolf that shall break it must die
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk,
the law runneth forward and back.
The strength of the pack is the wolf
And the strength of the wolf is the pack.
I thought I understood this verse pretty well. Well enough to have a symbol of it marked on my skin forever.
But I didn't really get it until this year.
I didn't really understand all that those last two lines were trying to tell me.
Now I am much more grateful for the pack: My training buddies, my family, my friends, and most of all my husband.
David, thanks for the strength to be the wolf.