I keep humming Tom Petty’s lyrics to the song, “The Waiting” — not that I’m much of a Tom Petty fan. Nor do I really know the song. But this one line keeps playing over and over in my mind: “The waiting is the hardest part.” I’d have to say that I agree.
It’s late here in Lake Placid. 10:45 p.m. — which if you consider that my husband and I will wake at 3:30 a.m. — it is late. But I can’t sleep. This happens to me before races. We hunker down early. Watch a family movie. Eat theater style candy and popcorn and snuggle up. My husband is good about getting us to bed. I drag my feet. Shuffle along. Remember last minute things and s-t-a-l-l. Which is odd, because the waiting is torture. Truly it is. But I’m slow as a snail nonetheless. Always. I hate being in bed awake; trying to sleep with butterflies in my stomach. So here I am, writing.
We’ve been here in Lake Placid since Wednesday. Settling in. Relaxing. Getting our final race prep ready. Connecting with friends, coaches and teammates. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. What I enjoy most about this place is being with people I love while doing something I love to do. Being surrounded by remarkable people makes holding a space for fear possible. I love watching my children be a part of all of this. Their joy and enthusiasm calms me.
We spend a year preparing for this event but as the clock ticks down and the start gets closer, suddenly it feels like we’re in crisis mode. Rational people begin to worry about things they don’t worry about on a day-to-day basis. We order new gear. Second guess our race nutrition even though we’ve practice and it has worked for months.
We I buy new sneakers. We inspect our bikes under a magnifying glass and ask perfect strangers if they think we’re ready. We ask for advice. We tell each other we’re okay. Because we are. But we still wonder. There’s always a layer of vulnerability that is amplified before any race but the endurance races are a bit … over-the-top.
Waiting is a hard thing to hold a space for. There is time for Doubt to creep in. Pesky Doubt has a loud voice if you let him. I’m slowly learning to ignore him. Or sit with him and just keep him company without letting him run circles around me. He’s a pain in the ass if you ask me, but he’s familiar and I have a hard time letting him go. So he can keep me company but I’m calling the shots this time around. I am.
I’m attaching a snippet from my Facebook post today. (I really do need to go back to bed with my butterflies.) I am still writing there daily. It’s quick and easy, but when all is said and done, I love this the most. Taking time to write a longer piece soothes my soul. After the race I plan to try to figure out how to sync the two together more. We’ll see how that plan unfolds. I’m not making any promises. I’m just considering. 😉
Here it is:
Today involved getting our bikes and gear ready for tomorrow. It always takes much longer than I think it’s going to take. My husband and I showed up ten minutes before they closed the gates. We needed to bring our gear bags and bikes to the Olympic Oval before 3:00pm today. We racked our bikes, hung our gear bags and headed out of the Olympic Oval with no time to spare. Can you tell which vibrant bags are mine?! I like visual cues! 😉
This place runs on volunteers. Without them we could not race. Truly.
Community. People. Helping each other. I love that. We toe the line tomorrow as individuals but together we move towards the finish. We have amazing family, friends and strangers cheering us on and hundreds of helping hands. Thank you.
My husband is getting his brave on and racing what our team has named, The Aqua Bike. It’s hard to choose to take care of yourself like that. He’s an inspiration. He’ll do his complete ironman in Florida in November. Deciding not to run is an emotional decision but a smart one. I’m proud of him!
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Thank you for being a part of my journey. My story. You have made this process so much bigger, greater and more important than it would be if it was just me alone. One small woman with one story. All stories matter. All of them.
I’ll race bravely tomorrow to do us all proud. I’ll be holding you in my heart!
Much love to you! Take care.