Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Matters

I don't remember my PR times. I couldn't tell you how many races I've done in my life. I don't remember how miles I have traveled.

But, I can tell you about the marathon that I ran in a snowstorm for my 40th birthday.

I can tell you how Mike found me at miles 18 and 21, just to cheer me on and give me warm, dry gloves and hat.

I can tell you about the first race that Jman and Googs every ran with me.

I can tell you about pulling the boys in the bike carrier when they were little. 

I can tell you how they would go out looking for me in sub zero temps just to yell for me.

I remember my first half iron, and the boys ran the last mile with me.

I'll never forget getting pelted by hail and rain at a half iron and seeing the RD pull up along side of me asking if I wanted a ride back to the finish and responding, "No. I'm going to finish".

I remember when my bike was sabotaged at a half iron and only realizing it when I jumped on the bike.

I remember the guy from Germany who rode with me the entire 56 miles, pacing me to BEAT my goal time.

I remember my very first sprint. 25 minutes to do a 750m swim. I got out of the water all shakey and crying saying that I didn't want to go on.

I remember sitting in transition for 15 minutes thinking "I can't do this".

I remember Mike yelling at me, "You're on the run! Even if you have to walk it! You CAN walk it."

I remember crying (again) when I made the bike cutoff for my first half iron because that meant I had to run 13.1 miles.

I remember doing Ironman sick with pneumonia and crying (sigh) as I turned in my chip halfway through the bike.

I remember my very first running race and some guy saying "You should be in the back".

I remember the first time Jordan beat me in a race (:24 seconds).

I remember helping a woman that collapsed at a half iron and running around to get her water and get her out of the sun.

I remember my first half marathon and being so nervous that I didn't eat breakfast or anything on the course.

I remember the first time I saw vaseline on a stick.

I remember the first time I heard of GU.

I remember asking, "WHERE do I put this cream?"

I remember buying my first bike and changing my first flat.

I've gone to bed early and gotten up early on weekends for years. 

I remember taking 5 hours to ride 35 miles in the mountains. 

But most of all, I remember Mike and the boys always supporting me. I remember my friends cheering for me. I also remember that I never, ever quit. I could have quit after my first race. I could have quit after Ironman. At any time, I could have quit. I could have taken that ride during the half iron. 

Now I have memories that I can laugh at, some still make me cry (and THEN I laugh at them). But not one consists of a finish time or pace.  

Best of all, I have no regrets about not knowing who Snookie is, what 10pm looks like, or listening again and again to the constant teasing from neighbors.

Because I know what the sunrise looks like from the top of a mountain. I've been stopped on my bike by a herd of deer crossing the street. I've ridden stride for stride along side a coyote. I've looked up to see thousands of geese flying overhead, darkening my path, to fly south for the winter, and I've swam with the most incredible water creatures. 

And none of that would have happened if I gave up.