This time around I'm less exhausted, far less hungry (pout) and struggling a bit to find some
I knew the second time wouldn't be anything like the first - nothing ever is. We're both faster in everything but somehow feeling less confident. We know that it's a very long day and a very tough race and we both want so much to take a couple hours off our time, that, well, the fear of failure at that goal can be overwhelming some days.
Well today a whole bunch of us runners/triathletes/endurance freaks got a kick in the pants that made the meaning in everything so very clear.
This is when the unspeakable sadness starts fogging my brain.
Race director and running cruise director extraordinaire Jerry Freisen died this morning, suddenly, from a heart attack on his morning run. Jerry touched so many lives that there are hundreds if not thousands of us wandering around stunned today telling all who will listen that we've lost a friend, and what a friend he was.
Jerry was the host to us on two Cruise to Run cruises, a race director at what I call the donut half-marathon (Tim Horton's as sponsor, a winter race with donuts waiting at the end - perfect), and a smiling face at a triathlon series that we participated in yearly.
The memory of Jerry that can to mind to me when I heard he had died was a run/walk I had done with him on our last cruise. I was a little pissy for a few reasons and not enjoying the run through the wilds of Antigua, Jerry, recently out of hip surgery, was thrilled to be able to move around without pain. He couldn't run again yet but that didn't dampen his joy at moving his body. I'm not sure how the conversation started but I remember very clearly his incredible comfort in his life and his role as a race director in changing people's lives for the best. He knew that he had an impact on the running community and was justifiably proud of it. I envied him that sense of a life well lived.
So really, I ask myself - who are you to struggle to find "meaning" in your journey to Ironman this year. I always known that I am privileged to have the health, wealth, and support of friends to allow me to take my body and mind as far as I can in the water, on the road, and even that last painful bit on the run. I do remember my last Ironman as a celebration of what 2500 people can do with their bodies and their minds and, whatever time the clock shows when I cross the finish line, I know I will appreciated the opportunity to get out there.
It's time to quit whining and start appreciating. And also, to HTFU and make it hurt. It wouldn't be Ironman if it was easy.