Thursday, July 26, 2007

Commando and a Cool Breeze...

... that's Mr. Byron Breeze. More on him in a bit.

Sometimes fear comes upon me like the rising temperature on a clear and sunny day. It rises so slowly it's hardly noticeable until my internal fear-thermometer is in the mid-90s. Leaving me wondering when and where did it come from? And then there are times when fear busts in through the front door like a commando looking for public enemy number one.

Yesterday, the commando arrived and staked down a tent in my living room.

Although the race was on Sunday, my mind was still thinking about what I witnessed from Ironman USA-Lake Placid via my computer. The athletic struggle and the enormity of the event had me captivated all day. I couldn't turn away from it for very long. To feel like I was a part of the event I jumped into a pool when the starting cannon was fired. When the athletes were biking, I biked. When they were running, I ran. Although for much, much shorter distances than those in a real Ironman I nonetheless supported them, especially her, in this very, very small way. After each bit my laptop was opened and logged into I couldn't stay away from a computer screen. I had to watch.

What I saw, read, and wrote about wouldn't leave me. It hasn't still.

Then, it was Wednesday and I stared at the Ironman Wisconsin bike and run course maps. The elevation map reads like a EKG of a heart attack in progress and the run course isn't much calmer. The hills are steep and frequent. I'll be there in less than six weeks for my second Ironman in nine months. My first with hills.

What's when he busted down my front door. Fear arrived, unannounced, and he's determined to stay. Despite my best efforts to throw him right back where it came from he hasn't budged. His dark and thick heaviness sits and washes the colours gray. All seems dull and dingy. The only thing that confirms I'm alive is the fear.

Yesterday, I spoke with my soul mate and in only the way that soul mates know, she knew I was distressed before I said a word. She sent me a well written piece on pre-race fear to assuage me. And, for a few hours it did.

Then this morning came and sitting on my chest was the ten thousand kilo commando-o-fear. It took all I could do to throw him off of me and and when I did I headed out the door to run hills. Wouldn't you know he jumped on my back. I dragged hiheup and down the trails and never did he stop telling me that I'll never finish the run in Wisconsin. Each wind sucking summit only confirmed what he was saying. I finished the run weary... and worried.

The drive to the office takes less than five minutes but today it seemed like it took an hour. All was in slow motion and tones were muffled. Everything except the commando. He was in the car too. His voice was clear.

Upon arriving at my office I put my keys on my desk and sitting in my chair is a clipped news article from the New York Times. Whoever put it there is a mystery. No note was attached. The title of the article read, "When Life Is a Triathlon, Another Test Is No Problem." It's about Byron Breeze of the Bronx, New York. Mr. Breeze was born with no legs and misshapen arms, each with a finger. To get by, he panhandles in Manhattan.

Photo Courtesey of

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

On Sunday he raced and finished the New York City Triathlon. I read the article three times before my morning cup of tea.

Oh look... the commando is pulling up stakes.

Stay tuned...


21stCenturyMom said...

Here's another word for the commando - Wildflower.

You did that - you managed those hills and that wind and I've got to believe that windy Nasty Grade is far worse than anything the state of Wisconsin can throw at you.

You are so money.

What's to be said about Mr. Breeze? How about "thanks for the inspiration?" Hardly seems adequate. I'm all out of words.

Iron Whore said...

Wow..refreshing, I heart u triboomer!!

Kim said...

you are gonna kick the IM Wisconsin's ASSSSSSSSS!!!! you are prepared and are gonna whoop the course! you are awesome!

Kim said...

oh, by the way, i am waiting to hear back from my buddy about Boston 26.2... i will follow up with him and let you know! :)

Andra Sue said...

We've gotta always remember: Respect the distance (or in your case, hills), but NO FEAR.

Pulling up stakes indeed. :-)

Bigun said...

And here I thought this was going to be a post about your under-garment preferences....all of this is just so mental - one thing, whatever it is, and a difference is made that changes your perspective and attitued one way or another. Crazy stuff...the mind is a terrible thing....

Fe-lady said...

Isn't it great when things like this happen? It's then I believe in angels helping us see things or meet people (or read about them) that we were meant to.
Think roller coaster and have fun with the downs- think 'cable" on the ups! You're ready.

mishele k said...

If you can handle Wildflower, you can handle Wisconsin’s hills... drunk. But I wouldn’t recommend drinking any alcohol while doing an ironman. Still, you’re ready. Keep the faith.

Great story.

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

What a nice way to start the day! Thanks for sharing that story with us.

Cindy Jo said...

Can't wait to see you rock at IMW! You'll do great! Thanks for a great post.