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 IronmanLive.com 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 TimesOn 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.