Standing under an umbrella in the middle of a crosswalk I felt lonely. The culmination of all that is, and was, my race became incarnate and rolled away into a misty Madison rain.
That was the time to let the loss soak in, while rain soaked my shoes. Let water fall over cheeks then. The more released, the less will be felt later. At the very least, that's my prayer.
The sadness wasn't because I was disappointed with my performance or experience. Oh, far from it. In an odd way, the surreal scene of what was Ironman Village was the perfect validation of the race reality. It's just that I was lost... disoriented ... without my Soulful Purpose.
The center of the Ironman Universe that existed just hours before pulled up stakes overnight. The finishing grandstand was gone. Vendor tents were closed tight. Thumping music under the announcer's voice was replaced by the patter of raindrops on the umbrella. Ironman Village was deserted except for a couple of people rummaging through a pile of unclaimed items dumped on a knoll. The carbon bikes: gone. Families sporting inspiring tshirts: gone. Uber-fit bodies in shorts: gone. Ironman fever: gone.
As if all of the landmarks of familiarity were swept away. Except for these. I had a map and a calendar. With those I found my way back to a post-Ironman life. The map reoriented me and the calendar reset the clock for future races and reunions.
Thankfully, certain things remain; like races, a Soulful Purpose, and love.
This life is good and getting better.
Maaaaaaaaaan, I love this sport.