I promised this blog was about emotions and not about training. At times I've crossed back and forth and discussed the emotions created by training. Today, forget training. My training has gone to hell these past few weeks. Now I know most normal people would consider working out 6 or 7 days a week, as working out to excess, but that’s NOT us. We don’t work out, we train, and my training just hasn't been all that focused lately.
There is nothing that prepares you. No matter how much you think you are, you just cannot prepare yourself. My Mom as many of you know was a Brain Tumor survivor. Reading about the type of tumor she had, all of the books said, the average life expectancy after a successful surgery was 5 years maybe 10. The fact that she survived over 22 years is truly a blessing. Mom saw her children grow up, get married. She saw the birth of a grandson. She was surrounded by love, through sickness and in health until the day she died.
I want to reference a newsletter I wrote back in September.
My mom never saw any of my races. She, like many others thought I was a little crazy for all that exercise. She loved to remind me I was getting “older” all the time. She did get a chance to read that newsletter, and said thank you to me.
As a family we all had different points in time where we came to the realization that Mom, wasn't going to get better this time. That was difficult because she always did. Neurosurgery at NYU Medical Center, radiation therapy, back surgery, rehabilitation facilities, she always came home, and was always so strong for all of us.
Someone very close to me said we were lucky as a family to have each other in this crisis. I really had to contemplate that. I certainly did not feel lucky to be sitting watching my mother fight for every breath. But the more I thought about it, I realized how correct she was. We've always been a tight family, but my two sisters and my brother and I have never been closer than these last few months. We had a running stream of group text messages to keep each other informed as to what was going on. Some of it was quite nonsensical. We talked or sent text messages all day and into the early hours of the morning, that is, when we weren't in the same room, sharing stale coffee or pillows on the couch in Mom’s room. We ate cookies and M&M’s and whatever comfort food we could find.
Friends brought us food at all hours of the day or night. A homemade batch of cookies late one night didn't last too long, Dad and I wiped them out. We laughed at how we looked, after a night of sleeping on the floor, or couch or curled up in a chair. We cried together, and we laughed together sometimes simultaneously. One by one we said goodbye to her, each of us in our own way and time.
During those weeks my emotions ran the complete spectrum. Some good, some bad, some ugly. I felt anger, despair, even rage. However the overwhelming emotion was love. Love of my family and the love of my closest friends. I can't tell you how important those phone calls or text messages were to me. Those meals together, the food you prepared or brought up to me and my family. To everyone that walked my dogs or helped in one way or another, I can never say thank you enough.
Time marches on. Its time to live, time to love. Oh yeah, time to train. Ironman Florida is eight months away. I knew Mom wasn't going to be able to come to Panama City for the race, but I did think I was going to be able to show her my finisher's medal and photographs. I'm not going to be cliche and say I am racing for her, but I will be thinking of her during those long lonely miles on race day. I will be thinking how hard she fought for every breath she took.
Eight months, you know where to find me, I'll be in the gym, or in the pool, maybe running along Bayshore. I'll be on my bike logging hundreds of miles on the Suncoast Trail, or slowly climbing Church Road or Frazee Hill. I look forward to every one of those long bike rides and to all of those long slow runs before dawn. Most importantly, I look forward to being with you, my closest friends.