The energy and excitement of their posts, blogs, etc was positively infectious. I wanted to be there. Not there as a spectator, not simply entered in the race in my current half-hobbled state. I wanted that feeling. The fit, ready, wound like spring excitement before, the intensity and focus during and the total exhalation afterwards. Looking at the photos, I could feel the butterflies at the start, the euphoria at the finish, and digging down to your bedrock between the two. It is what makes competing so much fun.
But.. there is always a "but"... it is more than that. I wanted that sense that I had systematically worked for something and seen it through to its logical, wonderful conclusion. There is no joy in being broken. If the injury is acute and heals quickly, it is easy to assimilate it as a lesson, find the silver lining. When they are long, chronic, recurring injuries, they suck the soul and motivation out of an athlete. You begin to lose touch with the person who could do all of that. It becomes easy to identify with your disability more than your ability.
It has seemed like the last six or eight month have been about what I can't do, not what I can. I have come to the conclusion that my journey right now is not the swim, bike or run. It is the mental journey. It is finding the tenacity to keep myself inspired when no body is posting support on Facebook. It is figuring out how to see myself as an athlete when my body feels like an over-baked potato. It is how to corral my ego so that I can just be as slow, as weak, as underdeveloped as I need to be right now. Why? Because without this mind frame and an honest accepting of my new baseline, I have no hope of getting to the first paragraph of this post. Period.
JS, MA, RW, TS, and all the others.... CONGRATULATIONS!!!