This morning my alarm clock came in the form of a phone call- a friend living in Arizona, volunteering at the race I should have been at. I rolled over, opened my eyes, and saw my Felt looking back at me (yes, I keep my bike in my bedroom). Leaning against the wall, it seemed to say, "Yeah, Meg, I know - I, too, wish that at this moment I was baking in the Arizona sun, hanging out in transition and just waiting for you to get out the water and take me for the ride of my life, but alas, not this year...so I sympathize, but get your ass out of bed and face the day."
As I flipped open the phone, groggy and with sleepy voice, I hear, "Oh, Meg, This is AWESOME! You gotta see this!" Okay, so not quite the emotional support I was needing today, but I certainly could understand my friend's excitement - I could hear the music pulsating in the backgrounds, the excited chatter that was surrounding him - I could almost feel the sun on my own cheeks.
I pulled myself up, turned on the coffee, and perched myself on the computer chair, clicking on the site to start the Live Action feed for the race.
"And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air..."
And two minutes later, when the gun went off, so did my tears.
On one hand it was torture, but on the other, I just needed to see. I needed to, in some way, experience this moment in Tempe.
Overwhelmed with sadness and envy, I started to get a tickle in my belly. As I wiped my cheeks with the sleeve of my hoodie, I realized this tickle was hope.
Very quietly, so not to wake the house, I put on my clothes, got in my car, and went to the gym. First time in almost five weeks.
In the locker room, I put on my suit, got in the pool, and notice that, at that very minute, I would have been just emerging from Tempe Town Lake.
And I began my swim.
I began to start over, as if I were the Megan of last November, the Megan who could not fathom swimming more than 20 minutes in a shot. The Megan who struggled through her stokes, gliding for one lap, cursing the next. The Megan who couldn't flip turn. The Megan who didn't plan ahead enough to have eaten more before the swim.
But yet, this was a different Megan. This Megan was wiser. This Megan was stronger. This Megan has done the training, and was back to do it again. This Megan knew discipline, and this Megan knew that, yes, she could do it.
This Megan knew that, despite the bad laps, she could do this all day if need be. This Megan knew that this time around, she would work more on her core to make sure her back never broke again. This Megan knew how to do a five hour ride, and then when called to do it again, she could in a heartbeat. This Megan knew that, this time next year, she would be Ironman.
As I struggled through my 1000 meter swim, recognizing the blessing of an empty Sunday morning pool bestowed on me by the same Higher Power that told me this would not be the day I would be an Ironman, I stopped being sad. I just accepted.
And I came home, every block I drove wondering where I would have been on the bike at that moment. As I walked in, I turned on the computer, watching people ride, and listening to the audio of family and friends cheer. I honestly wished every stranger I saw the best for today.
And then I picked out the ones I was sure I would have beaten.
At least on the bike.
I guess this Megan still has her competitiveness.
(Come on, you know you size-up other age-groupers, too)
And with that, I begin again.