Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quiet Conclusions

It occurred to me how little I have shared about this journey with everyone. While there are hundreds of posts that I’ve made – some more personal than others – I am left with this haunting feeling that too much has been left unsaid. So many thoughts left out on the road. So many impressions and conclusions that were experienced and appreciated, but never articulated. So many moments. So many tiny moments of happiness and glimmering hope for my own life.

So many.

I am starting to feel the comfort of conclusion. With the actual race still three weeks and 900 miles away, I am already going through the natural process of tying up loose ends. I think this is part of my growing understanding that the journey is the destination and I have had a very enjoyable journey. I have learned so very much about myself, regardless of the cliché. I have struck the right balance and I’m happy with my work. I would change a little, but not a lot. So, as the big day approaches I have this counter intuitive feeling of conclusion. It’s odd, but it makes sense.

My taper is somewhat agreeing with me, if you can look past the weird fits of sleeplessness, the unidentifiable aches and twinges, and the moments of spontaneous crying. But, generally, I feel a large dose of relief. Relief in a job well done and the knowledge that I can balance a challenging lifestyle that would befuddle many, and that I can do it as a part of recovery. I can say for sure that there was not one moment this past year where old coping mechanisms made sense and my natural proclivities became more of an interesting oddity than unabiding compulsion.

I have come a long way from my first day in rehab, on June 4, 2005. And regardless of where my chip will fall in Wisconsin, I am sated by that knowledge. I have become all of those things I sought out to become – reliable, mature and a person rooted on her own integrity. The steps to this were made of daily choices and small decisions. But their cumulative result has been a year well lived. My year well lived.

And I have fallen in love. Deeply in love. And for the first time in my life, I plan for the future with hope rather than fear. I know that I can be there for my partner and I know that I can be a good parent. I know that my future is full of hope and I see that clearly when I watch Mighty M quietly sleep at night. I touch the halo of this joy when I hear his voice and we laugh together. The two of us. Not against the world, but diving into the future. Hand in hand.

So, in a way, I guess I have come to see the Ironman as a coming out party for myself. I have aged and grown through these miles on the road and laps in the pool. I have developed strength beyond my muscles and an endurance that applies as fittingly to my relationships as it does to my centuries. I have begun to trust my instincts and my wisdom, as well as my physical abilities and limitations. I have rebuilt my life, all the while building my body. It has been an amazing trip.

I have said before that in order to begin the Ironman, I have to be content with not finishing the Ironman. I think I have come to that point now. Last night, Mighty M relayed a conversation he had with a friend, highlighting that he feels the courage to start the race far outshines the fact of finishing. I believe that now. I believe that what I have done goes well beyond simply swimming, biking and running. I believe that what I have done is prove that no matter where you find yourself in life, no matter what circumstances are pressing on your future and what influences are forcing your hand, you can change everything for the better. It takes courage. It takes a huge amount of humility. And it takes the kindness and compassion of others. But it can happen.

I am no longer who I was. I am the person I always wanted to be. And for this, I am thankful.

19 comments:

Laurie said...

This gave me chills. Congratulations on becoming the person you've always wanted to be. You've come a long way and I am very proud of you.

Brent Buckner said...

You've done so well!

That was a graceful post.

greyhound said...

I will see you at the journey's end . . . the beginning of the next.

JenC said...

I got chills too. Right on lady! It is the journey, not the destination - well written!

Meggan Ann said...

Hi. This made me cry. I wish you were in Florida because I would hug you.

Erin said...

Wow. I'm speechless. This is one amazing post, obviously written by one amazing person. I will see you at that finish line on September 9th...if not somewhere along the way beforehand. Not long now...

momo said...

beautiful and very well said.

you are so very right, the journey is the destination and what you've learned about yourself these weeks and months leading up to race day will far outshine what you learn crossing the finish line. you know why? because you've already won.

congrats to you!!

stronger said...

I cried. I agree with Momo, you have already won. You have already come across the line. May your day bring hours and hours of celebration for all your courage, determination and hard work.

j. said...

wonderful thoughts. wonderful post. thank you for sharing.

i completely agree with you. Ironman is not about what a clock says at the finish line. it is not about endings. Ironman is about beginnings - the commitment and dedication to live your life the way you want to live it. and the courage to toe up to the starting line, despite the fear, and to keep moving forward.

you already are an Ironman. the race is just a celebration.

J.

Donald said...

Beautiful post, and I agree with everyone's comments here also. You've come so far already - what's the Ironman, really? It's just a little bit further.

LBTEPA said...

here's a GREAT BIG HUG.
There should really be a bit in your post about all the people you've inspired and helped (me included)

Tom said...

Your post has moved me. Your words are beautiful and their meaning exceeds what many people never express in lifetime.

So happy for your found love, your strength, your joy.

May you continue to enjoy continued growth.

Chad said...

I came across your post on Accelerade.com about adding more calories to your drink. Have you tried anything like CarboPro?

(http://www.nvo.com/sportquestdir/products/skudetail.nhtml?uid=1000)

It easily dissolves in all liquids. Just be sure to try it out in practice prior ot your IM. I'd even suggest trying it out at a lower key race where your intensity and nerves will be increased.

kelly said...

Incredible post. Thanks so much for sharing. Your blog makes me laugh and sometimes makes me cry. Always, I find it inspiring. Be strong.

AGA said...

Fabulous post, thank you for sharing the journey. Having the courage to start and to become the person you've always wanted to be...you are leaps and bounds ahead of the game. Be strong, able one:)

Kim said...

goosebumps!!! what a long strange trip it's been...and much much MUCH more to come. i look forward to reading all of your journeys!

Mallie said...

Wonderful post. Awesome attitude. You deserve the start, the during and the finish and all the glory and memories they all will bring to you and Mighty M!

Tea said...

You are so amazing.

ShirleyPerly said...

Whatever happens on race day you've already won. Congratulations.