Aug 28, 2007
Several children sat to play a game. They took turns playing the game, moving the pieces around the board. They played and played until there was finally a winner. The child that won stood up and yelled, "I won, what do I get?" A young boy that was also playing the game smiled and said "You win joy."
On the surface the children didn't catch what was going on. They didn't know what just happened. The teacher in the room did. The boys mother had cancer and was almost certain to die.
I bring up this story not to preach or teach. I bring up this story as September 9th, 2007 is important for so many reasons. I have had a hard time bringing this up, but maybe, just maybe I should?
It has been 10 years since my daughter completed treatment at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. It is the very same hospital that we will run past on the Ironman route. I will be able to see that hospital so many times. I will first see it about mile 5 and will last see the hospital about mile 21. I run past it in training almost daily. On Ironman day, I'm sure it will be different. If all goes well, I will see Abby at the finish line. I will see her for the FIRST time at the finish line. She has been to races with me in San Diego where I had it all planned out. I had it set. I was to run up to her, grab her out of the crowd and run to the finish line. That never happened. Might this year be different? I'm not sure.
Either way, the last few miles of any race are emotional. For me, time is not all the important. I can honestly sit here today and say that I have given all I have to my team. I have given all I have to my Coach. My family is far different. Yes, I have given all I have, but they have given far more to me. Once Ironman is over, it's time for me to repay them. I have given 500+ hours to training that I could have spent with them. I have given almost the same amount of time just thinking about the race.
When the cannon goes off on Sunday, I will focus on the swim. I will get on my bike and work hard keeping consistent power, eating, and drinking to stay in the race. Once I get on the run I will start to dream about the finish line. At times I don't want this journey to end. At other times, I can hardly wait. Come Sunday about mile 23 I will focus on family. I will smile and dream about that finish line. Will I get to carry Abby and Austin across that line? Only time will tell. All I can tell you is the UW Hospital will be the cornerstone of that day. Our family lived in that hospital 8 months. After 10 years, its time for me to finally let it go and celebrate. Its time for me to take a cue from that boy playing the game. What did I win? Joy. The joy of seeing Abby at the finish line 10 years later.