I had to make a very difficult health decision during the last week.
The decision I was faced with was whether or not to let go of a dream…a two year quest…and not participate in Ironman this weekend due to my leg injury. It was a tough decision. I had actually decided more than a week ago not to run. But this week, as the athlete village started going up in City Park, and as the Ironman vibe began to permeate Coeur d'Alene, I began to have second thoughts.
“Well, I know it’s not the smartest thing in the world, but I’ll bet I can gut it out. It’ll probably set my healing back a bit...but I’ll be an Ironman!”
I went for a short run on Tuesday to test drive my bad wheel, and it actually didn’t hurt very much. But…it didn’t feel right. I’m not healed nearly enough to swim, bike and run 140.6 miles, and in my heart and mind, I knew that.
Had I been thinking rationally, I wouldn’t have even considered starting the race. But after two years of eating, sleeping and breathing Ironman, I had allowed it to become my identity. I had grown attached to winning a medal that I could show off, and being able to tell everyone I was an Ironman finisher. I had my story: “Arthritic to Ironman! What a hero! Hooray for Mark!”
Tough to let go of. Pure ego!
I also feared that I would be letting people down. The Ironman community is a close knit one. We train together, we party together, and we support and cheer each other on through good times and bad. I had set a goal and made a commitment…and told everyone about it.
“What will people think if I don’t come through?”
Had I made my decision from a place of ego and fear, I most certainly would have failed to finish the race, and quite likely would have turned a relatively minor injury – and one that is healing beautifully – into a serious one. Luckily, I listened to the quiet, rational voice within me and stayed out of the race.
But I’m still a part of it. If you’re reading this on Sunday morning, I’m out on the course as you read. I’m cheering my fellow triathletes on with as much energy, heart and spirit as if I were running the race myself.
Good luck, my friends!!!
Healing update: I'm healing more and more every day. The wound may not look much better -- in fact, some people have said it looks worse -- but I can innately tell my healing process is continuing to unfold perfectly. Visually, we can only see what is on the surface. Healing takes place at many different levels. And, as I said before, healing is not a smooth, linear process. It's not always easy for us to understand, because it is far more sophisticated, complex and high tech than any technology we humans will ever invent. It is orchestrated by a wisdom that our intellect will never match. So...I am willing to trust...this is perfect!