Somewhere over the Pacific.
I’ll Command C then Command V this right into the blog when I’m online again, but here’s when I’m feeling it. When writing is your therapy, your catharsis, as it is for me, you let the moment take you when it will, and this is my moment.
I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on the whole thing. I’ve gone rafting with hubby, son and son’s lovely girl in one of the most beautiful places on earth; all of which worked on my psyche to help me get things into perspective. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- I am so very fortunate. I have the most unbelievable family and friends. The outpouring of support I received when I told my Ironman story has touched me to the core of my very soul (and if you know me at all, you know I don’t use expressions like that lightly). Someone very dear to me suggested that I had all of my loved ones swimming with me that day in the lake, and it was no wonder that I struggled, but if that is the case, then I’ll happily never complete Ironman, because that weight is a privilege, a pleasure, and an honor. I cannot begin to express my humility and gratitude for your words of support and encouragement and affirmation.
2. I have enthusiastically capitulated to my grief. I have cried (when my husband bought me the dress in the Sydney airport we picked out in November on our trip here and labelled it my Ironman dress). I have laughed (when my son said he would never again wait at the water for me to exit from a race – and then at our good-bye hug said that nothing could keep him from it). I have gotten drunk (keep those first- class vodka and cranberry juices coming). I have planned (for we high-achievers, nothing assuages grief like a plan: sprint Tri in June, Olympic in July, Half in August, Iron in September).
3. I am ready to be home. I’m ready, after a month, to see my dogs, my room, my farm, my horses, cows, donkeys, my work, friends, coworkers. I have been dreading it, not because you are disappointed IN me, but because you are disappointed FOR me, and I don’t want to cause you pain. I am OK. I tried a mighty thing and didn’t get the result I wanted. I’m going to try again. And again. How incredible to be healthy enough to make that statement.
4. I have come away from this experience knowing that I am more than Ironman. My focus will be different, my plan will be different. You each have shown me, through your lovely words, that my value lies in who I am, not what I do. My blog will reflect that. I am ready to write about other things: the remarkable people I know, books I’ve read, things I’ve done, places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, things I’ve learned. I did not realize my focus had become so narrow, and I am grateful for the growing experience of this event to help me see that I had become only an Ironman-in-training, and not the multi-faceted person I really am, and love to be.
5. Back to #1: I am so lucky. I don’t know how I’ve come up with the most supportive network of friends and family in the world, but I have. How many people don’t know the joy of the hug of a friend, the whisper of encouragement, the kiss of good luck, the prayer of health, the intention of love, and I have known them all.
Here we go: what a ride! I can’t wait to see what happens next. Come with me; take this journey, however it manifests for you, and tell me about it. Thank you for your absolute generosity in giving to me – I just can’t find a way to express my gratitude. I can’t wait to hear what your next adventure is – I draw strength from reading and hearing about what you do.
Life is so very, very good…
Thanks for reading.
March 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm
Beautifully written. Thank you for taking us on this journey. Look forward to seeing you home.
March 12, 2010 at 5:53 am
Thank you my Liz – you know you are one of my inspirations! I look forward to us getting together soon!
March 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Your sheer determination to succeed is awesome. “Work to failure, sister” is what you’ve always said to me. I say it to you now, precious sister, because that is what you have done. You worked until your body failed you. It will be strengthened through that failure to be stronger the next time it is challenged. That is what you have taught me…that is what I know.
March 12, 2010 at 6:00 am
My lovely sister…you have no idea what your friendship means to me. You are a ray of sunshine – your smile, your laugh, your sweet, sweet spirit! I can’t wait for a girl-together very very soon. Thank you for supporting me on every step of my journey then AND now. I love you, sister-I-never-had!!
March 11, 2010 at 4:06 am
I love you mom!
March 12, 2010 at 6:00 am
I love you too Samson…thank you for waiting for me.
March 11, 2010 at 7:02 am
Gayle, I think you are braver than I will ever be, and you are a winner just for doing what you have done with your life… I remember when you were carrying the girls, and I look at you now and just shake my head … you set the bar so high for the rest of us, and a “fail” as some might see it at this Ironman is more of a “success” than most of us will ever see … never doubt yourself … I love you, cuz
March 12, 2010 at 6:08 am
My Stephanie – thank you so much for your comment – you are one of my oldest (!) and dearest friends and your encouragement means so much. And you, my girl, are brave and independent, and you inspire me too with you open spirit and refusal to conform…LET OUR FREAK FLAG FLY! I love you too cuzzie!
March 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Hey Gayle, please email us – you should have the address on your work email – we have some suggestions that will help, but we need to talk to you. asap. Skype us if you can – that’s on your work email too!
The Girls xx
March 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm
Gayle, when you get to your TN abode you will find a package from us. We obviously ordered it before Saturday. However, the enclosed message remains the same. The whole process before, during and after is “an amazing feat by an amazing woman.” All our love, Renee & David
March 12, 2010 at 6:15 am
Hey my Duggers!! Your package was waiting here for me when I got home…and you better believe I’ma wear it!! You have been so supportive on every step (and stroke, and pedal) of my journey and it means worlds to me. Thank you for believing in me, for expressing it so often, for being so inspirational in your own right, for thinking of me with such a thoughtful gift, for being such lovely, loyal friends! Keep on reading, cuz we are gonna try this again!! I love you both!