I blame Father's Day for causing me to be so pensive over all this. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my dad but some days are harder than others. As I'm checking off the weeks of peak ironman training I'm missing having him as my support system. Saturday I did my longest ride of 100 miles. I was riding along, happy as could be, thinking about how much I used to hate biking and now I can't seem to spend enough time on two wheels. I was thinking about how far I've come and how hard I've worked to get to where I am. And that's when it hit, like a wave in the ocean you don't see coming and temporarily drowns you. I felt like I was gasping for air and just burst into tears because the one person I wanted to share my successes and hardships with is gone.
100 miles later
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how much you like being on your bike) I still had more than hour before my ride was over. I started thinking that while I never really had a plan or idea of what I thought my life would look like at this point, I certainly didn't think it would look like it does now. And I couldn't be happier about that. I've been through a lot and I am stronger because of all of it. If you had asked me five years ago about racing an ironman, or even doing a sprint triathlon, I probably would have told you there was no chance. I would have laughed in your face at the idea of biking 100 miles. Yet here I am, practically begging to spend more time on my bike. Hell I even traded a trip to the beach for a new bike. And yes I did strategically look for apartments in Philly that were easiest to leave the city for riding.
I think part of the reason I'm struggling so much lately is because ironman was not just my dream. It was a dream my dad and I came up with together late one night, probably either watching a baseball game or puppy walking. Every crazy idea I had, and trust me there were a lot of them, he supported and encouraged all of them. We were such a good team because I was always trying to push boundaries and limits, waiting for someone to stop me, and he let me go as far as I wanted to push myself because he knew I could.
Post-100 miler drinks
On Saturday while I was riding through the middle of nowhere, crying because I missed my dad, I remembered why I was out there. I love triathlon, I love riding, I love going fast, I love pushing myself, I love beating the boys, I love being challenged, I love surrounding myself with badass people, I love feeling fearless and free, and I love that I am doing this for myself because I want to. As I was finishing my ride I wanted to shout "I'm baaaack" because after losing my dad, having my heart broken, and repairing it with the help of some amazing friends I finally feel like I'm back to my crazy self. And it feels fucking amazing.