Tag Archives: biking

Getting Started

20160522_092646

On Biking

The  red-faced, wind-kissed cheeks and the smell of fresh air on your skin ,and knowing that you just came in from a slightly windy morning riding at the beach never really does get old. San Francisco has changed. For sure. But the morning fog still rolls, and and the crazy waves still crash on the shore of Ocean Beach. Still not up to “training pace” but getting out again on Sunday put me back into that infinity circle again of “what have I been missing!”

On Running

Crissy Fields is another one of those magical places. I ride my bike down Market, up Polk Street all the way up to the Marina; gives a real feel of how the city changes from one area to the other (from rags to riches…and all the colors in between). My heart becomes lighter as I climb up that last hill and the ocean comes into view.

20160522_092624Getting started, like with anything, always feels like a big push. And last Monday I drudged myself along for the first mile or so, convinced to keep going only by the ocean breeze and the sway of the grass. By mile 4 I was in a groove when I heard quick-footsteps behind me and then beside me. Realizing that we were basically the same pace, the other set of foot-steps and mine matched each other–first her running slightly faster with me a little behind and then vice-versa (the pains and gains of training with another). Half-way through, I gasped between breaths, “What’s…your…name…” and aside from that the only sounds we exchanged was the  rhythm of our feet and the quick breaths as we continued down the path.

On Swimming

Yesterday, I tried to run on the treadmill. Bad. Idea. Too tired. Too light-headed. Too stifling. Not happening. Didn’t even want to get into the pool after that. But it’s a rooftop outdoor pool. And it was, again, that perfect mix of fog and rain.”One lap,” I whispered to myself, shivering on the side of the pool. I dipped one foot in the water which sent my face into a scrunch.  I felt the whine coming low and fast and before it sent my legs running down into the locker room where a sauna awaited, I dove in, the  water making me forget whatever doubts I had about being here in the first place.

Sprints were on my agenda. Just one length of the pool at a time with a 20 second rest…how to get my time down to just 20 seconds? I put my attention on the pull part of the stroke; where the elbow is bent and the forearm pushes against the water. Could I push any harder? Recover any faster? Focusing on the push and recovery on the seventh of twelve lengths, I glanced up at the clock as my fingertips touched the wall. The clock read 20 seconds…all because of a bit of awareness and effort at one aspect of my stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

More Tea?

20141026_173950

Ray’s Teaset. Yogaville, Virginia

On February 14, 2002 I wrote in my journal, “Floating in the ocean with nothing better to do than stare at the bright blue  sky.” This was from the white sands of the beaches in Northeastern Brazil. It was my third year of college and this was my study abroad…I was studying the relationship between ocean and sky. I wasn’t, actually. But there was something that I was trying to grasp in that journal entry that I’m just finally moving towards twelve years later:  relaxation.

20140911_090049

The road outside my mom’s house. The start of the 40 mile biking adventure from the suburbs to Boston.

In that moment as in other vacation moments I’ve wondered how to bring that “floating” sensation to “every day life” or “the real world.” After leaving Mexico, where I taught 2nd grade for three years, I decided to take the year off from teaching.On purpose, with no job or home in place, I flew to Boston where I floated in between my parent’s homes  by bike, by car, and by train. Things just worked out. My dad gave me his old car for the price of a new muffler. I found a job substitute teaching very easily, and out of the blue came the email that my acupuncturist said I would get. Would you like to staff the Basic Yoga Teacher Training it read from my yoga teacher.

20141021_155606

The trails in Yogaville

And so I floated to Yogaville, an ashram situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Once there, floating was easy. My “work” was supporting a program that I truly believe in while I too practiced with the students. Work was learning the elements of Integral Yoga again, practicing yoga every day, and meditating. “Work” was getting to know participants and their floating lives, learning and conversing with the other interesting members of the staff. “Work” was hiking the trails,
long conversations in the dining hall with others’, and jamming to poetry and chants. While I was “working” the support and love I felt as a staff was the same that I had felt four years prior when participating in the program itself. Floating felt natural as I found that many participants in the program and others that were living in the ashram were also floating.

20141201_072314

The Dunes Trail. Arcata, Ca

From there, I floated to another retreat on the coast of Northern California.. While these two retreats were different they had a very similar effect on me and the message was clear: “Relax into love and you can’t go wrong.” The question among many of us was, “But how do I do that during every day life?”

Something in both places that was said resonated me. “This is every day life.”

IMG-20141220-WA0001

San Francisco in the Fog.

Living in community, acting with and discussing what it means to move with awareness. And most of all, learning to live in the in-between, because that is the only thing real that exists.”And yet, that is a very scary place to be, especially when living in a city; a city where“floating” doesn’t always feel acceptable because everyone’s always racing to get on the next train especially me!

20141026_181352

Yogaville, Virginia

Or where there are so many distractions  it’s hard to remember what feels true and to remember to give myself the time to stop and listen to the voice of love inside. And being in a city has brought up old anxieties and it’s hard to be patient with myself. I somehow feel that  because I just came from these magical places of conscious floaters that I should automatically be different and when I put that should on myself  I feel the fear of being in that “in-between” place creep up and from that fear tension grows.

And yet, also while being in this city,I have been lucky enough to float from amazing person to person, including loving family that has let me into their home.

The stories of inspiration, trauma, and  love that I have heard are incredible.No one has spoken of perfection or of lack of want. But everyone has spoken with an understanding of the importance of following one’s heart and understanding of that chilling fear when hearing the voice that says, I am lost. And yet, with patience and tranquility the answer of what’s next always comes.

Before I left Mexico, I had lunch with a friend. When I started telling him all of my plans and everything I wanted to do with all of my excitement he said, “Sarah, I see you as lost.” My face fell and I started crying. “You need to have a plan.” he said.

I heard a “but” creeping up inside me. What’s wrong with being lost? It said.

“Yes.” I nodded my head. “A plan.”

“And not just sit around and have long lunches and tea with people.”

“Right.” I thought.

And I left that lunch feeling miserable. Why hadn’t I voiced what I had heard? There was nothing wrong with being “lost.”. And besides, I love long teas!  I learned how to do that in Mexico!

20141026_174841

Tea Ceremony at Yogaville led by Ray.

Yesterday, I floated from one two hour tea date to the next. I was able to completely be with them in the moment because there was nothing else I had to do. Floating gives me the time to be still so that I can finally hear that voice within me that guides me to either go left, right, or stare at the blue sky while floating on the waves on the white sand beaches in Brazil.

Free-Rollin to Karaoke

I heard a car door shut and my coach’s voice, “Sarah, solo es tu y tu camino!”  and then it was just me….well, me, my bike and a highway of roaring cars. This was back in November. The last long ride before the Ironman. I stared ahead of me and felt the beating sun on my face. I looked up at the green rolling hills and thought, “This is how I fell in love with Mexico.” And when I looked down at the white line that I was tracking I thought, “Oh hell, this road needs some song!” And assuming that no one could hear me busted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the top of my lungs.

When I was little my grandparents’ house in San Francisco was my magical kingdom: besides being spoiled rotten with sugar cereals for breakfast, jelly donuts on Sundays,  two ice cream sundaes for dessert  I was also the ever- gorgeous and willing model for my grandmother’s continuous clicking camera.

Upon arrival to the castle from Boston, I dropped my bags at the door, and raced up the winding carpeted staircase, where to the immediate left was the king and queen’s bedroom (my grandparents).My grandfather lay in his the big comfy bed with a breakfast tray lying on his belly and the crossword puzzle in his hand. Upon seeing him, I shouted “PAPA!” and he in his gruntling papa way would say, “Eyyyy, Sarahla, good to see ya.” Black and white photos taken and developed my grandma lined the walls with my mom, aunts and uncles, me and all my cousins.

But the best part…the real reason that I raced up those stairs so quickly was the Royal Closet. A three part door with mirrors on each one. When you closed the two doors it became a hall of mirrors…I spent hours in there making up songs and plays and conversations with the millions of mes so engrossed in my own imaginary play not giving a care in the world what adult might be laughing hysterically on the other side of that closet.

Fast forward twenty-five years, a little more hesitation and reserve has settled in. But on that hot November morning on the roaring highway, after 100 kilometers of riding, I really was not thinking about who might be on the lookout (well, except for maybe that broadway producer who just happened to pass by).

At lunch later that afternoon of the bike ride one of my coaches looked at me and said, “So in the car all the sudden I heard, ‘And IIII will always love you.” And everyone busted out laughing. So much for solitude. Another coach reprimanded me not for singing, but for my choice of song. And so began Sarah’s reputation for singing during whatever she does. (to this day, there are certain songs I am not “allowed’ to sing).

Around the same time, I was introduced to the rodillo libre

the-free- roller

the-do-you-love-me-today- roller

the-wash-your-lycra-out-with-sweat roller

the panic-and -run roller….

…a bike trainer in which the only way to keep yourself from falling is to breathe,  pedal, balance, and relax.  The first time I got on, my coach said, “Sing to me.” HA. I couldn’t tell him he was crazy, I couldn’t say anything but whimper and cry out “WOAAAAHHH!! AND DON’T YOU DARE LET GO!”  nonetheless, not a single lyric would come out of my mouth.

rodillo libre

My coach is in front of me saying “Relax!”

Rodillo and I have almost a year together. As much as I panicked (and still panic) over it, it has also been the best meditation. Letting go of the stresses of the day,  focusing on just rhythm and breathing (cuz if not, the damn thing will throw me overboard),and allowing myself to be okay with not having a good moment. It has taught me what it means to  to fall out and come back, to let go of disappointment, and know that no matter what happens I am loved…

as well of course  balance, cadence, and hand position.

The rodillo libre is just me and my road…with the distractions of people moving around, coaches bumping into me as a lesson to keep pedaling and balanced,  heavy rain falling on the tin roof, music blasting with coaches and my panicked mind saying “REEEELLLAAAAX.”

Thursday  I had come a little late and so everyone else had finished their rodillo libre and went to swim. It was just me, the rodillo, and the wall. The music had stopped. “Coach! Please put on the music!” (I could finally say a few words that weren’t “Shit, I’m going to fall!”)

“What’s that one song that you always sing?” my coach asked me.

Oh how the coaches spoil me! Just me and my road, mirrors of myself all around. My choice of song  and the echo of my own voice at the top of my lungs (well as much as my breath would allow)…my very own American Idol Diva Moment….all on tape.  And  I was not about to pass that up.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you… free-rollin to karaoke.

 

Sometimes The Soul Just Needs a Jumpstart

Arco de Sitio

Arco de Sitio

So I made a big decision. Well, I made it back in October, but every day it gets closer. And the ups and downs of that decision has been difficult to put onto paper in a way that conveys meaning and productivity instead of just a round-about of thoughts. So, here’s my attempt:

 My life is wonderfully busy. I teach the most interesting, hilarious children with wonderful supportive, smart colleagues. When I walk into school in the morning someone has sent some miraculous activity for our unit and some child has a huge smile on his or her face ready to tell me the most fantastic thing that happened to him or her that weekend.

I belong to an incredible triathlon team who, even when I wake up in the worst mood ever thinking it might be better to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed for the day moaning in self-pity so that I don’t expose anyone else to such an attitude, somehow make me want to get out of bed at some ridiculous hour on a Sunday morning and pack my bag for biking, while I run into my neighbor who is just finishing her night and headed to bed. Not only that, but then they make me forget that I was ever wanting to be in bed and, not-even-so-reluctantly coax me out of my self-pitiness so that then I am a cheerful, smiling, “buenos dias!” coffee-drinking, picture-taking, person. Damn athletes!

I teach yoga to a kind, forgiving, and fun group of friends and colleagues who let me experiment on them with different yoga poses or my latest massage technique.

 I live in a quiet building on the top floor where I have lots of light, wonderful neighbors and access to a terrace outside my door.   Two blocks away is a fabulous market with fresh produce and every juice you could want to buy. Public transportation, public bikes, tortillerias are just outside my door. Yes, a wonderfully busy life. After two and a half years I call this bustling, traffic-crazed, smog-filled, crazy crowded, city home.

 Since coming back from Christmas break (January) I have not had a single day in which I slept past five o’clock in the morning (self-imposed). I hadn’t been sleeping well either, and so  I was quite relieved for a wedding that allowed for a five day rest in my other home  San Francisco where I stayed with my kind and warm aunt and uncle who fed me licorice and chocolate (as staples, of course). No worries: I also ate dumplings, pizza, ice cream, and gnocci.

 Wandering around the city, good friends  said, “Welcome home!” and the question always remains, “Where is home?” Yes, home is where the heart is….soooo how many places can I live in at the same time?  My heart is torn among many places and does not always make financially sound decisions. Although, I’m starting to think it might be smarter than I realize.

 Of course, life is not so blissfully PolyAnna all the time. Children fight, lessons sometimes fall to pieces, grad school papers need to be written, and bike rides often go uphill (and downhill). Going “home” meant staying for a five day vacation and being busy was meeting friends for lunch and going for a reasonable timed morning run around the lake.

It was not so bad either to travel back to Mexico city, have a friend pick me up from the airport where we promptly met two other friends for nopalitos con queso de panela and a limonada mineral.

 So what about next year? What am I to do? I have resigned from my teaching job here in Mexico, and much to my delight and terror, do not have a 9-5 job lined up for the upcoming school year. What will I do without a bell telling me what to do every forty minutes? And I do not mean that sarcastically! I thrive on structure and as much as I push against it it’s somewhat a relief to always find that those walls are there.

 Crying to my mom on the phone the other day I said, “What the hell did I do!?!?!26468_1407249463034_711018_n I love my life!! Why did I have to go an interrupt it?” and relying on an old line, one that I knew that was coming she said, “Well, your soul needed a jumpstart.” Yes. Indeed. Or a break. Or a challenge. Or..?

I moved to Mexico 3 years ago because, well, why not? I arrived here,looked around at the smog and traffic and said, “ “What the hell did I do?!?!” And it worked out pretty darn good.

 So with three thousand ideas, a supportive community of friends and family, and newly rested, I am excited to stay present in the crazy busyness giving myself fully to the beautiful life I have created right now here (with the fleeting emotions of ups and downs and all arounds that exist with or without 9-5 jobs), and looking
forward to the new adventure that I will embark on this summer.

 starsSuggestions, dreams, stars,  contacts, unicorns, and ideas are welcome.

 

 

Fourteen Hours and Thirty-Nine Minutes of Joy


Saturday night, November 30th, I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was thinking about the incredible luck I had in having the best people around to support me both far and wide, or the excitement of the next day, or….?

I laid down at nine pm to be only slightly awoken two hours later by a phone call. “Todo listo?” said Coach Edgar’s voice on the other end. He was calling from Mexico City.

“Si,” I responded, hoping indeed that I had packed everything the day before. “What time is it?” hoping so hoping that it was already 4:00 so I could just get up and go already! “Todavia es muy de noche.” He wished me luck, a hug, and reminded me that this was going to be one of the best days of my life.

I fell into a very fitful sleep. At 4:15 my alarm went off (not that I really needed it) and  mom and I went up to the roof of our hotel who had provided  a special Ironman breakfast. How fun it was to see all the competitors and their families getting ready…nervous mumblings, intense chewing, and excited glances among us all.

We rode a taxi down to the transition area where I got my bike tires pumped, stripped down to my bathing suit, and walked back and forth between where  my mom was spectating and my bike, reminding her of last minute details or asking her to just hold one more thing. I felt like I was at a high school swim meet again (let it be noted that whenever my mom or dad is around I think I automatically regress to fifteen years old).

As I was walking back to my bike for the umpteenth time in the semi-dark I heard a familar, “Hola.” It was Antonio, the owner of Asdeporte who really was the reason that I was able to participate in this journey. I gave him a huge smile. “Antonio,” I said, my heart swelling with gratitude, “Thank you so much for this. You have no idea what an incredible journey this has been.” “Estas contenta?” he asked back calmly. Hardly being able to control the emotion in my voice, I told him,”Yes, very content.Thank you.”

I found my ironwoman pair, Paloma, and together we received hugs and  we walked over to the busses where we were being carted for a new start to the swim (3100 meters with the current because of strong winds)…yessss!! I gave a hearty hug to the amazing cheerleaders and photographer, my mom, Vail, and Diane and headed off to the bus.

Mama's Love

Mama’s Love

Having to pee so badly, I decided to exercise my it’s MY ironman- and-no rules- apply, found a tree in a not-so-secluded area before boarding the bus.

I followed Paloma into another bathroom after getting off the bus. The line was long and there were only two stalls. The countdown to 7 am was upon us and  in both English and Spanish we pleaded with each other to please hurry…we were on the beach with 3 minutes to spare when I glanced up and saw Luisen, our coach. “LUIIIIISEEEEEEENN!!!” we shouted and he came running down to give us a huge hug and suddenly without me even realizing it the horn sounded and Paloma said, “Vamos juntos?”

My Ironman partner Paloma and me

And so along with 2,000 other red swimming caps at 7 am sharp we began the year-long-anticipated day. Swimming with the current, looking down at the coral reef where I could actually see the bottom was just like everyone said, beautiful.I found my space (among 2,000 swimmers not so easy) and settled into being a “snorkeler” telling myself to take it easy, breathe, I was going to be here for what I anticipated, about an hour and half.

I glanced up to make sure I was on track and heard a large booming microphone and realized that I didn’t see any buoys anymore…whaa? Oh my gosh, it’s the shore? I’m…done??? I raced with other swimmers (careful not to get kicked) clamored out of the water, and glanced down at my watch…51 MINUTES!! I tore off my swim cap, eyes wide, smile big, when I heard, “SAAARRAAAAHH!!” I glanced back and saw my friend Armando as he waved with his head and shouted, “VAMMOS!!”

Running to the bike

Running to the bike

I ran to get my bike bag, praying that I hadn’t forgotten to pack anything from the night before. I found a chair to put my things on, stripped out of my bathing suit (again the it’s-my-ironman-no-
rules-apply) and shimmied into my two piece tri-suit (including the ironman tri-top that my mom had purchased for me the day before). A woman shouted, “We did it!!” and a huge hollering went up in the tent. Volunteers lathered me up with sunblock and I grabbed my nutrition (nutella sandwich, honey stinger waffle, and gawd-knows how many gels) with one hand and my bike shoes with the other and ran awkwardly to my bike where I tried to fit all of my food into my bento box….had to leave some things behind…(there was an ironman who said if only 12 things go wrong during the event, you’re doing well). I counted this as one of the 12, cut my losses relieved for the cliff blocks and the knowledge that stations along the way would have gel.


thebike
And there I was. On the bike! Oh my gawd! I’m actually doing this!!! This is happening!! The cool thing about an ironman is that your race tag has your name and your country of origin (mine said, Sarah, Mexico City, United States)…and so as I was biking I heard, “Go Sarah!” and was confused for a second at who might know who I am especially from behind and then got excited that I could also root on total strangers by name! However, trying to read names and countries is a little difficult and so sometimes  I would start out in English? no…Spanish? Portuguese?? Sorry, don’t speak French–

The first part of the course was awesome. Winds in our favor, going a steady 30-32km an hour, paying attention to cadence at 90rpms a minute–and just so much fun. And then to the Punta Azul….the wind. The day before my coach and I had had a conversation about this. “And what are you going to do?” he said.  The bike is not my strong point, and lots of learnings of surrender have been had while riding.

“Just sit in the wind and pedal, I guess. There’s nothing else TO do.”

“Exactly.” And so, there I was, on my aerobars, surrendering, breathing, smiling, into…10 miles or so of cross-winds.windyside

And then we turned the corner again and oh, soo nice to have the wind behind us and pedaling at a normal pace again! We got into town and there were my faithful cheerleaders with their morracas as I heard, “Saaaraaah!!!” and gave them a huge smile and a thumbs up as I rounded the corner for lap number two.

Hat with morraccas

Mom with her hat and morraccas


The volunteers and fans were amazing. I think my favorite sign was “Smile! It makes you go faster!”

I lost track of how far I had gone because I had failed to turn on my watch at the very start…(and then realized that that was the mistake, not that it wasn’t working, and with much relief turned it on). Your mind does start messing with you a little bit. And so at some point on the third lap I would ask a cyclist if he/she had clocked the distance and then depending if they were from the States or the rest of the world I would spend five minutes converting miles into kilometers or kilometers into miles and doing that again and again and again….something to keep my mind occupied.

I think it was at mile 70 (kilometer 105 or so) that I realized that I was going to finish the bike. That I could do another 42 miles…and even with the stupid wind (sorry) I was doing just fine. During the last lap, as I was settling into the wind once again, I thought about Endurance, my team.
windysidebikefront
I thought about my coaches. I remembered the first bike ride that I did with them. Frustrated by the hot sun, frustrated that I couldn’t keep up, and within seconds of expressing this frustration my coach said, “Smile! You can suffer if you want, but that’s not what this is about!” and I thought about the conversation with my coach the day before…and then I thought about what had been drilled into me since day one of joining that team. “What’s Endurance’s mantra?” I joked with  Coach Edgar back in Mexico City after.

“What?” he asked back.

“Cadence…smile…breathe…relax.”

“Who told you that?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye. But it worked. Without worrying about speed (I knew pushing would waste my legs for the 42km run I had at the end) I just focused on that 90 rpms a minute, breathing, and smiling.  As  I rounded that final corner and pulled into town I saw my coach and my mom standing by the tent. “Heeeey!!” I greeted them. No stomach aches, totally hydrated, legs totally mobile. “How do you feel?” Luisen asked me. “Great!” and it was true! “Go put water on your feet in the tent.”

I asked volunteers for water for my feet and they asked if I wanted ice. “Yes!” I exclaimed. And so began the best  five minute ice foot massage I have ever received in my life. I teared up and looked at the two women massaging my feet. “You guys are the best…” I told them in Spanish.

I got my run bag, put my visor on, and without socks, put on my already laced up sneakers to begin the last third of this journey. “What time is it?” I asked Luisen as I exited the tent. “Four o-clock.” Awesome. If I need 8 hours to finish this damn marathon, I can take 8 hours (not that it would take me that long). “Just keep moving!” he advised. Diane met me a few minutes into the run. “How you doing?” she asked. “Soooo goood!! Is it bad that I have this much energy right now?” “No,” she said. “Just go with it.”

“What did you guys do all day?” I asked her. And as she started to reveal the day I said, “Oh my gosh. A whole day has passed!” at which point it started to downpour and what a relief that was. We both started laughing. “Paloma’s about 40 minutes ahead of you.” she let me know. “You’ll see her as she comes this way.” She let me go as I ran my first lap of 7km (it was out and back three times) and as I came back for my second loop I started to panic just a tiny bit. In the distance I could hear the announcer shouting people’s names as they came over the finish line.

Because it’s a loop, I had to go all the way down past the screaming fans and then bypass the finish line and turn around again. Crowds and loud music put me in a panic anyway, and knowing that  that those cheers were not for me yet made me panic just a little bit more.  I wanted to yell, “Stop cheering! not yet!” and as I rounded for my second lap I heard my mom and Diane  talking. I shouted to them,but they didn’t hear me. At that moment I needed a little bit of love so badly that for the third time I applied the who-cares-it’s-an-ironman and shouted their names until they turned around and said, “Gooo!” I felt much better and continued my run.

As I Paloma and I passed each other I saw the determined and tired look on her face. “How are you?” she asked. “I’m good!” I responded, and it was true. At some point during the run, however, I had taken a small pink pill, unaware of what it was…and all the sudden started to feel a little dizzy.[turns out it was a muscle relaxer] Focus, breathe. Eat a banana. What-number-of-things-that-go-wrong were we on?

Coming back after the second loop was a little easier, although a small pain on the bottom of my feet started to develop and I pushed the thought of shit-I-should’ve-worn-socks- those-are-big blisters out of my mind.  How-many-things-wrong were we up to now? My coaches caught me on the last loop, and Luisen instructed Mike to run with me as he continued with Paloma.

“How are you?” he asked. And true to form, yes, tired, sore muscles, yes, but  knowing I was going to finish strong, I said, “I’m really good!”

“You look good!” he said as we continued along our way. We ran in silence for awhile (passing people sitting on the sidewalk, or seeing people with a shaking hand reach down to pick up their gel) and others who were in good spirits, passing the tents of music in which I said again tearing up, “you guys are the best!” at which they saluted me with their beers and shots of tequila offering me a hearty “vamos!”

Mom and Vail with Moraccas

Cheerleaders-Mom and Vail

I know this entry is long already. I’m applying once again it’s-my-ironman- and I can do what I want rule. And so I will pause to say this: as a competitor I knew I was getting myself into a long, hard day that would be both mentally and physically challenging. Volunteers and cheerleaders….well they almost have a harder job!–standing out there for fifteen or so hours simply because they love their friends and their family. That does not go unnoticed, and as I told my colleagues at work, when my legs did not want to move anymore it was all of you, all of your amazing kindness and words of support and wisdom and goofiness that kept me going…

My pace had slowed so much that Mike at one point started walking beside me. I laughed. “I’m going so slow you can walk!” “No, no,” he said, and started running again. He had brought his iphone with him. And for all of his making-fun-of-my-singing he very sneakily, put on a song that we both like. “Just one song,” he said when it was over. “Okay,” I said. “Thanks.” and then started humming to get me started  singing of which I couldn’t help of course, but entertain.

finishin.g

Finishing

The pier came into view and I knew for sure I was going to finish. I told Mike, “I’m not doing another loop! I’m done!” He laughed and said, “Here, do you want an Endurance shirt with which to cross the finish line?” I nodded yes and somehow
found the fine motor skills to put on another shirt. As I got closer, the cheers  got louder. My eyes got wider, and I thought, “Holy shit! I really am going to finish!”
finishing

The sides were lined with people and hands to slap, and somehow even with the blisters and the crazy sore quads I found it in me to find some speed and slapping hands sped across that finish line to hear….”Sarah….con Endurance! Tu eres…un Ironman!” 

I was greeted with a medal and a towel. Hardly being able to speak, a woman from the medical tent came up to me. “Congratulations!” I nodded a yes in thanks. “How you feeling?” I nodded yes. “Do you need anything?” I nodded no. “Do you speak English?” I laughed and nodded yes. So overwhelmed with emotion words failed me. I found my mom and Diane, the coaches, and Paloma.

Los Coaches, Pa, Rafa, y yo

Coach Luisen, Me, Paloma, Rafa, Coach Mike

The rest…is in the pictures.

The aftermath is a whole different story and for a different entry. For now I will say, this was a journey about what people say it’s about: testing my limits and going beyond what I think is possible. But even more than that: this was a journey in learning to open myself to the abundance of love,
finishedexcited
taking that love giving it to myself and shining that onto others.

So, thank you for shining in your light. Thank you for making it possible for me to shine in mine.