I’ve had plenty of time to think here in Lanzarote about not only the race, but what exactly it is that draws me out to a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. I can assure you that while it could be a great perk, the prospect of winning (at most!) $5,000 is not the main driver. Why do I love it so much? Well, the conclusion that I’ve come to, is that I’m a little bit crazy. Maybe a lot of bit. Because the truth of the matter is, I LOVE being out of my comfort zone and I’m willing and able to continually go off in search of that in these crazy places.
This island doesn’t have quite the same Ohana feeling that you get in Kona, but there is definitely something special that demands respect from the landscape and the elements. The wind today was described as “hurricane” by my massage therapist. Something *might* have been lost in translation, but still, it’s pretty crazy. And, it can be hot. And the course is technical. All of these things I’m prepared for as best I can be, but the truth is: It still scares the crap out of me. Seriously. But what I get a kick out of is taking those “ohmygodohmygodohmygod” thoughts and replacing them with “you can do this. Just relax.” And then figuring out how to get myself freaking through it….quickly!
The training – getting up day after day and doing my best at the workouts – is the part I relish in because that’s the part that comes naturally to me. The structure and the discipline, the “just do it” attitude every day. I’ve got that down. But I can never quite recreate the nerves of race day until it’s time to race. I can never quite recreate what it’s like when things start happening in a race and you need to think on your feet. To move from plan A to plan B to ….plan E, F or G! I love this constant puzzle that a races creates and I love the sense of putting pieces in on the fly until I secure the last one running into the finishing chute. And I love seeing if my body can continue to answer these crazy demands I put on it.
And what is amazing about this sport is that ultimately I know that no matter what Saturday brings, my heart will be full after being on a course with 2,000 other people all in search of the same thing. With 2,000 other people gathering their puzzle pieces along the way and putting them into place. Some will find that they brought all the pieces along with them, and surely there will be those who borrow some from others. You don’t have to be on the Big Island to get that sense of Ohana. I haven’t learned everything in 20 iron distance races, but I have learned that!
One of my puzzle pieces arrives TOMORROW and I’m so thankful for the lovely Julie Shelley to keep me occupied these next few days! More later this week!