The uni pool where I swim 28.5degrees - girl heat!
I get the sets done, I'm last to touch the wall every time. I get a double thumbs up from coach. Two of the girls in my lane are excellent runners. I'm not exagerating here. 1 girl is a 'preferred runner' that means she gets an individual invitation to attend the Boston and New York Marathons. Wow! They are both 20 years younger than me. Hard to relate to them. What the hell am I doing here? I am crying on the inside. I'm thankful for the goggles.
They are all joking and laughing and I feel distant. Nobody realises that I am off to Port too. I wonder if they don't think I am capable? I'm headed to the showers and feel the energy draining from my body. Stifling sobs I quickly change and head for the sanctuary of my car. I burst into tears. It hurts and it burns and I want a cuddle and I want someone to take the pain away. I make excuses for the tears....I pushed too hard, its just dinner time and I am hungry. Driving home in the dark, way past dinner time, and other 'normal' people are home after a long days work and hanging out with loved ones, my mind wonders.....
Nobody else my age is doing this that I know. I have friends who run on the weekends and they swim occasionaly. And they go for a group ride out in the country on the weekends. They are all at home with their families having dinner right now. Noone has decided, like me, to do Ironman and take this weekend thing we do sometimes, to a full committment lifestyle experience. Am I stupid? Am I delusional? I am lonely? I am alone!
I do have mates who I ride with. Young guys, older guys, husband, girlfriend. I have mates I run with on the weekends, husband during the week. I have these swimmers standing beside me about to enter the same race as me. I have my coach and my physio who support and advise me. They are all in my corner encouraging me. But I stand alone. Do I need a best friend sweating alongside me 24/7? No.
Maybe the real thing is that I wonder if I am stupid for thinking I can do this. What if I finish last? Of the 1500 competitors at the Half this weekend. 19 are women in my age group. There are only 18 other women out there like me. Some weekend warrior who got a stupid crazy idea that they could do this just like me. I guess it is self doubt. My inner voice is quiet, you know that voice, the one that usually tells you that your brave, strong and believes in you. She is silent. I seriously could crawl into bed and not do this. Geez I need to crawl under Gazza's arm and disappear in his strong reassuring embrace.
The funny thing is, although the little voice is as quiet as a child's whisper right now, she is relentless in my ear. She never stops believing.
She is my hero. "And though she be but little, she is fierce!" That's Shakespeare team.