5am Wake to feed the baby. I hear it, the pouring rain. It's dark outside and pouring, I mean REALLY pouring. No one would mind if I fed the baby and crawled back into bed. Crawled back into the warmth of my sheets rather than step outside into cold misery.
I remember the night before at the gym holiday party and all those who know I am supposed to toe the starting line this morning. I think of their expectations and how one day I will have to face them again and own up to the decision I am going to make in the next hour.
I turn on the news. "Flash flood watch until 9:30 am". Race starts at 8. If I did well, I'd be done by then. Race is at the Baylands... Aka on the water. I don't know the trails well enough, but can only imagine what a flood warning in the Baylands might mean for running on the trails there. I could just turn off the light and nobody would criticize the decision.
In all the races I have done over the years, I have only DNF'd once. It was an ironman and somewhat out of my control given that I got hypothermia in the water and couldn't even walk out of transition. Still, I kick myself and wish I could go back and make some better decisions. I have never experienced a DNS (did not start). It just never occurred to me that after paying money to race that one might not go. I decide I need to do this.
Out of bed and trying to wake up. Everyone else sleeping soundly. After a week of waking up several times a night to feed the little man, it sure would be nice to get some more sleep and hang with the family. Then it occurs to me that little man slept most of the night. Maybe he knew I had a race and wanted to give me as much rest as he could. Should I let him down now? What about the girls that look up to me. What kind of example do I set when I cave in to bad weather?
Ok, but seriously, the sun is starting to rise and it is COMING DOWN! This is not rain anymore. It is hella pouring outside. What am I thinking?
Tim is up. He asks if this is what Ironman New Zealand was like. Moment of perspective. That's right, I raced an entire ironman in rain like this. I woke that morning filled with fear and amazement that I was going to head out for 140 some miles of swimming, biking and running in hard rain. Suddenly a half marathon was nothing. Of course I was going to do this. What was an hour and a half after all the things I have been through?
There's an old rhyme about what little boys and girls are made of. I think girls are made of sugar and spice, though given the amount of candy I have seen my husband eat over the years, I think he might be made of sugar as well. I think it is important to find out what you are made of. Not important, vital. It reminds you what is at your core, it tells you of your potential, and for me, it is when I feel most alive. Most people never really figure out what they are made of. Most people live regimented lives surrounded by comfort and routine. Average people make decisions they feel good about. Extraordinary people make decisions they are somewhat uneasy with. It is that element of risk and discomfort that leads to reward. When I ran my first 50 miler, I recalled in my mind the feelings I experienced in the marathon of the ironman. I told myself that if I could get through what most people consider impossible, 50 miles wasn't any different. I could surely tough out the miles. During tough WODs I think of defensive tactics training in police academy. I did not know I could do it, but I pushed on with my eyes on the goal. I never thought of stopping or letting the fear rule me.
When you think you have no more, when you think it would be easier to crawl back into bed, when you feel like it is not worth the attempt, you need to know what you are made of. And the only way to find out what you are made of is to get out of bed, put on your shoes and hit the trails...in the rain, 40 mile per hour winds, and no excuses.
Disclaimer: My husband does love candy, but he is tougher than anyone I know and puts up serious numbers on no sleep, bad food and stress. Can't wait to see what 2011 brings...