Lolo Jones is a track and field superstar. Everyone expected her to walk away with this event as she sailed through the prelims with great skill and grace. She is beautiful and focused but..as with all of us sometimes...tonight wasn't her night.
She came out of the blocks with perfect speed. She sailed over the first 8 hurdles like there were wings attached to her back. Then, suddenly, she hit the 9th hurdle and stumbled..and her gold medal dream was gone. The picture above is after she FINISHED the race (coming in 7th even with the stumble) but in utter disbelief at her luck.
My heart sank for her but it hit very close to home for me. Could this be me at the end of 139 miles..only to know that I have run out of time to finish 140.6 miles in 17 hours? How would I handle this disappointment? Would I stand up, brush off and cross the finish line with some sort of dignity like this champion did?? I wouldn't be an Ironman. Would it count for me??
I have spent almost 7 years in the sport of triathlon. At first, it was just to see if I could finish. Then it became about bettering my times. Then, 5 years ago, it became about finishing a Half Ironman...then to complete the Ironman. There have been so many people that have told me it just isn't possible for a plus size person to complete this event. I wonder. What type of person will I be if I DON'T finish. I think the character represented by those who pick themselves up and move forward is almost more remarkable than those who finish.
I respect this race. I refuse to be afraid of it. Last year, the courses scared the hell out of me. Last year, I didn't even make it to the start line. My ultimate goal is to finish but I want to finish with a respect for the distance even if it takes longer than 17 hours. I want to take each component as an individual challenge: finishing the swim in under 2 hours and 20 minutes...then completing the bike by 5:15pm....then getting to the finish line by midnight. These are all my goals and I am going to do everything I can in the next 10 weeks to make that dream come true. If it doesn't...I hope God will grant me the grace that so many of our athletes have shown in these Olympics.