Welcome back to the land of Ironman....Welcome back to the sand, surf and beauty that is Panama City Beach.
I arrived at 2pm after surviving a dreadful two hour storm heading into town. As I drove in, a large flashing sign greeted my arrival with words I really didn't want to see:
S. Camp Flower Road Closed 9/2/09
DAMN IT! Of all the roads that would have construction TOMORROW...it has to be the road that I NEED TO RIDE ON!! Camp Flower Road is mile 60 of the bike course and it will be partial paved from what I could see. This is FANTASTIC news for November....TERRIBLE news for my workout tomorrow.
Not to be detered from my workout, I drove a different route around the construction and came up with a 102 mile route that was close to the Ironman course. Short by 10 miles, it would serve the purpose to get an idea of my time. We had to modify our route 2 weeks ago...but not THIS much!!
With that problem solved, I turned to checking in and unloading the car. Two bikes(I brought my hubby's...he wants to see the first few miles of the bike course), biking gear, running gear, swim gear and of course, some decent clothes for some fun hours with my hubby...all piled onto a rolling cart and brought to the condo. I got everything organized in our new home on the ocean when the phone rang and my husband's stressed voice rang through on the other end..
"CUTIE....Are you there??" he asked. "Yes sweetie...whats wrong?? I asked with concern.
"Dad is in the hospital. I don't have the particulars but be ready to pack up and get to the airport. Im not sure if this is really serious or not but don't get too comfortable.
I paused...took a breath...and grabbed my computer and started looking for flights...just in case. How do I store the bikes and the gear if I have to leave?? I would have to check out of the condo and go right to the airport. I figured out a flight...and then headed back to the car where I determined i could fold down seats, put the bikes inside and stack our stuff on top of them. Not the BEST solution...but it would work in this pinch of a situation.
I called Mrs. Daly...she told me my father in law had been coughing up blood and was unble to keep anything in his system for more than 2 days. He was in alot of pain and they were concerned his kidneys were shutting down. They didn't have any answers at the moment...all we could do is wait...so I did the only thing I could think to do...
I went down to the beach and I prayed.
This beach. Ive never really just SAT on this beach and enjoyed its beauty. Ive never sat there and talked to God. Never once have I entered the water on this beach without a wetsuit. God and I had a long chat. We talked about family and illness and blessings and fears. I thanked him for all the amazing things he has placed before me. I thanked him for the triumphs and the tears...and then I asked...please...right now nothing is more important than my family. Nothing is more important than my father in law being out of harm's way.
I don't know if you, the reader, believe in a higher power. I know in my heart that there is one. My belief is storng. Sometimes I believe that God grabs you when you are so focused on small things and shows you what is truly important. Yes, my goals are important to me, but nothing is more important than the loved ones that you have been blessed with in your life.
The stomy sky gave way to a beautiful peaceful sunset and just as the sun sank, my phone rang again. My father in law was stable. His kidneys are functioning but they are doing a "scope" of his stomach tomorrow and more tests. He is out of the woods but they are being cautious. I hung up the phone and cried with relief.
Family is what molds you into who and what you are. Without my parents and the family I joined upon my marriage, I know I would not be the person I am today. I know that Ironman would not even be a consideration if I was not given the value system that my parents and in laws showed me early on in my life. My father in law would tell me to stop crying and go show that course who's boss!!
"You're a Daly now, little miss...you better live up to that name" I can hear him say.