Happy Friday, and especially hot on the trail of summer. Ah, the glorious time of year when the sunscreen is out, baseball is (literally) in the air, the BBQs roar, and ice cream provides a reprieve from the scorching summer blaze. It’s a wonderful time of the year, almost as good as September and fall in northern Nevada. Almost.
It has been a very strange four weeks. I have attended two funerals – one of which was somewhat expected and the other which just caught me off guard in many different ways. I have been to many funerals in my time, unfortunately, and it never gets easier. They’re always so bittersweet because you get to see friends and family that you may not have seen in years (decades), but you’re there mourning the loss of someone who was near and dear to you all, granted, celebrating their life, but it rarely feels that way.
On the other side of the coin, it has been three years since I completed my first IRONMAN in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It’s hard to believe that 1000+ days has zipped by in the blink of an eye. In 2013, I attended six weddings, went on all kinds of trips, and graduated with my MBA. Within the past 12 months I have gotten married, traveled to Greece, purchased a home, and got rained on for hours at a race in Canada. Oh, how time is fleeting.
I think of the things in life I have a passion for – my wife and son, racing, friends, my dog Lucy, food – and realize that they are such temporary gifts from the Lord. Growing up, my father always told me how short life really is, and now he’s on the other side of the fence looking at me about to enter another decade, adjusting to becoming a grandpa, practically living the dream job/retired lifestyle, and watching me blunder my way through a new chapter, just as I’m beginning to instruct the little human in our household to be a man of integrity, appreciate each day for what it has to offer, and raising him as a man better than I. It’s a tough gig – and I think it makes me appreciate my dad that much more. And yet all of it is so quick in passing! I’m not ready to be an adult! I still want to know why the rum is always gone…
The comfort for me at each of these funerals was that I will see these people again when the day comes. That’s often not the case, and when it isn’t, those are the saddest funerals to attend because you truly are saying your goodbyes, and there will be no great reunion.
For the time, I feel like I am carrying a heavy pack of sadness, and some guilt. It’s always hard wondering what your last interactions with that person were, how they remembered their relationship with you, and whether or not there was anything in the air that you wish you had cleared before their passing. Perhaps that’s why we all gather at events like this – to mourn as a community but also to build up and support.
And so here I am, making my way towards a new chapter, and careening off of some of the bumps along the way, but the path forward is clear. I have a race to train for and a house to get in shape. So that is exactly what I am going to do! After all, once IRONMAN Boulder is wrapped up, it’s smooth sailing. Weekends with tons of free time, no six hour rides to go on, and definitely copious amounts of sleeping in. That, I’m especially looking forward to.
There’s always a time, usually when I’m knee-deep in the five ‘super training’ weeks (18+) that my mental and emotional game get crushed a bit, and it’s hard to press on and focus, especially in the run discipline which I loathe after 15 miles. And yet, year after year, there is still something rewarding about making it to the starting line of any long race. It’s a reward in and of itself, and even though I may miss the forest for the rain-covered trees (Canada), the reward is often very clear… and that will be a reward worthy of pursuit!