“The Miracle is not that I Finished, the Miracle is that I had the Courage to Start”

It is 2 days from the Muskoka Half IronMan.

Where did the year go? How did I not notice the minutes and hours and days ticking by?

I received the email from Subaru with all of the race details last week, and immediately my reaction was one of total panic, followed by nausea and then a tingly feeling in my hands (don’t ask me what that’s all about). Just as my panic level was approaching “critical”, I just decided to hell with it.

I’m just going to do my best. That’s it. I’m going to give it my absolute best shot, and if that isn’t good enough, then I can hold my head up high because at least I tried. I think back on all of the races that I’ve done this year, and before every single one I think I felt much the same way.

“I don’t belong here”, “I’m going to die”, “What if I can’t do it”, “I’m going to be the last one struggling out here all by myself”, “What are people thinking about me”, “What if I hurt myself”….

I’m tired of that dialogue. I’m so tired of it. I’ve carried it everywhere I’ve gone for the past year and the burden is getting pretty damn heavy (and trust me, I don’t need any extra weight to carry along on the journey this weekend!).

So I’ve decided to replace that tired old dialogue with a new dialogue that goes a little something like this:

“Keep putting one foot/arm in front of the other, you’re doing a great job”

“Think about how many other people wish that they could find the courage to do what you’ve done in the past year”

“Be fearless”

“You are inspiring”

“Never, ever give up”

“Even if you stumble, have a rough couple of kilometres, keep going and things will get better”

Just reading the words puts my mind at ease. I know that there will be parts of the race that I will struggle immensely with, no question. I guess my goal for the race is going to be to keep a positive outlook, no matter what. Even if I have a shitty 10km stretch on the bike where my neck and my back and everything hurts, even if I have to get off my bike and walk it up a hill. Even if I walk a huge portion of the run and my feet are killing me and I’m the last one out on the course.

Things can always improve, but only if I choose that path for myself. It will be a long day if I start to let myself get frustrated every time that I struggle.

Letting go of the panic is a huge victory for me. It has opened up space for me to look forward to the race. I absolutely promise myself that while I’m on the bike I am going to look around at my surroundings and take it all in. Muskoka is the most beautiful place on earth to bike, and if I’m going to be doing it for just over 4 hours. I may as well enjoy some of the scenery. I promise that if I see a kid on the road holding out their hand for a high five that I’ll high five them as I go by. I promise that if a spectator cheers for me, I will wave at them and say thank you, no matter how exhausted I am. I promise that I will smile as much as possible, not because I’m happy necessarily, but because I’m out there, and I’m trying and I so easily could not have been.

I still have a little bit of work to do between now and the race (mostly planning out things like when I’m going to eat, how much I’m going to eat, how often I’m going to stop and drink on the bike, that type of thing), but it seems that most of the hard work is done and behind me now.

Whatever happens on Sunday, whether I finish or whether I don’t, I hold my head up high and look back at the year that was with pride. I did a hell of a lot this year, and even though so much of the year has been clouded with hardship and the toughest times that we have ever faced, I never gave up.

“The miracle is not that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

I’ll see you on the other side – here goes nothing!

Sara

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