Letting Go, bit by bit

I sold my race wheels today.

I feel very happy that they are going to a GREAT home, and will be raced on the way they should. They’ve been incredible race wheels – kept me safe, never punctured or crashed, and are fast – I feel lucky to have raced on them when I did. But another part of me is extremely sad, and I shed a few tears as I was turning onto the Pacific Coast Highway after mailing them out.

There’s a noticeable different between who I am today versus the Me of yesterday. I’m slowly letting go of who I used to be – the Triathlete/Training/Racing ME; bit by bit – that part of me is gradually fading into the distance.

I think about who I once was, and the things I used to do – and this, my illness and what my body is becoming, seems cruel. I have a heart that wants to run, to be  outside in the sunshine, to tread water before hearing a cannon fire, because by God – those are the moments where I feel alive  – but in many ways my body can no longer handle that. Never say never (and I agree, in theory), but I’m also realistic – between lupus, arthritis, and being a lifelong coumadin patient – there are some things that (probably) won’t happen.

Running down Ali'i Drive, Ironman Hawaii. N said I was "looking great" and I called him a liar. Can you tell - we're an old married couple? I was still smiling, though.

I can’t hold back the tears, as I’m still grieving. It’s been less than a year since my lupus diagnosis, and just under two years from when I crossed my last finish line – at IM Hawaii. Poetic, yes. I still remember the sound of drums at the start, the hot lava fields, the wind and my salty skin during the bike, more hot lava fields, and watching the sun sink below the horizon while running along the Queen K Highway. My most vivid memory was of the start though – in spite of being horribly ill with a major lupus flare (and not knowing what it was at the time) – I had made it.

(The Yank filmed my race start. I think Mike Reilley is yelling “GO BACK!” to the athletes inching across the start line. N. started recording just after the Hawaiian drums stopped – it was one of the longest pauses of my life until the cannon fired.)

I’m also realistic. I am EXTREMELY grateful – there is much to be thankful for. I am alive, and my Yank is alive – after last year, that is a miracle and a fact that neither of us in our (early) 30-something lives forget. I realize that, even though I’m not competing, there are other endeavors to be pursued, and many things that I CAN do. There are worse things than not racing (especially in lieu of the IM registration fees and race day port-o-potties (both full of shit)...yuck), and even though I’m sad and miss what I used to do, I can still find happiness. It’s that icing on the cake thing – or in this case, an extra squirt of syrup on the Hawaiian Shave Ice.

North Shore of Oahu, about to try Shaved Ice for the first time.

Dude - not only was it Hawaii's best Shaved Ice, it's the WORLD's best Shaved Ice. Had I known about this stuff during my race, I woudl have tackled a spectator for it.

There have been some wonderful times with this sport. Yes, I’ve traveled to some amazing places and pushed my body beyond where I thought it could go – but far and away, it’s the friends I’ve made and the people I have met, who have made the biggest difference. They stretch across the country up to half a world away – yet they are always close at heart. I am SO grateful to my family – my Yank, especially – for all the love and support (and sacrifice).

I'm the on with the pink socks.

Sea Turtles!!! Making friends along the way - the kind that DON'T eat you. Punalu'u Beach, Big Island. (See...Pink Compression Socks)

It feels surreal to bid farewell to my race wheels, because I know to a certain extent, that I’m closing a door on one more part of my old life. They were just a part of me when I raced… But I also need to keep in mind – that even though one door closes, there are ALWAYS open doors, all around…it’s just a matter of weather or not we see them, and which ones we choose to go through. Maybe it’s no longer a matter of letting go of who I once was, but rather – growing into the person I’m supposed to become.

Obviously - I do not wish to be eaten by a Mountain Lion. ABDSP Visitor's Center, and WOW that is a big Mountain Lion. And at one time, it lived in the park.

Okay… I’ll be serious.

Life is still an open road - even if I'm not taking it two wheels at a time.

At the end of the day, I know it’s just a set of race wheels. They are symbolic, though – of my love for racing, for going fast….for hearing the womp womp womp of the disk while it accelerates, and the whirrrrrrrr of the 404s down a straightaway. And as much joy as they have brought me, I am so happy they are going to someone who will enjoy them just as much as I did. Bit by bit, I am saying good-bye. And if that’s the Big Conclusion that I need to draw away from this, well – I’ll take it.

Love it while you live it –

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7 thoughts on “Letting Go, bit by bit

  1. Is with saddness that I read this; it reminds me of a sonata, with your voice being the solo instrument. You are living in the style of this musical form; and have already been in all three of its sections. Mostly you stay in the 1st and 2nd sections – the exposition, and the development. I am so sorry race wheels no longer belong among your treasures. And instead of ” hearing the womp womp womp of the disk while it accelerates, and the whirrrrrrrr of the 404s down a straightaway” could you imitate these sounds on your violin.

    “Letting Go, bit by bit” is so hard, and requires great courage. Maritka, I am so proud of you; you are my hero; I look to you for inspiration and beauty, and you have never failed me. You entered into the 3rd section, the recapitulation when you wrote “Love it when you live it”. It is a philosophy to live by, and is now one of the themes of the 3rd section. What other themes will you create in your recapitulation.

    Here is part of a poem I love.
    LITTLE GIDDING
    (No. 4 of ‘Four Quartets’)
    T.S. Eliot

    What we call the beginning is often the end
    And to make an end is to make a beginning.
    The end is where we start from.

    http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/gidding.html

    I love you.

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  3. Marit:) I m sure that was hard. I had to stand by the airport gate and was so comforted when the frontier agent told me he would take care of my bike and wheels. Those wheels took you many places, and you took good care of them, pulling them out for special occasions ( sorta like a nice pair of earrings) and then you put them back in their cases to rest up till you needed them again.
    I bet you could find an OW race in a nice place ( say Bernuda!) and hear that cannon again. Lots of hugs from MN and thanks for sharing your life with me my friend.
    And come home soon. Ehh…wait. The lake is too cold!
    XO

  4. thank you for sharing this. beautifully written and powerful with beautiful photography. look forward to following along as you grow into this next stage of your life. thanks for your open honesty, its very inspiring

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