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.
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.
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).
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.
Okay… I’ll be serious.
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 –