I've been holding my cards pretty close to my chest for IMC, unsure if I wanted to share what's been on my mind of late. But they say ironman is a journey, and many of you have followed me and will be following me online tomorrow, so I thought I would give you some insight on the title of the post. Three weeks ago, I learned that a friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was even more stunned when a top-notched doctor at Stanford told him rather coldly, "I give you 4-5 months." Jeff didn't like that answer so he hustled over to UCSF, and he is being treated with both chemo and a clinical trial drug. Cancer is my biggest fear. I know cancer all too well, from my mother's death to breast cancer, to my studies as a cellular/molecular biologist, there are a lot of reasons for me to fear cancer.
When I first learned about Jeff's diagnosis, most days were normal with me living life as usual. But on several occasions, my mind would drift to Jeff, and I would empathize. When I put myself in his shoes, this whole IMC thing felt rather frivolous, and it was really hard to put my game face on for the race. Last week, my mind drifted again to Jeff and for some reason, rather than feeling frivolity, I felt gratitude. I was grateful because I can race. Since then, when I think about IMC, I think, "Because I can." And for some reason, I feel strong, and I feel ready to tackle whatever race day brings. It's a good feeling.
So come tomorrow when my arms start to burn during the swim, I will dig a bit deeper to shave off more time...because I can.
If I push it too hard out to and over Richter pass and I bonk, I will dig to get myself through the bonk...because I can.
If my stomach shuts down on me, I will be patient and wait until it comes back...because I can.
If I overheat, I will cool myself down or I will simply sit in the shade and rest until I can make my way to the finish..because I can.
Whatever the day brings tomorrow, I will race to go under 10 hours, race for an opportunity to earn a Kona slot, race to race, and I will enjoy every moment of it good or bad...because I can.
Jeff, you are a champion, I love you.
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