The fund raising has been going well. As of this post the total stands at $3300! That is 66% of the fund raising goal.
Several people shared stories of their loved ones who were healthy, athletic, and living a wonderful life prior to being diagnosed with MS. The MS slowly impacted their lives until they eventually were not able to participate in the activities they loved like running, roller blading, skiing, swimming, and cycling. Everyday tasks like mowing the lawn, gardening, walking the dog, cooking a meal... all became too difficult for them. Some of them ended up in a wheelchair and even became bed ridden. Sadly, some of them even passed away from the MS.
Approximately 400,000 Americans have MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. World-wide, MS affects about 2.5 million people.
Hearing these stories make me appreciate all the little things in life that most people take for granted. I was driving to work today watching people riding each others bumpers, talking on cell phones, riding bikes, running, walking... I kept wondering whether they really appreciated the fact that they CAN drive, they CAN run, they CAN walk, they CAN hold and talk on a cell phone, they CAN ride a bike... you get the picture. I know that I used to take it for granted. Every donation whether it is $5 or $200 warms my heart.
Sunday morning I had intended to run 42 miles, but was not able to make the full distance. During the run I felt good for 28 miles. I ran another 6 miles and hit a point where I physically was not able to continue. My hydration was good. My nutrition was good. My leg muscles just did not want to cooperate. At that point I asked the wife and kids to meet me to help me continue towards my goal. I rested for 20 minutes while they got ready and drove to the trailhead where I was waiting. With their encouragement I struggled for the next 2.5 miles. Every stride was painful and required my total concentration. Jogging was no longer an option after the 2.5 miles. Walking was my only option at that point. At a minimum I had to walk .5 miles to get back to the car. Usually when I reach a point where I cannot continue it is due to dehydration. Sunday it was a muscle failure. I have never experienced muscle failure before and I can honestly say that it was very scary. Once we reached the car I was done. My legs we like lead weights. I had to quit and failed to reach my intended goal.
Those who know me know that since I started triathlon training 6 years ago I have always reached my goals. It is hard for me to admit the following, but I feel that I really need to share some of the struggles that have been plaguing me about the race....
The idea of putting together a 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, and 52.4 mile run scares me. I know I can make the swim. I am pretty sure I can make the bike. The run is a totally different story. If the swim and the bike goes as planned I will be running from 9 PM until I finish the 52.4 miles. I will be on my feet for hours on end during the hours that most will be sleeping. They say the course is dark and we will need to have head lamps or flashlights so we can see where we are going (Good thing I am not scared of the dark!). I have yet to ever go 52.4 miles during semi-normal hours let alone after the swim and bike and during those crazy hours. I made 40 miles once and that was very painful. I made 37 miles on Sunday and felt like I could not take another step. I have tried mixing jogging and walking and the result was extending my time till exhaustion, but only long enough to make 40 miles which is still a far cry from 52.4 miles.
I am in the best shape of my life. I have taken my body to new limits both physically and mentally while training for this event. Looking back on my training so far, I do not feel that I could have done anything differently to prepare myself for the race. It really comes down to how I feel during the two day event. Will my mind be strong enough to take me to new limits? Will my body physically be able to push beyond the pain that has stopped my workouts early on countless occasions during my training? Will my body be able to absorb sufficient fluids and nutrition to fuel me for the 24 or more hours I will be racing? Will I be healthy on race morning? Will the weather cooperate? How long will it take for me to chafe or blister? There are so many factors that will come into play during the race...
I know that this experience has taught me a lot no matter what happens. I now appreciate life more than ever. My eyes have been opened and my heart filled. Thank you to all who have supported my fund raising efforts, who have shared their stories, and who have support my training. Without you I would not be the person I am today and for that I will be forever thankful. God bless.