My favorite piece of advice to give a bride before her wedding day is this: The experience is surreal, so every once in a while just stop whatever you’re doing and take a mental snapshot of the moment. There are few times in your life that you get to be surrounded by everyone you love, so do what you can to freeze those moments and tuck them inside your heart pocket.
I really should be sleeping right now since I have to be up in about 6 hours for my race tomorrow. But everyone knows it’s impossible to sleep the night before a big event. Tomorrow is my 2nd ever 70.3.
This morning was chaos. After rounding up two of my three from various friends’ houses, we did a quick swing by Dunkin’ Donuts so I could bribe my kids into pretending they were enjoying themselves and then we made our way over to Swim Bike Run to meet up with several members of my crew.
From there, we had a 6 vehicle caravan out to Alton, IL, about an hour away where we are competing in the inaugural race of Border Wars: East vs West, tomorrow morning.
It’s been a gorgeous Indian summer here for the past week. Until 2 days ago. Storms blew in and the temps have plummeted. This morning the wind was fierce! We were bundled in hoodies as we made our way into the building where packet pick up was being held.
This being the first year of the event, it’s been more than a little chaotic, so we’ve all flown way past freak out mode and right on into hyper-spaztic freak out mode. There were only 2 gals working the packets, so we waited in line for 20-30 minutes until we all had our packets and our race swag. But I could see people I knew no matter which direction I turned. It was like a party. I’m sure anyone who didn’t know me was probably wondering who in the world brought all these kids to the event. Fortunately, Jen had brought her 4 year old, too, which made me feel a little less obvious.
After we had our gear, we headed into the room that had been designated for the athlete meeting. It was set up with about 20 chairs. We took up all of them. The meeting didn’t start until 11, so we had some time to kill. I was in and out of the packet pick up line…out to the car to get the ipad to entertain my kiddos, taking Silas to the bathroom, saying hi to everyone along the way.
By the time the meeting finally started, the room was packed as full of people as we could make it. Some standing, some on the floor, most of the chairs occupied at least 2 people. I was flanked with Jen’s and had another one in front of me. Allison was on the floor directly behind me. Everywhere I looked I saw a familiar face. Silas was on my lap, Ally was leaning against a trashcan and Ethan was the most efficient one in the room, sitting under a table. I’m sure the Fire Marshall would have approved of the situation. The meeting was a whirlwind of information. My kids were troopers. They played silently, thanks to technology. At one point Silas whispered in an excited voice, “Mom, I have a loose tooth!” His first. I was surrounded by people that make me smile.
As we left the meeting room, we all talked details. Ken called me “Miss Popularity” since he seemed to think that if anyone had a question they’d say, “Let’s ask Lindsey, she’ll know the answer.” Now, let’s be clear, I don’t actually know anything, but being fortunate enough to work where I do, I know EVERYONE, so I know where to go to find the answer.
Then we headed down the road to T1 (Transition Area 1 for the rookies) to drop off our bikes. The wind was howling! We set our bikes on our assigned spots on the transition racks according to our ages, hoping they might still be upright when we get back in the morning.
We fought our way back to the cars discussing what to wear, how to stay warm on that transition from the swim to the bike and the fact that when we get into the water tomorrow morning, it’s going to feel about 30 degrees warmer than the air. This is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It’s going to be an adventure.
When we were finished at the race sight, some had to bolt to get back for other commitments. Those of us who had a free afternoon decided to head to Alton for some lunch. We’re saving Fast Eddie’s for tomorrow after the race. So today, I just picked somewhere that seemed reasonable and attempted to lead everyone there. You would think by now my friends would know better than to let me make any decisions that require navigation, but I lead, they followed. We arrived at my decided location to find it was closed. So, we stood in the street surrounding Vega’s car until we agreed on our next destination.
We found our restaurant, sat at our table and finally the whole crew was assembled. We ate and laughed and talked about the race. And as I looked around, I realized I was doing one of those mental snapshot moments. I had my kids there and some of my best friends in the world. And I thought, This. This is what makes me keep doing these crazy things. Things like getting up at 4 am to go swimming when its 40 degrees out and then jump on a bike and follow it up with a run. Because I get to have my adventures with some of the most amazing, wonderful people I know. I love these people. Partly because they are just as crazy as me.
My kids have been dropped at their dad’s, my gear is packed, my alarm is set. All that’s left to do now is sleep. I received a text earlier from Ally with a picture of a smiling Silas showing a gap in the bottom front of his smile. The tooth is gone. I wasn’t able to be there when he lost it, and I don’t get to be the Tooth Fairy tonight. But that mental snapshot of him on my lap, in that room full of athletes prepping for a crazy experience, when he whispered to me, I will keep that tucked in my heart pocket.
Tomorrow, I’ll drag my crabby butt out of bed while it’s still dark. And I’ll make my coffee and drive over to meet Kris and Jen so we can caravan out to Alton. And I will dread getting into the water, and even more so, I will dread getting OUT of the water. And I will ultimately get to the run, my favorite part, and I will be tired, but I will keep going. And then, before I know it, it will all be over.
I don’t know what snapshots tomorrow will hold, but I’ll be looking for them and ready with my “camera”.
To my crew, I love you guys. Crazy as it is, I can’t wait to do this with you tomorrow.