In the past week I've had three major milestones: (1) a reception for my solo art show, (2) my first half-ironman 70.3-mile triathlon, and (3) a once-over by my faithful oncologist, scouting as she does every few months, hoping not to find signs of the return of my arch-nemesis, breast cancer.
Briefly, a report on each:
(1) The art show reception went by in a happy but painful blur, which is to say, I was proud of the work, glad about the turnout and the enthusiastic response, and, especially toward the end of the evening, distracted by terrible lower back pain. Finally I excused myself and headed for home, worrying all the way, as I had over the last few weeks, that my back was going to make impossible the half-ironman I'd been working toward so hard and for so long.
|Before the race began there were repeated announcements encouraging racers who were uncomfortable in big waves to skip the swim. I feel so lucky that I had plenty of opportunities growing up to play in the ocean. I was not worried about the surf.|
(2) Two mornings later, Jim and I were up at four in our motel room, and I was excited. My back wasn't perfect, but since my only goal was to complete the event in under seven hours and have fun doing it, I was optimistic that I'd make it through. And though I did have pain on the bike, overall, the experience was a very pleasant surprise. I was actually having fun, and I felt strong throughout. And I finished under SIX hours with a time which, I later learned, was good enough to earn me third place in my age group, and was just five minutes shy of qualifying to compete at Nationals! Though sore and still recovering five days later, I am nothing but pleased with the experience, and already thinking I may want to do this event again next year.
|At the finish. My time: 5:50.08.|
(3) Speaking of next year, there's nothing like a cancer check-up to put a damper on any long term planning, nothing more humbling than an every-few-month reminder that not a single day is guaranteed in this life. But luckily there were no suspicious lumps or bumps this time around. Blood test results aren't in yet, but barring any red flags prompting a call back to the cancer center, I am planning to savor every minute of the days ahead of me that I don't have to fight for, however many I am allotted. And if the time comes that I have to fight, I will do my best to savor that battle as well.
|On the podium with my medal and certificate. I was very surprised to find myself there!|