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27 June 2008

Perspective

If you've followed my blog, you know that I raced in the Cache Valley Classic triathlon last weekend. During that race, as I was exiting the swim, I came across a group of EMTs performing CPR on one of the racers. There are more details regarding the incident in my race report below. In the paper, it stated that the paramedics were able to get the man breathing in the ambulance, which made me feel a bit better. However, this morning I found out that the man died. I'm still processing this, but since I've had almost a week to think about this incident, I have a few thoughts that I would like to share.

I have my reasons for racing, one of which is because I can. I can think of no better way to start off my day then to be standing at some sort of start line. Those of you who know me know that I truly love to race. It's one of my most favorite things in the world. As I stood in the water at the start of the race, I worked very hard to remain calm and focused, in an effort to swim in the open water like I know how to. I remember thinking about how nice the water felt and I remember smiling, thinking about the fact that it was a race day! The thought never crossed my mind that someone might die during the race.

For me, the race turned out to be a pretty okay day. I was able to finally have a good swim in the open water. My run was one of my best runs of the season. My bike was slower than it should have been. I can attribute some of that to being distracted because during the bike, my thoughts kept returning to the man and his family. I kept thinking, "Please let him be okay." At the end of the race, I spoke with the race director who didn't know any details regarding the man.

I'm quite certain that this man wasn't thinking about dying when he entered the water last Saturday morning. I wonder if he was thinking about how great it is to start off the day with a race. I wonder if it was his first triathlon and if he was feeling all of the emotions and feelings that come with standing at the start. Another thought that kept crossing my mind was that maybe dying in a race wouldn't be such a bad way to go. Perhaps triathlon was one of this man's passions and he was able to enjoy it one last time.

For me, that day was really just another race. For him and his family, it was a day that will change their lives forever. I want to remember this experience because it really reminds me to take advantage of the opportunities that life offers up. We never truly know when our time to live is up and I believe that if we want to live life to the fullest, we do have to discover our dreams and then live them.

I know that the next time I step up to a starting line, I will think of this man and will say a quick prayer for his family. I will remind myself to race like this is my last race and to remember the love and passion that I have for racing. One of the reasons that I race is for all of the others who want to but can't. This man can't race anymore, but I'm certain that he will be racing with me for a long time. My perspective on racing has shifted a bit, and I think that this experience will make me a better racer.

1 comments:

Carolyn said...

I have to say that is truly something that makes you think...I cannot imagine being there as it made me emotional and ask questions just reading your blog! Howard gave me your blog...I have run with you, but it is nice to know all this other stuff about you. I knew you were very disciplined and hard working...but it sure put it in a new light...I really have enjoyed keeping up with your journey to your dream! sorry I am just now leaving a comment, I finally got an account and may try to blog myself:) Take care and good luck on your next race day!