Most people have heard about this triathlon season as one that is dedicated to my family - a thank-you card by seeing their daughter/niece/sister through a life-threatening stint in a hospital materializing in a slot in Kona.
This is the season that's closest to my heart. But as noble as this effort seems, there's a lot of frustration and self-doubt involved in this endeavor. Possibly even more than in previous seasons. And not just the thought that the stakes are high.
As every triathlete knows, there are great days and there are bad days.
There are days, like today, where I feel like chucking it all and New Zealand starts to look like a great place to live. My face gets red, the animals get scared as the volume goes up and there's a possibility something will be hurled against the wall and broken.
Then there's the other days.
Such as Saturday on my long ride, on which I rode the Livestrong course. A year or two ago, I had to do the walk of shame up a couple of those hills. Saturday I climbed them like there'd never been a problem. This wasn't luck. This was the combined effort of a lot of training and instruction of my coaches.
Then there's the week before's long ride on the roads of rural farmland. A farmer and I had a "race" between me on my bike and he on his tractor. By the time we reached the fence marking the end of his field, we were both laughing so hard. We waved and went our separate ways. We never said a word to each other but I bet he was telling people about "the funniest thing that happened today".
I know I was.
On the frustrating days I swear I'll go back to boxing or figure skating and I question why anyone with an ounce of sense in their body wants to do triathon.
But then I wonder why I always retreat to the nostalgic, positive parts of past experiences to try to convince myself that I'm justified in my decision. What I forget is that nostalgia is as misleading as hindsight. And that I don't believe that either contains 20/20 vision.
Instead, I'm left with the thought that with all of the sports I've done and all of the endeavors I've made career-wise, I quit right on the brink of possible success.
Can I, because of a day or week of complete frustration, look back on what was shaping up to be an excellent and promising triathlon season and realize it's just history repeating itself?
Frankly, I'm tired of nostalgia.
So tonight I'll steam and swear to god that this will be my last season. I'll sit here and pound the keys so hard that a quick run to Staples for a new keyboard will be necessary.
But tomorrow, or possibly later tonight, I'll return to my sport with my tail between my legs. I'll look at my workout and, tomorrow as I'm running or swimming or cycling, see why I learned to walk and talk again. And, with continued effort through good days and bad, be able to look my family in their eyes in August and say, "I love you all. Let's go to Kona."