Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Keep Going

As the single digits of the race countdown dwindle away, my emotions are all over the road. I have cried a lot this week. Like, A LOT. Yes, I admit that I am scared. And I admit that I am afraid to admit that. I've been thinking that if I voice my fear, it would be like some sort of jinx, or a concession to defeat, or a sign that I just don't want it enough.

And then I got my Triathlete magazine today. Scott Tinley's essay this month was titled "Embracing the Fear." Money quote:

"While athletes know the calming effect of an easy run or a hard swim, fear is a pervasive emotion within most sports. This is not necessarily an unhealthy phenomenon. Sport offers a kind of malleable tension that can both thrill and kill, excite and indict our senses with an anxiety that leaves us somewhere between satiated and starving. ... I'd like to think that sport allows us to mediate our fears based not upon our failures but upon our dreams."

Single digits to race's where the vanity of chasing a dream like this gives way to the One Thing. Yes, I am afraid to fail again. But I am more afraid of not having the guts to stay in it mentally. I am afraid that this fear that I am experiencing now might be my undoing on the course. What will keep me going on race day when my mind and body attempt to talk me out of it?

So I searched for my posts that I labeled "The One Thing." Here's what I came up with:
  • Stephanie May, reminding me that the feeling of digging down to one's deepest limits is amazing even in defeat -- and ultimately makes the defeat itself something of a misnomer.
  • From last year: "I think I've found it: Triathlon lets me experience the joys of independence and self-reliance. It also helps me confront my despair at the thought of feeling alone in the world. It lets me know that if I ever were alone in the world -- I can handle it. I can keep pedaling, keep breathing, keep going. I can also find friends on the road who are like-minded and supportive -- strangers who will give me a "Stay strong, Krissy" when I need it most."
  • From Friday: "Alas, there is nothing more to be done now. All I can do is keep moving, keep pedaling, keep my legs going..."
Then there was this odd rambling about the marathon movie in which I am dismissive of the fact that I completed 26.2 miles on foot -- running every step. "But all I did that day was show up and keep going," I say, as though it were some easy thing. (I don't know what possessed me to write that because I remember that it wasn't until mile 24 or 25 that I knew I would finish.)

Given the theme above, it should come as no surprise that the climax of Hillary Clinton's speech last night made me cry:
"On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice: 'If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.'"

Clearly, all of this taps into my One Thing.
. . .

So I think I am ready for The Talk:

There are a lot of people whose eyes will be on me. I've told so many people what I'm doing. I want my daddy to see me cross the finish line. I've got a chip on my shoulder from last year. NONE OF THIS MATTERS.

I am KrissyGo! The person I am KEEPS GOING. If I can move, I can move forward. I may walk multiple times on the course, but I will not walk off of it. Not of my own volition. Why? Because I feel most alive, most spiritually awake when I am GOING, EXPERIENCING, setting goals BEYOND MY REACH, chasing those goals, sometimes achieving them, sometimes failing, entering into some endeavor with NO IDEA of what the outcome will be and finding satisfaction in simply having the guts to do anything in the first place, but always ALWAYS present in every moment knowing that I have LIVED my life.

Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.
~Eddie Rickenbacher


Wendy said...

Go, Krissy, Go!

What is ever so much more important than eyes that may be on you is that there are many hearts and minds supporting you.

Brent Buckner said...

Go to it!

00badness said...

Find that inner ass kicker Krissy Gordon. I've seen some track & field athletes scream and slap there legs before an event. That's the ass kicker screaming at the weakness to scare it away and they slap their legs to tell the creeping pain they can make it worse for their body and not the other way around so go on home because today is too serious for pain's childish play. Your inner ass kicker is dying for another chance and if you let it out you will kick your own ass...which seems painful but in the end is rewarding :)

Jen said...

Damn you, now I'M crying! But in a totally great way (um, compared to the mess you saw on Saturday). I'm soooo sooooo inspired by you and proud of you (already). You are going to GO in Kentucky. You DO it. I'll be cheering my ass off via the interwebs! Go, Krissy, GO! (And Lucy Q, too!)

Mary Sunshine said...


You will do this...taking one mile at a time, your fears will subside. It's going to be a beautiful day.

Are you going to wear your name on your running outfit? If so, I'll set the "dogs" of Cincy Express on you to hound you if you need them. If you want a buddy to stand at the start with, you've got one. Just call. Will email my cell number but if you already have start plans, no problem.

Go Krissy! Live that life! You are gutsy and awesome!


Go Mom Go said...

As you know I will be watching on Ironmanlive but I also have a friend going down to cheer. I am giving your number to her so she can cheer for you too!

You will be great. Keep moving forward...really that is all it is going to take. There were times last year during the race that I cried - out of sheer enjoyment and wonder of the fact that little ol me was actually out there doing Ironman. It is ok. Everyone out there is there to support YOU!

Peace and just remember...YOU will be an Ironman!


chris0721 said...

Krissy - you are going to be fantanstic on Sunday...NOTHING will hold you back...YOU will finish STRONG. Remember, you can only swim one stroke at a time, turn the crank of the bike on revolution at a time and run one step at a time. This race is about a bunch of small Nike says "Just do it" and I will add "one at a time". We will all be there with you and for you. Looking forward to seeing you.

WayneT said...

I'm of the mindset that when one gets tired that is a good time to take a nap. Thus I can only assume that the point of these triathlons, where one pushes oneself to the brink of exhaustion, is to procure the greatest nap possible. Here's to hoping you are very tired at the finish line. Give it all you've got and have a great night's sleep.