God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
(Reinhold Neibuhr, 1926)
It's an old prayer. I can't remember the first time I saw or heard it, but I’m pretty sure it's on the walls in houses of half the grandmas I know. I thought of it on one of my last long rides a couple of weeks ago. Seven + hours by yourself offers plenty of time for thinking. I think these words have really hit home for me lately. The truth is, I haven't had "the wisdom to know the difference" in the last couple of weeks/months. I keep thinking of all of the things that could happen to prohibit me from finishing this race. I could crash my bike between now and then and break something. I could catch a nasty case of gastroenteritis from one of my patients. I could swim completely off course during the swim and miss the cutoff. There could be a 40 mph headwind during the bike, leading me to miss the bike cutoff. I could get hit by a car during the bike. I could (you fill in the blank; of thought of EVERYTHING). Most of these things, of course, are out of my control.
I know that there are a few things I could have done differently this year. I could have eaten healthier. I could have made another trip to ride the course. I could have started my training earlier. Overall, though, I think I've pretty much done my part. I've trained on hills. I've trained in the wind. I've trained in the heat. I've trained in the rain. I've trained on the course. I've practiced swimming in the greenest lake I could find. I've practiced my nutrition. I've practiced with my race clothing. I've tried to get enough sleep. I've (for the most part) followed the plan. I'm ready.
I've been wanting to change my name since Stu named me in early July. That was the first time I actually felt confident that I will finish what I've started here. I've just been waiting to do it until I felt more certain. I have been waiting for just one more bike ride; just one more swim to let me know that this deal is sealed. Although I'm feeling better and better about it with each day, I still don't feel sure that the title of Ironman will be mine. I just don't know it yet. The truth is, I'm not the type of person who just "knows" things. There will probably be a little part of me that won't know that I'm going to finish the race until I'm 10 feet from the finish line. It's just the way that I am.
So today, I am mustering up the courage to change one more thing. After today, I will be Pharmie, and I will be ready.
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