Having been delivered this massive blow I've been thrown head first into the stages of grief and they've been somewhat expedited by the extreme circumstances. As I sat here numb last night hearing another human being tell me I couldn't race I was in complete denial. I begged him for options, I rationalized it all I could. I cried. I told him why this was so important to me. And he kept firm to his recommendation that I'm young, I'm healthy and there will be other races for me. I barely slept but was able to forget for a moment, then woke up to the harsh reality that this really happened. I worked from home today to spare my foot the commute and was blissfully busy. It kept my mind in a positive place while I waited for the next update from my podiatrist.
I started to think about alternatives. How could I salvage this experience to be something positive? I thought about doing Ironman Arizona in November after a focused period of rehab. I thought about risking it all and walking the marathon for the glory of the finish, even if it meant I would be in the 16:30 range. I got approval from the race director to walk the marathon in a boot if that's what needs to be. I rearranged every dream, every hope, every aspiration I've had over the last year of my life and I tried to make it work. I cried and cried and cried as I read the 20+ comments left on this blog by people I never knew read it. I was deeply touched to know that you have followed my journey and cared. I received more than 30 comments on my training log today and realized I am incredibly lucky. I have embarked on a journey that has changed my life permanently. I'll never be the same again. And while it isn't ending the way I wanted, I am finding so much positive energy to pull me through this and help me move on.
So if the first stages of grief are denial, pain, anger and bargaining, I feel I expedited my way through them due to the limited time I have. I was truly stunned by this news and spent all day thinking it would change. When I got the bad news a second time I gave up. I met friends for drinks and pretended to be a normal person who's life wasn't being turned upside down. All I can do now is rest, take care of my body and move forward. I'm going through the motions of preparing for my Ironman when in my heart I know it isn't a reality. My reality is a DNF, my first ever, and in the most important thing I've ever committed myself to. It's a hard pill to swallow but I don't feel like I have a choice.
Looking ahead to the future, I will sign up for Ironman Wisconsin 2010 and do it back to back with Lake Placid. It still won't be the race I dreamed of, but Madison and I will have a score to settle and I can't wait another year. I want to skip through the other stages of grief and move immediatly to number 7 - acceptance and hope. The people who have loved me and supported me this year can make that possible. I will never look back and understand why this happened to me, but I'm hoping I can pull myself out of the sadness and begin to focus on the future. That's what the Ironman journey is all about.