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“Somewhere behind the competitor you’ve become, the practices, the people who pushed you, the races you have competed in, the long time dedication, and the friendships you have made along the way, there’s a little boy who fell in love with the race; do it for him….”

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bright Spot

Wow what a weekend! My trusty companion (lovely wife too) was gone being a camp chaperone on Friday and then an trail racer on Saturday so I had the girls to myself. It is always really fun to have just Daddy time but it can also be a true challenge. You never realize how much you depend on the help of your spouse until they're not there. Everything would have been just fine but I had some work to do on Saturday, the lawn needed mowing and the upcoming "start" to the local racing season was upon me. I became more and more frustrated while trying to prepare for the Gear West Duathlon, finish up company work, try to get a couple tune-up workouts in and still be superdad for the girls. As Micki got home the arguing ensued. We were both strung out, tired and crabby- it showed! Not to give too much info. but not our best night. Micki was also feeling the effects of stomach flu and was up all night making runs to the bathroom. HOW WAS I GOING TO PERFORM AT MY RACE!?
While riding over to the race course I was wondering the whole time- "is this worth it?" all the headaches, fatigue, arguments over this sport, money and the like make me wonder A LOT. However, as I pulled up and heard the familiar greetings of "hey Shelper" I remembered the main reason I do this- THE PEOPLE!!! WOW I LOVE ALL OF YOU!! It was so much fun to catch up with everyone, joke, warm-up, be nervous together - just plain COOL. What a gift from God! I was VERY nervous for the race, you just never know how you'll feel until you're out there. My multisport friends made it so much easier to handle.
The race started well, I felt pretty good and we were cruising along nicely. I have to admit secretly waiting for the gorilla to jump on my back but it seemed to just be a spider monkey this time. As we got to our bikes I was pretty optimistic. The legs were ok on the bike, not great, as my bro Danny Boy and I battled it out we seemed to be catching some key runners early. Then something crazy happened! David started to get closer into view. Yes he was pretty deathly ill but it was still cool to do something I've never done actually ride up and catch David. Of course one we did we stirred the hornets nest and he was GONE but it was still an honor and neat experience. After that I seemed to pull away from D-Train and, refusing to look back. wondered if I was putting much time into him. About five miles later I found out when he came blasting past me near the end. Into T2 we went. David was just out and Dan closely behind, I was in third. I new we were going well when we left transition no one was in the parking lot yet.
The last run was weird. I really didn't try to race, just one foot in front of another and BOOM there was Dan, as I past we chatted a bit and then move on, a weird feeling came over me- I just couldn't believe what was happening and really didn't think about it. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Soon enough it was over and I'd had my best GW DU ever and hopefully a start of a great year of racing. The fun began again as we all returned to chatting, running, eating, laughing. It's hard to put the experience into words but it was just such a bright spot in a tough weekend.
Thank you too; Julie Mac, Becca, Danny Boy, Kevin, Fellowship of Christian athletes bothers and sisters, Gear West, Rome, SCS Pose (Swart and crew), KWJ, Julie Hull, Cathy Y, Brian, the Kellers and the 100's of people I haven't mentioned. Most importantly I love you to the 3 Shelp girls (Micki, Quincy and Clancy). Mad props to the Florida 70.3 chicks (Brook, Jen and Katie) and Mark!
Thanks be to God!