“Number,” said the man at the starting line.
“233.” I reply curtly.
The whistle pierced the air. Like a Pavlovian dog I obediently charge into the water. Running until solid ground evaporated beneath my feet, and then I begin. Stroke, stroke, stroke. My muscles working against the force of the 64 degree water. Midway through they rebel, cramping, tightening. A girl next to me asks for help and the rescue team dives into the water. My mind in a turmoil against my body. “Go!,” it yells. As my body tries to resist. The mind wins and I push on.
The mind guides my journey and in 2 hours I sprint across the finish line. Breathless.
The screams could be heard miles away, 400 women ready to toss around the pigskin at historic Kinnick stadium home of the Hawkeyes. My voice melded with theirs in one large crescendo as AC DCs Back in Black roared from the large speakers we swarmed the field. It’s gameday.
I stand in line waiting my turn. Shifting from foot to foot. Antsy and ready to play. I’m next. Clearing each obstacle I run full speed into the tackle dummy. My body flies through air. THUD. My face meets the turf and I slide along the ground until the force of my body comes to rest. I hop up, empowered, invigorated and a little sore, Ready to do it again.
“We should recruit you,” said coach.
The decongestant hadn’t kicked in yet, and I’m still stuffy, and coughing. My nerves are getting the best of me. The temperature warm, but clammy. I start shaking from an overload of adrenaline and butterflies. With shaky hands I apply the race stickers to my bike helmet and bike.I inhale trying to calm my nerves and then I feel it. The first rain drop.
“Racers make your way to the water,” booms the loud speaker. The rain has quickened turning into a downpour. As I go through my warm up rain drops are magnified off the lake surface, and impede my visability.
The whistle blows, and the sky clears.
With each leg of the race, more sun peaks through the clouds. With sun shining on my face I sprint headlong into the finish line, and beat the clock by two minutes.
1:58, my mom tells me. and tears well in my eyes.
Now I rest, and drink in that same warm sunshine.
I feel fulfilled. Life is good.
I have completed the trifecta.
Three items off the bucket list in three weeks.
I never had the intention of trying to be the overachiever and cram everything into three weekends, but that’s just how it worked.
It wasn’t easy. I battled anxiety, nerves, a terrible head cold, nasty weather and ice cold water on a chilly morning. But I persevered.
And with each accomplishment, my bucket was filled. My heart even more so, and my confidence … zoom out of the park.
But I will admit I’m exhausted. Spent. Put a fork in me I’m done.
It’s time to rest, regroup and start planning for next summer.