I owe it to Kyle to perform on IM race day

IMG_2184This past weekend I lost my dog Kyle to the heavens. I had him by my side for 11 years of my life, giving me his unconditional love through the good times and the bad. His health had been deteriorating for the past 6-8 months, and we figured he might not make it to the end of the year. However, his rapid decline in his last few days still made me feel unprepared to make the decision to end his suffering.

Kyle is in doggy heaven now. As for me, these have been some of the most difficult days of my life (and Gabi‘s). So much so that after 8 months of hard triathlon training, I lost all interest and motivation in racing my first Ironman less that two weeks from now. Kyle passed on Saturday. My weekend workouts were dreadful and I couldn’t muster the desire to work out on Monday. I was finally able to feel better about training on Tuesday evening (not that I had much of choice to deviate from my training regimen for days on). Coincidentally, Tuesday’s workouts were up-tempo and meant to “lift me up” rather than wear me down. I focused on lifting up my physical and mental energy. This morning I also managed to wake up early for a pre-work swim.

I am coming around to higher levels of race day strength and motivation. Obviously, I have not forgotten Kyle. Everything around the house and my daily routine makes me think of him. But I have to get my head back into the upcoming race. I owe it to Kyle to perform on race day. Too many days and hours I was gone during Ironman training that I could have spent with him. I cannot allow that time apart to be in vain.

IMG_2733I am thinking about putting a picture of Kyle in my run special needs bag to give me the strength to carry on and finish strong on race day. I will certainly carry him in my thoughts every moment of the race, especially when I need to find the inner strength to pull me out of the rough patches during the race.

I am looking forward to the arrival of my parents from France, who are coming to support us for the race. Gabi’s parents are coming as well. They will also be a huge motivational element on race day. I know this from experience. For Ironman 70.3 Raleigh, knowing that our friends were supporting us along the course and their presence at the finish line gave me the energy to push hard. Having my parents come from France for Ironman will give me the same motivation x 2 (or a million).

Life after Ironman without Kyle will continue to be hard, but at least we have several things to see us through. We’ll be spending a few days after the race sightseeing around Kentucky and Nashville. Upon returning to DC, I’ll be participating in the Nation’s Triathlon (taking it easy, just for the fun and sights), and soon after in the Ragnar relay team that Gabi put together (I was ¬†going to be their driver to give my legs a rest, but they lost a team member so I am filling in). Later this Fall I have a marathon to look forward to and a fishing trip to the NC Outer Banks.

I want to finish by expressing my gratitude to my friends and family who have supported Gabi and I during months of training and the loss of Kyle. Thank you thank you thank you. And now on to execute on race day!