I was so excited. A week before, I laid out a “me”. A me was something would make the night before school when we wouldn’t have to wear our uniform. We would lay out our outfit as if it was on us and we were on the ground. That was our me. Technically, I didn’t make a me, I just picked out my outfit, because Peter would be like “why are your clothes lying on the floor?” Anyway, the ritual itself was special, noting a morning of importance.
Monday and Tuesday, I kept returning to photographs of the years past. I started to feel the flicker of anticipation my belly would feel upon staring at the lake. Counting the buoys, convincing myself the distance wasn’t that long, and that I have successfully done it before in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013. This year, I just wanted to be faster.
I stared at my collection of race tickets – the ones that broke down the time for each section and the transition times. I didn’t worry so much about the transition times. Although I did know that I wanted to break an hour this year.
Heart of the Lakes has been my only triathlon. This year I signed up for it as soon as you could. January or March. Early. Something like that. The feeling of power and triumph you are showered in post race is completely amazing. I have always thought, about ten minutes after crossing the finish line, that I can’t wait to do it again. This year I finally signed up for a second race. So I can do it again.
Wednesday I went in for a minor surgery that I had done eight years prior, so I knew what to expect and wasn’t worried. Whether the procedure itself was different or the mucocele on my lip was much worse, the results were extremely different. Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday I was in immense pain and my lip was blown up to the size of quarter. I was already doubting my ability to swim, for one, imagining my lip would be dragging in the lake and I would be gobbling up lake water and seaweed the whole way; or someone could kick me in the lip and I would pass out in pain, of course, the lip would blow up even bigger so at least I would be floating so I wouldn’t drown; and I tried to imaging mouth goggles but didn’t imagine that would work well with the whole needing to breathe thing.
Thursday night I was consumed with a viral infection. My bedroom was a symphony of coughing, whining, and snoring. I didn’t sleep well. I went to work Friday for a webinar and then left for a doctor appointment. My ENT said do not call him, call my primary. My primary said call my ENT. When I told the nurse at the primary what the ENT said, they advised me to go to urgent care. The ENT would prescribe stronger pain meds.
I went to the minute clinic at Target because I had to be there for the pain meds anyway. She confirmed my suspicion. A viral infection. No one seemed to believe it had anything to do with the lip procedure. Which is good I guess. But why now? Wasn’t the lip pain and looking like a clown enough? Why did I have to be sick too?
When I got home I crawled into bed after taking the Vicodin. They only time I woke up was to take it again. Which I now do not recommend doing on an empty stomach. I woke up early in the morning to get water; I felt extremely nauseous. After taking a sip, I turned to run the 12 feet to the bathroom but didn’t make it. I cleaned up the mess and went back to bed. I woke up 6 hours later and figured I should eat something. I tried a few bites of dry cereal and was hit by the rush again, jumping out of bed I ran toward the bathroom, again, not making it. I cleaned up the mess and went back to bed until late afternoon.
Saturday night. I was supposed to be meeting my dad in Annandale for church and then we would go to the race site and hang with the volunteers. Eat. Scope out where we would place our bikes. And I am still stuck in my jammies holding out hope for being to wake up early and at least watch the race. I had always been at the race since 2007. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there.
Now it is Sunday afternoon. I at least showered today. Slept a lot, but am able to drink coffee. Through a straw. The swelling is down significantly. Still don’t feel 100 %. And then there is the guilt eating at me. Not only that I missed a race I was so excited for, but that I missed a family tradition.
This is the second time in the past year my body has stopped me from doing a race that was really important to me. It is one thing to miss a 5k due to there being too much ice on the ground or a cold, but how do you handle missing a big race? One that you wait for all year long?