With only a handful of days left before the race I am feeling reflective. In the past year I have competed in a 40 mile bike ride, run the 10 mile Broad Street Run, and have been swimming an average of 1500 yards 2 times a week, triple that of what I will need to do on Saturday.
Of course I start worrying that I haven't run fast enough during training, that I skipped too many sessions, that I haven't done enough open water practice...all of that is useless to think about now because I will be in the water Saturday morning and won't be stopping until I cross the finish line, if I have to drag myself across on my knees!
As is often the case with momentous experiences in our lives, this moment of great pride and accomplishment is being shared with grief as an old friend, the woman who first taught me how to run, is in the hospital fighting stage 4 lung cancer. She never smoked or lived with smokers, they think perhaps she grew up in an area with pollutants in the air. She is young, maybe 40 and has a daughter the same age as my son. Every breath I struggle to pull into my lungs on Saturday I will be taking in her honor and offering it as a silent prayer that she is able to beat this latest battle and earn another lap for her family.