Monday, August 15, 2011

Drive

I’m trying to figure out what possesses a person to live at a particular activity level. What drives a person to do the things they do in their day? Why are some people busy while others do nothing; neither way being "right" or "wrong" in experiencing this life...

The Fs drove up here from Phoenix last weekend. They took that 12-hour, painfully long road trip (with two kids, no less) through New Mexico and up boring I-25 to Denver. I’ve been there before: in college, in an Acura Integra with Sophia and three other guys – all of us trying to get to Boulder for the weekend for different reasons. It was fantastic and painstaking at the same time. Thinking back on it now, I might not be able to participate so willingly in the adventure the same way at this point in my life. Not that I wouldn’t have the urge for a weekend road trip, rather that I wouldn’t have the urge to cram in to a small space where your every moves affects the arm space and, most likely, lap of the person next to you. At the time though, there was plenty to talk about with Sophia; I had a crush on one of the guys; and I was aching to see good friends from home.

Anywho (cut to present day), I had been looking forward to the Fs visit for months, ever since Dahlia called to tell me Tony was participating in an Ironman in Boulder. It was going to be a weekend hanging out with the Fs and watching Tony compete in the race. They were going to meet miss m for the first time. I really just wanted some face time with an old friend so we could reconnect in person. There is something about watching someone and being able to smile at them and interact with their life that makes the time/space continuum less complicated for me.

That was the plan before life gets in the way... before Tony’s brother got diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia... before the Fs spent a chunk of the summer flying out to Boston to support him in his fight... before Tony found out he was a perfect match and donated his bone marrow THREE WEEKS before the race. I thought for sure the Ironman, and the trip, would be bagged in light of recent events. Tony, however, stuck to his guns and his training schedule, and ponied up for the big day. I never really understood why until I watched him at the finish line. 

For our part, we got to connect Friday night and have dinner, which is always a good time. Dahlia and I stayed up late and talked; I’m glad we found the space to do that. I give Dahlia props for fighting her dreary eyes so she could listen to her old roomie when she was scheduled for a wake up call at 4:30 am.


AF decided to do an Ironkids event Saturday morning. I set the coffee maker (and made a sign for her that she didn't see). We planned to meet them after the race but miss M got sick the night before. 


We finally met on Pearl Street to get some brunch. It was a good meal though Maddie puked on me again at the end of it. We had planned on going for a hike after we ate but it just wasn’t working out. Instead we walked up Pearl and down along the river. Took a quick stroll in to the Farmer’s Market and D bought some veggies. We went home after that to tend to our girl. 


Sunday I went up to Boulder alone. I was looking forward to watching Tony compete in his race but also to have some time to focus on Dahlia and the kids. It was impressive to see the athletes competing. Tony is in his zone in the situation; all his training and tweaking and toys foundational as he competes in a way he loves. Dahlia is super supportive and a stronghold in the family. A and S are tremendous. They have the enthusiasm of both Dahlia and Tony rolled in to one. They would be happy doing anything but are professionals at being silly and having fun while passing the time.


At the finish line, Tony sported two Ironman medals, one for his race and one for his brother, who would have run this race had he not be commissioned for a more important race the past nine weeks. Their cousin, Herb, participated as well. 

(this truly is one of my favorite photos from the weekend)

The emotions of the race and the physical healing that comes with the completion of five hours of athleticism are part of the reward at the end of the day. Both the athlete and the support crew can admire the drive to reach a goal and be proud of the achievement once the finish line is crossed. It can be a stretch and effort to get there but it's worth it in the end.

They took a different way home; the more scenic route: east on I-70 through Summit County and Glenwood Canyon (one of the most beautiful canyons I have ever seen) and then down Utah's long orange stretch. Still a chunk of time in the car but providing more photo opportunities to stop and enjoy the ride. 

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