A few days ago I had to fill out the usual race entry form. At the end of the form was the “In case of emergency” part. Due to some recent changes in my life, I realized that my “in case of emergency” had un-expectantly changed. While that took me by surprise, I found myself wondering what exactly constitutes an emergency. Some would say that where I have been would be an emergency and there have been times that I would agree. At the same time I am aware that there are those very close to me that have experienced a much different degree of emergency. My friend Monica that was hit by a car while training for Ironman would assure me that there are many types of emergencies.
While I was riding my bike contemplating this idea I looked down to see the latest scars on my knees. Those were from my most recent need of “ in case of emergency” when I had a face-to-face meet up with the roads in Arizona. It occurred to me that while we plan to avoid emergencies, the best laid plans sometime just change. I could live in a bubble and avoid taking any risks. I am pretty sure that would get me close to not needing an “in case of emergency”. As I contemplated this concept, a truth came to me. Living in that bubble would be an emergency of huge proportions. That would mean that I had actually stopped living and would need an “in case of emergency” to pull me out of it.
I chose to live this life all out. I chose to love with all that I am. I chose to play as hard as I can. I chose to work with all that I am able. I chose to lay it all out on the line.
So I sat on this blog post for about 2 months and then came the time when I had to experience a true need for an “in case of emergency” that I never dreamed would happen . As I was riding and training for Ironman Louisville on the heels of winning my age group at the Buffalo Springs 70.3, I had another chance to meet the asphalt. This was one of those freak accidents that just don’t happen – but did. I was by myself and descending a road I had gone down so many times. The next thing I knew – I was flying through the air and then a rag doll at the mercy of gravity. I gathered my bike and my things and tried to collect my senses. At this point I realized that my previously intact collar bone was far being in tact and was in fact in a few pieces. I was, however blissfully unaware that most of the skin from my back was on the road. The reality that I needed my “in case of emergency” came into acute focus. I called my son to come get me. I called some friends in the know of this type of injury. I went to get an x-ray. And then the hard truth began to take shape – I was not going to be my independent self for awhile. I started to realize I was going to need help with just about everything and some things I was not even aware of.
My “in case of emergency” crew stepped in to take over. See through this I have become aware that I don’t have just ‘an’ “in case of emergency”, but rather I have many. I have girlfriends willing to come bathe me. I have loved ones willing to come change my bandages, to sit with me, to wipe my tears, to hold my hand, to care for my children, to encourage me, to drive me around and mostly to remind me that this is not who I am. I am not broken, I am not alone and I am not helpless. I am blessed beyond measure. The people that have surrounded me in this time are some of the best humans to be on this planet. My best “move the body” friends, the most amazing team mates, my children, my incredible Coach, my family and some of the most incredible individuals that live life while loving full out. This situation is just another that gives me the opportunity to experience who I am. That I am strong, healthy, powerful, loved, loving faithful and happy.
It will be some time before I will be back out on my bike feeling the head wind in my face, running in the heat of the day or pulling myself through the water. When that time comes I will be more than ready to fill out those forms grateful that I have a plethora of “in case of emergency” individuals that chose to play in this game of life with me. I am a blessed person indeed and thankful for this sport that constantly mirrors my life back to me so that nothing is taken for granted.