South Africa bound

Well don’t I feel like a whiny brat. Just a few hours after dumping 10 tons of emotional baggage on my social media sphere, small blog readership, and sympathetic friends and family members, my South Africa Ironman materialized in front of my eyes on Friday afternoon. I was at a work event sponsored by Strava, and by the end of our 6-mile run through Torrey Pines State Park, everyone had heard the sob-story of my work visa woes.

Torrey Pines State Beach

It’s hard to be bummed out living and training here.

And then, around a table full of beer and burgers and cupcakes, I subtly checked my email under the table. This was followed by a not-so-subtle announcement, via pseudo-faint on the table, that I was going to South Africa after all. False alarm, folks. Time for a bacon-maple cupcake.

After a brief celebration around a campfire Friday night (featuring a slight deviation from my pre-race clean eating—more beer, more El Nopalito tortilla chips, s’more s’mores!—I was back into training with a new fire.

cupcakes san diego

In honor of a one wonderful person and one approved visa.

Is there any good to come from all of this? Of course. A lot. For one, feeling that support network grow more tightly-knit around you always feels good. Second, I can add something new to my repertoire of training and racing mental strength. Though everything worked out for me in the end, I hope this experience has made me more understanding and compassionate towards my teammates and friends who face injury, and various “Did Not Starts” and “Did Not Finishes.” This bump on the road toward my A-race was just that, a bump. And like all the other bumps that life has a way of doling out—as it has for me this week—I hope it will somehow be replaced by a mountain.

Ironman South Africa bags

In exactly two weeks I’ll be dipping my toes in Nelson Mandela Bay for my first true overseas Ironman. I don’t know how my visa was approved so quickly, but it was. And to the Immigration officer out there who’s responsible for all of this, I’ve got six months of thank-yous stored up. I’ll never meet you, but I hope good things are coming your way.

For now, it’s one more week of shorter, more intense workouts to keep things fresh, as many ocean swims as I can squeeze in, and much-too-last-minute tweaks to my bike setup, courtesy of the hubby. I have cheering friends on at the upcoming Ironman 70.3 in Oceanside to look forward to, and ah, that glorious taper fog.

And then, I’m off to taste racing on the flip side.

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