Monday, July 9, 2012

The Race I did not race...

I'm sure every person on Earth has experienced a rise and fall, landing them in a puddle of tears and some hurt.  Perhaps that is the risk of climbing towards any goal or living life fully.  Masuda tells me it's like climbing trees.  Some people don't climb at all, content on the ground, others like safer smaller trees with secure strong branches.  Then there are those of us that like to get into the really tall trees, falling from such heights can bring hard landings. He then reminds me I would not be happy safe on the ground or in small trees.  I remind him how much I love the view from the higher tree tops and that all the falls I've taken in life have been worth it to me for the couple of great views I've experienced. 

Then I cried more about being in Portland, at a race but not racing.  Holding my hand he said, "You just fell out of a tree is all". That was my yesterday, at a race I came to race, but landed talking under a tree instead...

It all started on Fourth of July.  My bike, bags, and I left Kona with a job to do, race REV3 Portland Triathlon.  On the flight my face wore a quiet, confident smile.  The one an athlete wears when they feel as if the training had been done well, the rest & recovery landed them safely in that spot where they are more excited than nervous, and then the big one-your head, heart, and body join the same team.  That fueled me all flight long, passion meshed with confidence is a good thing...

Then something even more awesome happened, a layover in Seattle had me at gate N2 where the most thrilling display of fireworks ever lit me was Masuda!  He has helped me again to believe in myself, in my dreams, in so much more and now he was going to be part of the journey into Sunday's race. 

The next couple days were putting the finishing touches on the way to 70.3 miles of swimbikerun.  Runs along the river, a ride on one of the most beautiful spots my bike has ever been, and lake swimming in cool water.  Not to mention, shared laughter and meals with Masuda, Wendy, and Fredo. Fredo was also racing so Wendy joined his journey, it was as if some of my favorite parts of home were making Portland feel like home with those 3...

 The part of the bike course I was most looking forward to...

Like a sudden nightmare during a peaceful sleep I get the call that I was not going to be able to race Sunday or my pro license would be suspended because of USAT membership and paperwork miscommunication (to sum it all up).  In a pile of tears that I did not understand I landed in a meeting with the USAT official on site and the REV3 race directors.  Oh so much happened in that meeting, mostly me lost in translation and confusion, but somehow later checking in my bike to race transition with an "okay" that was then taken back and had me pulling my bike out of transition at 9pm that night, the night before the race.  All of it hurt.  I mean every drop of the experience and surviving it took Masuda taking the walk of shame, humility, hurt, and anger with me. It got pretty dark real fast that night...

I began to do that emotional list rambling thing sad people do, it went like this:  But I came all this way, the cost of the travel, the flight, missing Kainoa, pouring my heart into this race, the sacrifices for training, Masuda missing work to support me, his flight costs, my sponsors, my support crew, and what about Kainoa and my parents, what next, what now...the list went on. What do I do?! How can this be, am I really not racing?  I left my bike up, still filled my water bottles that night, and set out all my race gear.  There was no way I could believe this and I kept expecting a call that it was all sorted out and I could race.  At midnight no call, finally went to bed, but woke up just in case...

Sunday at 7:21am, 39 minutes till the race start I asked Masuda, do you think if they call now I could make it there in time, they might still call.  He told me of course I'd make it and if not I'd start late. We laughed, I had to laugh, it was survival medicine at that point.  Nobody called me, I cried instead.  But then, I realized something refreshing, we are not to count the cost on the way to a dream, anything we desire for that I did and spent what I thought was worth it to be in Portland had the race been possible for me. As my mom would say, "Sometimes life is like a Monopoly game and you Bree landed on "shitty day".  Then she would apologize entirely for cussing, reminding me this is just a day in my life and it could be worse...

That race had me needing a support crew like never before, but not the kind of support where they yell at you to run faster, on that day I was given even better support.  Masuda picked me up with all his Japanese wisdom, slapped my @$$, and told me to keep climbing my trees, the big tall ones that I love.

At this moment I'm reminded of a handful of wonderful stories about the Olympians and all the adversity they faced to be part of the Olympic Games about to happen in London.  Great stories of missing out by less than a second 4 years ago, being born unable to afford a basketball but making the team even when coaches said you won't, getting left off teams, having no sponsors, getting knocked out but getting back up again and again, falling. It encourages me beyond words in my own little belly flops of sport.

I'm not sure how the paperwork will sort out at the moment.  After a long chat with USAT's Charlie Crawford today I just know it will take a little time, he was patient to make it all so clear to me.  During that time I felt the flood of panic try to consume me, if it was just me I'm looking out for it would be okay, but I've got Kainoa and have to stay strong for him and keep working for him.  So I made that list again, the one sad people make:  I'll go back to teaching for a while, I'll call my parents for direction, maybe I can do another race, (Crawford told me I might be able to believe it or not until things are decided), maybe I just need to give a lot to Masuda right now and support him on his career the way he has looked out for me. Then I just stopped, took a big deep breath, and reminded myself this is not the end of the world, or the end of sport for me, or the end of anything...just that fall from a tree and landing in the unknown for a little bit...

I'm really thankful for all the support that has flooded my email, my phone, and other ways of communication.  It has helped me keep my chin up the past 24 hours, it has reminded me that there are so many more difficult challenges we face in life than a hang up with our jobs.  And I know that no prize from any race is more valuable than my family and friends, and let me tell you, I have some good, good people in my life...

Chin up, right...


Blogger Gigi Wong said...

This is quote from my local country Hong Kong of a comic "Bad life to a certain extent will turn out well, because it could not be worse. So we should always be full of sunshine in the heart." The hard landing just take few hours and you will forget the hurt and most importantly, you need to stand up and climb again and again, becoz there have many nice tall tree around :) chin up and climb again!!

July 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Blogger Jen Small said...

Oh, Bree, I am so sorry to hear about this and I hope whatever paperwork mess that is going on with the USAT is cleared up soon.

One thing that I have come to believe with ALL my heart (after my own struggles that seemed to last for many dark years) is that everything happens for a reason. We may not understand at the moment, but time may bring light to this.

I just love Masuda's tree analogy, too! Didn't this one setback show you just how much he cares, supports and loves you :)

Hang tough, girl. You inspire so many in so many ways, not just racing

July 9, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Blogger CoachLiz said...

Well Bree,
This calls for a stiff drink rather than a fruit smoothie. It sounds like you held your side of the agreement not to race and it also sounds like Charlie Crawford is going to make sure that USAT does their part and that it might take a bit of time due to the USAT office being closed due to the wildfires.

I'm not sure where I learned the lesson, but someone once told me to practice patience and humility. By doing so, one day you would be rewarded with a gift that not many can claim. That gift is other people's respect and admiration. You already have so many people that you do and that you do not know around the world that respect you as a person and admire you as a fantastic mom and an inspiration to others. Keep practicing patience and humility with a good dose of goofy fun and you will always have sunshine in your day, even if the clouds on the horizon are black and rumbling. It only means that you have a pretty good chance of seeing a rainbow.

Take a deep breath, brush off the dirt, wipe away the tears, go have a taco, and start climbing.

July 10, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Blogger ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Chin up, smile
What's REALLY important in life?
Which are you missing?

July 10, 2012 at 2:38 AM

Blogger miles99999 said...

That all just sucks Bree. You were fortunate to have people who cared about you near you as you went through it and are going through it. I trust everything will get sorted out soon and you'll be back kicking ass in no time.

July 10, 2012 at 2:59 AM

Blogger Damie said...

I could not have imagined that was the reason you did not start. I hope everything is resolved for good. xo

July 10, 2012 at 3:01 AM

Blogger Nibbles said...

I'm really sorry to hear about the mixup. I look forward to reading your blog every day, and you are such an inspiration to an average age grouper like me. I know you'll get through this! Cheers!

July 10, 2012 at 3:41 AM

Blogger Christi said...

Everyone has given you such great advice and I don't know what I can add. I will just say that we are all here for you throughout your journey. ((Hugs))

July 10, 2012 at 3:42 AM

Blogger Lani said...

Bree - Masuda was there for a reason -he needed to be there for you.

Hopefully the paperwork issue gets worked out - wildfires in Co aside for the moment - they made NO contact with you that there was a problem? That is SO not ok not only for you but for any of us that are USAT members

July 10, 2012 at 4:29 AM

Blogger Brian said...

Bree- You write with such passion and heart. I've never heard your voice in my life...but I felt as if I could hear you telling me the story as I read it. And it was a GREAT story. Great stories don't necessarily have to have the endings we want, but they do tend to have some sort of adventure...and yours certainly did. I think that it's experiences like this that are essential to making life great. Would we really be so enamored with a sunny day at the beach...if we didn't have days like you just had? It's obvious through your story that you learned something from this, you grew from there's no doubt that the Bree who returned from Portland is a more refined, wise, and understanding Bree. I'll bet you love the feel of the wind in your face as you fly down the road on your bike at 25+ mph...but isn't that wind also creating drag and attempting to hold you back? It's those very adventure seekers, those high tree climbers, who love to charge straight forward into that which dares to hold them back. "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." -Kahlil Gibran
Thanks for sharing with us Bree. Stories like this helps everyone gain a little more perspective on life.

July 10, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Blogger donna furse said...

I don't understand why USAT or Rev 3 Tri didn't contact you prior to the race to say there might be an issue with your paperwork. Why did it happen the day before the race, that makes no sense. Are they going to recoup your expenses? Do they have a reason why they waited till the last minute? This seems a bit more complicated then just paperwork, Thank goodness you have Kainoa and Masuda to help you and give you support and your so grounded as an individual. But I would call into question with USAT why they didn't notify you before you left Hawaii.

July 10, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Blogger Beth said...

Bree - I am so, so sorry that you have to go through all of this. :( But you should take big comfort in knowing that God has such a great BIG plan for you and it's a GOOD one! And also know that in your positive outlook, you inspire so many who are also facing struggles in life, sport, career, family, etc... Thinking of you and praying for you lots Bree!

July 10, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Blogger Christy said...

Bree, it is obvious that the Lord is watching over you 100%! Otherwise Masuda wouldn't have been there. I know it hurts, it sucks and it doesn't ease any of that! But you are so strong! You are a wonderful person inside and out! A wonderful Mother and above all else that is what matters the most in this world! Keep strong, keep the faith. We all believe in you!!!


July 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

Oh Bree! I did gather it was some kind of admin thing going on. How complicated can it be for your federation to sort something out there and then to allow you to race? I'm only an AG and I would be going through the same "but I came from so far away, all the money. I've spent..." questioning. Luckyly you had Masuda and your friends with you. Keep pursuing your passion.

July 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Blogger marian said...

when i could not find you on sunday, i wondered what had happened. unbelievable that there was such a paperwork snafu!! i am so sorry you did not get to race.
masuda was there for a reason, and i am glad he has such wise words for you.
may things get resolved quickly!
hang in there!

July 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Blogger Go Gammie said...

Bree,,, sad to hear the news that you were not able to race :( During the weekend I was in Vancouver at the race I met you years ago, and thought of the great inspiration you have been to me and others. I am glad to have met you and think you are still inspiring !! I am glad Masuda was able to make the trip and be there for you :)

July 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Blogger Christy said...

Bree, I don't do tri anymore. But, I still check in with your posts because your positive attitude is inspirational. I like the way you include your son in everything. I am sorry this happened. I don't understand why you, as a pro, weren't told ahead of time. We live 50 minutes from that fire. We had a bags ready to go for evac. (We are just fine.) I hope they quickly settle things for your job's sake. I like the analogy, "just falling out of a tree." You are a strong woman and I can't imagine this inhibiting you from all the other trees waiting for you. You have wonderful friends around you. Great choice! I hope you have a fun training day today.

July 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Blogger Tina Marie Parker said...

Crap, sorry I have been away from the blog. I am sorry. Chin up and climb the tree again. It will all work out. You have your family.

July 12, 2012 at 6:17 AM


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