I guess it was really when I bought some Ironman Arizona socks and a commemorative T-shirt that I knew I would do what I could to finish. But what erased that lingering doubt was meeting up with my Triabuddy Elisa, and then watching the documentary premiere in a theater overflowing with the many friends and supporters of Triabetes.
I was happy to meet up with Elisa and to hear about her adventures sailing out to the Channel Islands, kayaking, exploring sea caves and hiking with her new friends. (Kayaking was her favorite, and I heard she was very brave!) Perhaps my favorite aspect of our conversation was that diabetes didn't even come up until I asked her about it; the weekend was about being a kid having fun, and realizing that diabetes didn't have to stop that from happening. I was so proud that she overcame some fears that any 10 year old might have, as well as diabetes-related uncertainties. Yeah Elisa!
I savored every second of the documentary that followed, and remembered why it was that I couldn't wait to sign up for another Ironman with Triabetes a year ago; I knew then that I would do what I could to finish the race. I was reminded of the challenges that every athlete faces out there, with or without diabetes. I was reminded too of that special bond we have as people with diabetes (and those with type 3 count too), and how a little bit of magic happens when there are others around who know what it means to be 53 and suffering during a marathon, or going strong at 140 on the bike. When someone wants to know my blood sugar out of empathy and concern rather than rubbernecking a potential diabetes mishap, I feel their care; I was reminded of this feeling during the documentary. My family who came to support me in the race loved it too, from the focus on the Triabuddies to the struggles and achievements of the adults and those who support them. I was so caught up in reliving the moments on film and enjoying seeing these people who I've come to care about so much, that I want to watch it again and again to capture everything I missed.
I left the theater and awards ceremony that followed feeling relaxed, more determined and also a little fearful of the day to follow. I would be counting on the energy of friends and other athletes on the course to pull me through this race, especially the marathon. We dropped off our bikes and gear bags and ran some last-minute errands before settling in for an anxious night of sleep. The big dance was about to begin!
(A quick note of explanation: In my book, a "type 3" diabetic is anyone who tries to learn and understand what my diabetes is all about, and doesn't look surprised when I lick my finger after testing...)