The water was cold as I waited for the gun to go off. As I wait in silence for the start of the race I reflected on how great I was feeling. For the last race of the season I was feeling strong and in great shape. I planned on finishing the swim in the top five. I planned on getting out of T1 quickly enough to create a huge time gap between the others and me. I felt confident that today was the day that I would finish my race in the top ten. I was going to do it.
As the gun went off I propelled my body forward in a missile like fashion. I kept a nice steady pace and felt every perfect stroke. I felt comfortable and all was going according to plan. As I looked back I quickly noticed that I was in the top five leading the pack into T1. When I breathed a sigh of relief I felt someone grab my leg. I was pulled backwards and under by another athlete. When I popped backed up I was greeted with his hand on top of my head pushing me under. I went under in mid breath, swallowed a healthy portion of salt water and I was under for at least three to four seconds. This happened to me one more time by the same person. I lost my breath; my heart rate jumped a thousand beats per second. I quickly dropped back to the top 20. I gathered myself with 50 yards to go and sluggishly moved forward one stroke at a time. As I rounded the buoy I took a foot to the left corner of my eye socket. I exited the water stunned and slightly dizzy. I quickly realized that I was way behind and all I could do was try to close the gap on the bike.
My planned failed. All the planning and mental rehearsals were taken from me. When I finished the race I was angry. I wanted to find this guy that interfered with me. I wanted to kick his ass all up and down the beach. I was out for blood. A few days have passed and I would be lying if I said I was not still bummed. However, I have learned a long overdue lesson. Although its sounds cliché its true, I can not control that which I have no control over.
My mom could not control the twisting and tightening of my feet in the womb. Erin had no control over Eli’s feet. I had no control over it. I cannot control the fact that my feet are deformed. I cannot control the fact that I will never be able to run a five-minute mile, I will never have perfect mobility to increase my cycling cadence, and my feet will never straighten in the water to lessen the drag. I have to work hard with the gift God has given me. Yes, my feet are a gift. I have to use my gift to push myself to finish and set an example for my children and others, I have to use my gift to bring out the spirit of determination in those facing challenges and disabilities. I have to stick with God’s perfect plan not mine, I have no control over this.