“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine
Alton Baker Park in Eugene, OR is where Pre used to run while he was at the University of Oregon. On my drive back to Penticton with my mother (she’s my road trip companion), we spent a night in Eugene, and I ran in the morning on the beautiful bark mulch Pre Trail that winds through the park. I was never a runner, but having, I hope, become one, it was special to be running where Pre ran.
As I’ve spent the past month looking back and looking ahead, and I started to wonder if maybe I didn’t need a little bit of that craziness that pulled me out of the lake in 2007 and put me on a plane to Penticton to do my very first Ironman having decided on Friday to do the race two days later. Sometimes, you really just need a Plan B.
Dean Murdoch: As it stands Plan B is to just keep on Given’r.
Farrel Mitchener: Giving it to her?
Dean Murdoch: No given’r
Farrel Mitchener: Can you maybe explain given’r? What exactly does that mean?
Dean Murdoch: Give’r. You just go out and you give’r. You keep on working hard.
Farrel Mitchener: Is that a plan?
Dean Murdoch: Yeah that’s a plan right there.
The short version of Plan B is that I’ll be racing IMNYC. I wrote to Coach Michael just over a week ago and said, “I’ve got a crazy idea that might not be so crazy. But tell me if it is crazy. I think it might be too risky.” After reading the rest of the email, his reply was, “no risk no fun.” But even though I was the one who suggested it, I wasn’t sure. And I couldn’t get past those doubts until a few days ago.
I think regularly about that famous quote of Pre’s that I opened with. I struggled with a long time to understand what it meant. Or what it meant to me and for me. I still do. But after reading Jack Gilbert’s poem and giving a speech inspired to it to both an incredible crowd of Ironman athletes and volunteers
and an incredible group of truly amazing young people at Hackley
, I decided while running on the Pre Trail that, at least to some extent, it just meant spreading your wings. Maybe you’ll fall. Maybe you won’t. But you’ll never know until you try.
I’m not doing this because anyone told me I should; plenty of people have told me I shouldn’t. I’m doing it because I love to swim. And I love to bike. And I love to run. And I love to race Ironman. I’m doing it because I think it’ll be fun. And for no other reason than that. There’s nothing more I want to say about what else might lie ahead. Because I don’t really know. I know what I’m going to try to do. And maybe I’ll fall. And maybe I won’t. But I won’t know until I try.