When I limped back to the car (because of the cast still stuck on my right leg), I saw that the driver’s side door to Chuckie’s truck was slightly ajar. My first thought was “oh, no, I messed up.” My second thought, “I really screwed up.”
This wasn’t the first time something was stolen from me this year (my video camera and my iPod were stolen in the Philippines when the perpetrator broke into our apartment), but this time it was more than just a few pictures on a camera. It was my laptop computer, my training notes, and my newly purchased Celtic sea salt (I looked high and low for this stuff!). But the worst of it, all the information on the computer was not saved on my memory stick; I get lazy in remembering to back things up. My training diary with all Doc’s secret Jedi training was gone!
After a very big rampage that included me screaming, jumping up and down, and throwing everything I could out of the truck (maybe someone was playing a trick on me and hid my computer bag), I sat myself down and gained control. I’ve been mad at myself before but not like this. I lost a lot of information and felt totally exposed to the world. I looked everywhere in the truck, around the truck, under the truck, in the parking lot and even back in the store (maybe I was stupid enough not to remember I wore the pack in the store). No luck. It was gone. My cell phone, my iPOD charger and a few other items were also in the same bag. The thief got a good grab!
It was a lost cause to report my computer stolen from an unlocked vehicle, so I didn’t take the time to do so. There was no way they were going to catch this guy. I hung my head low and preceded to the local library so I could get some Internet access and try to save all the minutes I just purchased on my pre-paid cell phone. I managed to deactivate the old phone and get a new one for only 10 bucks. At least that was fixed. At home, I started writing everything I remembered from the TBB camp in the Philippines---my training notes and whatever else I could think of that I know I’ll need in the future. I wrote a number of pages.
Chuckie came home shortly thereafter and boy was I in for the lecture of my life. He hates disorganization and disarray, and when it’s as important as what I lost, I couldn’t imagine what I was in for. Mind you, I already gave myself more than just a lecture but a severe personal beating. So when I faced the music, I could only cry and get even angrier with myself.
After one very restless night, I rolled over with more determination than ever to be organized. I realized I needed to make some big changes in my life. This is a prime example of how not to be a champion. As Doc would say, you’re only kidding yourself.
That morning, I went to check my email at the library again. I had two emails: one spam and one from a name I didn’t recognize. I was just about to delete but thought I’d at least glance at it. The guy wrote, “I recently purchased an item on Craigslist and I believe it may be yours. If you’ve had something stolen recently please describe it.”
I quickly emailed him back and explained to him that my computer was stolen yesterday. I described it and gave him my new phone number. Less than five minutes later, the phone rang. Mr. Good Samaritan had my computer! I couldn’t believe it! Chuckie told me to slow down; here’s some random guy emailing you, only a day after your computer is stolen. I did a trusty Google search and quickly found out that our Mr. GS was 19 years of age, fresh out of the local high school, and now attending college in Santa Maria. I was sure I had the same guy on the line because he sounded young and he lived in Santa Maria.
I called the sheriffs department next, and reported my stolen items. The officer said that Mr. GS and I could do an “exchange of property". We met at the sheriff’s substation in Santa Maria the following day. Mr. GS paid $300 dollars for the computer. Technically, I didn’t have to pay him anything, since he was in possession of stolen property (so said the deputy), but how could I not? It’s not everyday you meet such an honest and sincere human being! He basically thought the deal was “too good to be true” and then searched the computer for my email address! I felt more than obligated to give him the money he paid for it. I tried to offer him a financial reward as well but he wouldn’t take it. Who raised this kid?!
I’ve never met someone so honest, sincere and young. It still astounds me! It makes me question myself: “If I found a wallet with $300 bucks in it, would I keep it or try to find the owner?” I couldn’t thank Mr. GS enough.
So, this brings me back to the title of this blog, “This hasn’t been my year so far! Or has it?”
I’ve had a lot of things happen to me in a mere three months: good, bad and ugly. But through all of this, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Doc showed me how weak I was, the camp showed me how strong elite Ironman athletes are. I’ve been taught that I wasn’t giving it 100%, that my mind was scattered and I’d never achieve my dreams the way I was going. The stolen camera, iPod, computer and phone all happened because I didn’t make sure doors were locked. I’m grateful to have my computer back but I have to ask myself, “why do I have all these gadgets anyway?” I need to simplify my life. More importantly, I need to quit being so mentally scattered.
Three months ago I was a naïve, happy-go-lucky 26-year old. I thought I was ready to be a World Champion in one year! Now I’m injured (but on the mend!) and continue to make mistakes left and right. I either need to step up to the plate of being a champion or realize that yes, I am only kidding myself.
I’m trying to change my mindset and my ways. Being reprimanded a few times by both Doc and Chuckie will do this. I need to be disciplined, smart, thorough and quit making dumb mistakes. Chuckie was ready to give up on me; I was ready to give up on myself. He yelled at me, “BE IN THE MOMENT WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO, NO MATTER HOW TRIVIAL IT SEEMS!” I’m realizing from both of these great coaches that my mind is too wishy-washy and lacks focus. I’m never going to be a champion like this.
A few more wallops to the head and I think I’ll have it. When I eat, I eat. When I drink, I drink. When I swim, I swim! Chuckie says I need to go alpine climbing, where a simple mistake could cost you your life…“this way maybe you’ll learn.”
I’ll focus on one day at a time, one task at a time, one moment at a time. I know more mistakes will be made but I’m determined to make fewer and fewer. I’m not going to live a life of forgetfulness and mediocrity. Ironman is for athletes made of iron. When I get in the ring to fight again I hope to be as hard as nails. The song, Get in the Ring by Guns N Roses is blasting away in my head right now, but only because I’m through writing this. One thing at a time.