Once upon a time, I would have been on the track instead of the sidelines. I would have stared ahead, the pounding of my blood in my ears as I waited for the flag to drop. I would have pushed ahead on that ice-cold track without a worry in the world.
I stood on the sidelines of a race for the first time in 8 years and I felt old but so, so young at the same time. I remember everything that used to go through my head in the seconds before a start and I missed that with all my heart.
Running with Ruten brings me joy, of course, especially since now he knows what I expect from him, but it’s nothing compared to that – to the smell of sleds, to the braaaaap sounds surrounding me, to the camaraderie between racers and teams and spectators.
If I were any more in shape I would jump on a sled tomorrow and race and remember what it used to be. My gut and my legs do not allow me that, right now – eventually, maybe, I’ll be able to go back to my first love.
Until then, until that day I’ll be able to compete on a sled again, I will close my eyes and remember the races that used to be, and the smiles on everyone’s faces.
Because I’ll be damned if I don’t try.