Tuesday, January 09, 2007


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I got a plant from the campground we stayed at in FL. It was a sprig that had fallen off the mother plant, and the groundskeeper had put it in a styrofoam cup with some potting soil; it was sitting on the counter at the camp office desk. I asked about it and the desk guy said, "Take it. The groundsworker can't stand to see anything die, he's always potting up pieces that fall."

So I got this plant. All my houseplants (in my case, RV-plants) have sentimental value.... the Christmas cactus I planted the day I found out grandson Collin (now nearly 11) was on the way; the spider plant I planted the day Gracie (now 8-1/2)was born; a new sprig of the Christmas cactus when Abbie (almost 4) was born. The Christmas cactus sprigs were from a plant given to me by Steve's grandmother as a "congratulations" gift when she learned I was pregnant with first-child Valerie. Val's 33 now and still has the mother plant, which is huge, in addition to the cutting I started for her when Collin was born.

I had a piece of a schefflera from my father's funeral, but that got frozen, ironically, when we were in AZ. Valerie has the mother plant and I need to get a new piece from her.

So I have this plant from IMFL. It's setcreasea pallida, AKA "Purple Wandering Jew," but more commonly, "Purple Heart Plant." I thought that was supremely appropriate as a memoir of IMFL, which is why I begged for it. I saw the plants growing around the campground and went into the office to ask if I could take a cutting, but there sat this sprig already potted (but not rooted.) It's rooted now and I just repotted it into a real flower pot.

Purple heart.... I can't say I was wounded at IMFL, but I can't say I wasn't. I can't say that the piriformis-muscle issue I'm having now didn't come from trying to do speedwork too soon after the Ironman. I can't say my aversion to being cold isn't a lingering result of being so cold during the run. I still don't ever, ever want to be cold again. I don't mind my hot flashes anymore. I know they pass and I can put up with them for a couple minutes at a time a couple times an hour. Just don't ask me to be cold. I don't even want to eat ice cream. It makes me cold from the inside out. I never, ever want to feel cold inside again. I was colder in the last 6 or so miles of that event, than I have ever been before or ever expect to be again. I needed to run to generate some body heat, but couldn't run because I was losing too much energy to the environment. I have never been so cold in my life. Bless whoever put those gas-generator floodlights on the course. They wrecked the full-moon ambiance, but they put out HEAT. I hugged every single one trying to get warm.

Another possible injury... I'm not enamored of doing another Ironman, or even more triathlons. Apparently, however, I do intend to get on my bike again, because my mother gave me a gift card to my favorite sports store here in Winchester, and I put it towards a new bike saddle. Even though I haven't looked at my bike since Nov. 4. Well, I've looked at it, in passing, but I haven't even washed the Gatorade off the aerobars from the race. There were lots of things at the store I could have gotten instead of a bike saddle. Socks. Books. $40 worth of GU. Goggles. Swimsuits.

Except I haven't been in the pool, either. It feels cold when you first get in. I know "it's fine when you get used to it" but I do not want to get into water and feel cold and have to get used to it.

Here is the question:
I made it through the swim with nothing worse than a little seasickness, a little puking, a little "Thank God that's over," a little "I would never have believed I could swim in that." But I do not want to swim now.

I got through the bike with nothing worse than a sore bottom which resolved as soon as I got off the bike. But I don't want to bike now.

The run, though.... it was on the run that I was freezing, and exhausted, and lonely, and worried about Nancy, who hadn't looked good at the half and said she might not make it, and in fact (wisely) called it a day. It was on the run that I sought medical aid in case I was dying or something. It was on the run that I considered bailing at every single aid station. It was on the run that I hugged every single heat-projecting floodlight, losing probably half an hour in time overall. It was on the run that I walked (if you can even call it walking) the last 9 miles not sure I could keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Why, then, am I now averse to swimming and biking, have no triathlon plans, and won't even eat ice cream, but am gung-ho for running, planning on speedwork to get me to Boston, am injured because of same, and chafing at the bit because I can't run?

I love my purple heart plant. It grows. It gives me hope. It gives me inspiration. It's alive. I am, too.


Karen C in Calgary said...

Because running...
was your first love?
is where your heart is?
is where you found courage for the rest?

MUT said...

Keep moving on. You will be able to make your dreams happen. You have inspired me and others I'm sure. get weel and get training.

Vickie said...

You are probably burned out on the triathlon thing. I can't ever see myself doing more than one IM, but I hope if I do get that far I want to continue to do short races after. That's really where the fun is anyway. So give yourself a chance to get the Boston thing accomplished, and then make decisions. No hurry before then.

From Here to There said...

Ellie, I haven't a clue why you are gravitating towards running over the other two. Maybe you want to conquer your worst memory first?

Your history with your plants is very touching :)