It's a little early in the season, but with some traveling and holiday food, I guess my brain decided it was time to start the Ironman dreams. In this dream, Ironman Coeur d'Alene has been transformed into a charity event to benefit world hunger. The swim start begins with a world music festival and an African drumming circle.
My swim is fine and I feel like I'm having a great race in the water. As I get out and run to the wetsuit strippers, they direct me to a huge long table where the athletes are supposed to go next. A big sign explains that 70% of the world subsists on eating staple foods like beans and rice, so in T1, we are each given a mixed bucket of dry beans and rice that we have to sort out. My hands are shaking and cold from the swim as I try to grab little rice grains and separate them out from the beans. All the athletes are laughing and joking with each other about how hard this is and how bad our T1 times will be. I finally complete the task and then run to get my transition bag and head out on the bike.
At the bike turnaround is a big soup kitchen for homeless people. We get off our bikes and stack them to the side, then take our turn cutting vegetables into a giant soup pot. After dicing several onions and stalks of celery, I get back on my bike to finish the course. At that point, I wake up.
My take-away: Christmas is a time to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves and to make sure we're balancing our focus on our own family and on what we might like to give and receive with what other people actually need to survive.