In case you're wondering, that is my first official bib number for a triathlon. When I read the email from the officials at the Carlsbad Triathlon, I looked for any radical significance to the number aside from the obvious sequential nature, but of course I could find none. The only result I could find was that it happens to be the area code to the Cayman Islands, so I imagine that number is used pretty heavily during crackdowns by the Securities and Exchange Commission. There is also a Biblical reference, Lamentations 3:45 - "You have made us scum and refuse among the nations". Nice.
I guess the best significance I can draw from the number 345 is that it happens to represent the place in order where my name alphabetically falls on the participant list for the Carlsbad Triathlon. I think that's a pretty worthwhile significance. Why? Because I earned my spot at this premier race. Yes, technically anyone can register for a fee, but I worked hard, and this race represents a celebration for the work I put in to improving myself. I look forward to wearing 345, and I will own it.
Preparation for this race couldn't be going any better in my opinion. Despite the obvious speed bumps (in the form of bike and knee crushing automobiles), my swim is getting pretty strong, my bike is pretty fast, and my run feels good. The doctor has given me an all clear, officially diagnosing the injury as a sprained MCL, which should heal fully in 8 weeks.
I look at this next Sunday, July 14th, as another milestone to cross before going to Cabo to compete in an Ironman. Over a year and a half ago I was unhealthy, depressed, and dependent on alcohol to ease my pain and boredom with life. Since then I have crossed many milestones - becoming sober, improving my perspective, finding my spiritual path, repairing and healing from injuries, learning to eat clean and healthy, improving my physical condition, becoming competent at the bike and the swim, the list goes on - and along that path I have conquered many fears. It is amazing how much fear prevents us from doing things from which we can thrive. But I have committed to charge through them and have found grace in the process. My one true hope is that others begin to believe they can too.
This weekend I approach the milestone of competing in my first sprint distance triathlon. While that may not be much, it is a step in the direction of greater things.