Angels – they are everywhere. The world is simply a beautiful place with such amazing people in it, making life truly worth living for love of the people that surround us.
I was looking for a way, any way, to be able to get my clothes to Abu Dhabi in time for the race. I gave every suggestion a try, no matter how far-fetched they seemed, hoping to find a way to get the clothes from the US to the UAE before Saturday.
Thursday morning, I receive a message: I’m in California, Laguna Beach right now, can I help in anyway? What are the chances for this person to be in California when he lives thousands of miles away?! We looked at all sorts of postal options together, but the earliest delivery time we could find was Sunday, day after the race. He then had a moment of serendipity: ‘Emirates! They tend to freight things on their flights.’
With a twelve hour difference between us, he went to sleep whilst I started researching. There was a flight leaving Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, arriving to Dubai on Friday 19:30. If we could only get the clothes on this flight, I could have them in Abu Dhabi by race morning.
As night fell in Abu Dhabi and California started to wake up, this wonderful person said, ‘don’t worry – I’ll drive down to San Diego now, pick up your clothes, drive them up to LA, give them to Emirates, and that should leave me with enough time to get back to Laguna Beach in time for my meeting.’ ‘But that’s like a 7 hour drive!’ I said. ‘Don’t worry, the car rental people have just upgraded my car, it’s such a beauty – I need an excuse to drive it!’ I know he’s saying that only to make me feel better.
As I was getting ready for bed, he sent me a text to say that all is under control. He’s picked up the clothes from the lady producing them and is making his way up to LA. An hour later, I get a call. ‘Shirin,’ he says. ‘I’m so sorry, Emirates does not have the freight service on flights out of America. I’m driving right now, can you see if you can find other options?’ Unless we could find a passenger on that flight willing to bring the clothes, there was no other way to get them to Abu Dhabi before Saturday morning. Facebook, twitter, internet forums, I tried anything I could think of, but it was now way past midnight in Abu Dhabi and I had to catch some sleep. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’ll go to the airport anyhow and see if I can find a passenger who’s willing to bring your clothes for you.’
Friday morning, I woke up to find a message: I’m so sorry, I couldn’t find anyone. There was just this one person who was willing, but was on transit, and it being LA, I didn’t want to cause a security scare!
The clothes never made it, but words don’t do what this incredible person went through any justice. To cancel his meeting and drive for 7 hours for me, to stand at an airport and ask people if they would take my clothes for me… so that a girl half way across the globe could participate in a triathlon. I only swim, bike and run, but the real story is that of these incredible, angelic people who support me so generously and unconditionally to enable me to do so.
As for the race, I wasn’t able to race the way I had wanted to. It wasn’t possible without having my clothes. But once again, I am so fortunate that the people at the ITU are so helpful, understanding and encouraging. They enabled me to race in my own little way, so that I could at least assess how the training has paid off, and prepare myself for future races where I hopefully will have my race clothes in time.
Some stories don’t seem to change! Feel free to laugh at/with me! So here I am in Abu Dhabi, again all pumped up and looking forward to the race… but as always, there is a slight hiccup. Frankly, after the experience of the past races, it would seem wrong if there wasn’t something going on!
One of the usual hiccups… problem with race clothes. This time, I’ve actually been so fortunate – someone else stepped in and said I’ll take care of them. She’s all the way in San Diego, haven’t even met her yet, but she’s like a distant angel taking the stress and complications of producing the clothes off my back. The time and energy this freed up thus enabling me to focus on training is amazing. It gave a whole new meaning to the joy of training.
I know that there’s this massively determined, driven and energetic lady who I barely know, and she’s doing all she can to get these clothes to me on time. I also know that I am so fortunate and grateful to have her support as this whole covered clothes issue is no easy feat. Furthermore, I know that even when we try our very best, sometimes life and time have a mind and definition of their own.
I don’t know how the clothes are going to look like – its going to be such a beautiful surprise. I don’t know how it would be possible to get the clothes over to Abu Dhabi from San Diego in time for the race on Saturday… but that adds to the surprise. I don’t know how the clothes are going to function in this heat and humidity, but really looking forward to their first test run.
There’s something about the story that has changed though, and that’s me. Two days before Edmonton and I was a sorry wreck crying my eyes out with stress, fatigue and incertitude. Today, with two days before Abu Dhabi, I am as calm and cool as the day after a race, it’s a beautiful state of mind to be in. The biggest lesson Edmonton taught me was that, really, it’s mostly about the journey to the race. The amazing people met, the awesome training done, the growth, the understanding and all that I learnt on my way to the race. This journey has certainly brought me to a better place.
I’m very much looking forward to experiencing the next two days unravel and see how I’ll make it to the start line.