I have mentioned in some of my previous posts about the importance of having a good support system at home. I really cannot over emphasize the importance of this factor. There are enough mental challenges out on the course that worrying about the home front is not an additional mental issue a competitor needs. Home front support is a critical success factor to completing any long distance endurance event.
Before the UFC I already knew that my wife was pretty tough and I had a high confidence that she could handle just about anything. Shoot, she lives with me which means she is constantly living with adventures and challenges. I really don’t think I could be in a relationship with a woman that wasn’t strong. The wonderful thing about my wife is that she is also a very caring person who is always worrying and doing things for others. I think this trait causes folks that don’t know her to misjudge how mentally tough she can be in difficult situations.
After the UFC I gained a whole new level of respect for how mentally strong she is. A lot happened both to her and at home while I was gone. All of which she did not disclose to me out of concern that it would affect my ability to complete the UFC. All I had to do was worry about myself and paddle. She, on the other hand, had to worry about supporting me at the check points and dealing with all that was happening on the home front. For whatever reason, during the time I was away it seemed like all heck broke loose on the home front. I will not go into all the things but let’s just to say there was a second UFC taking place at the Whale home front. At each check point she would meet me with a smile, encouragement and assistance in helping me get ready for the next leg of the trip. All the while in her mind she was dealing with a bunch of issues and I never knew it. Sebastian is a good example of what I am talking about. She packed all the my stage boxes into the vehicle, got our two teenage boys off to school, drove across the state to meet me, picked up a bunch of fresh food for Rod and I for dinner, helped me repair my rudder in the dark with flying teeth (aka mosquitos and no-see-ums) having us as dinner, and helped me pack. Since we were several miles from a hotel, and it was very late into the night, I chose to sleep at the checkpoint on the ground. Oh poor me! She, on the other hand, instead of stopping at a hotel which is what I thought was going to happen, drove back across the state because she had to be home in the morning to deal with an issue. She was spending about the same amount of hours awake as I was. I will never forget coming into Cedar Key. Rod and I were still some distance from the shore but we could start seeing people walking along a road. Rod stated that he could not see anyone at the beach where we would land and was wondering if anyone would be there to greet us. Without hesitation I said, “Lisa will be there, I can guarantee that.” She was not only there, but was the first person to get on the beach to wave us in.
So how did I thank her? Of course there are both the private and public statements. There are the cards and flowers. There are the nice dinners out. And then there is that store with those little blue bags whose name is “TIFFANY.” Oh the emotions that little blue bag can bring on. Well this is what Lisa saw one morning when she went to get her coffee cup. She earned it big time. I feel pretty blessed to be able to share her space.