Its hard to believe that only two weeks ago I was a tightly wound ball of nerves, and stress threatened to kill all the fun of this weekend.  Think “deer in the headlights,” and that’s the direction I was headed.  But being the “seasoned veteran” that I am, I knew it was time to call in the support crew rather than sit there stewing.

I talked to a few key people who know how my brain works, people who know how to set me straight.  I revisited my sports psych notes, and wrote up some affirmations.  I talked to my family members and set the expectations where I wanted them.  My bomb husband made me feel like a queen.  I simplified my days to include only what was necessary work-wise, and anything else that made the schedule had to make me feel good.

But of all the people in the world, nobody pumps me up better than my Dad.  He is an unconditionally supportive, keep-it-real dude whose heart is ENORMOUS and whose metaphors are even crazier than mine.  I call my dad when I need someone to make me feel like a total bad ass.

When I was growing up, we had this saying in my family which I will refer to as “Hot Like 16,” but it doesn’t really have a name.  It came from my Dad, and it was only used to describe something ranging from “way cool, man” to “un-f-ing believable!”  How “hot” it was scored from a minimum of 6 (my mom’s yummy meatloaf) and could only get as high as 16 (the invention of Budweiser).  You never even bothered saying something was “hot like 2,” etc.  If it wasn’t at least a 6, it wasn’t hot.

The details are unimportant, unless you plan on spreading Fleshman family lingo around, but the point is, people in my family live for “Hot like 16” moments.  My sister just got one, for example, when she graduated from NYU Nursing school and landed a highly competitive job at UCLA Medical Center.  My dad would pop out of his bar stool with his thick strong hand poised for a burner high five and say, “Damn Lindsay!  You ah HOT like sixTEEN mo-fos!!!!!!” And she would visibly glow for days.

When we spoke on the phone about my race, my dad put me at ease with his open heart.  He reminded me that I had a lion’s heart, and that I needed to pull that sucker out and wear it on both sleeves (and rub it on my forehead for good measure) and kick some ass.

Winning to my dad means only one thing, and its not necessarily coming in first: its doing whatever you do with heart. And the beauty of that is, how much heart you put into something is within your control.  Winning in a more conventional sense is not.

So the jitters are long gone, and now I’m just excited to go out there and see what I can do on the day.  Compete.  Fight.  Be hot like 16.  Enjoy the fact that I am able to do what I love again. That alone is my greatest accomplishment of 2010, and will remain as such, no matter what happens tomorrow, or the rest of the summer.