Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ironman Thoughts

Less than four days to go.   I signed up for this race a year ago.  I can remember sitting in front of the computer, waiting for registration to open, and as soon as it did, rushing through in order to make sure I had a spot.

I remember setting up my countdown clock.  When it started, I had 140 days.
Then 99 days.
Then it was 30 days.

Now, in five days, I'll be nursing sore muscles, blisters (and in all likelihood, the worst sunburn I've ever gotten).  But I'll be an Ironman.

I remember seeing the picture on his office desk of my chief finishing the Canadian Ironman when he was my age.  I saw the picture for the first time in 2006.  I remember thinking, "I could do that."

It started with training for a marathon, and my love of endurance sports was born.

The road getting here has been difficult.  Mornings up early, evenings up late.  Training in 110 degree heat and 40 degree cold.  Hours spent inside on a trainer or treadmill. Not. Going. Anywhere.  Taking in the enormous library of knowledge that is triathlon, and finding out that much of it is highly individual.  Desperately trying to figure out how to get in the seemingly endless hours of training while figuring out how to take care of two kids, a marriage and a job.  Trying to rehab various injuries while keeping up the bulk of the training.  Learning what I can and can't eat during racing and training.  Gaining weight, losing weight.  And learning about myself during the process.

I go out Saturday with one real goal in mind.  I'm going to finish.  I have a few time goals in mind that I'd like to make, but I don't have any expectations because this is my first Ironman.

I've met some great people along the way.  I've learned something from all of them.  Most of them have been inspiring.  Some of them have trained and gone to their Ironman races and not finished, but they remain inspiring role models for us all.  They help those of us less experienced get to our goals.  Some of the people I've met have been newer in the sport, but no less inspiring as they achieve their own goals.  I've learned that triathlon is more a team sport than many others, even while we compete against each other.

I'd like to add one final thought - I found a portion of the quote below from someone else, then added to it to make my own.

Ironmen are not created at the finish line.  They are forged...  One mile at a time... One meter at a time...  Through hard work and tenacity.  Before they ever reach the starting line.  The race is only one hard final test that affirms: "I have done it.  I have learned to persevere through whatever has come, and I have learned to not give up until the goal is reached.  I have been tested and been found stronger than whatever was laid before me."

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