There has been a lot of Ironman talk lately. I think mostly because it is the start of the season, but also a lot of the people I follow are triathletes training for a half or full ironman as well. So it feels like it is everywhere.
One person I follow posted a tweet last week about people “finding out” that she is training for an Ironman. At first I laughed, then I understood the slight frustration behind the tweet. Explaining to people why you are doing this is hard. And honestly? I get really frustrated and defensive when people start criticizing my choices. I don’t sit around telling people their choices are crazy, what makes them think they have a right to tell me mine are?
That being said, last week I did a lot of reflecting in general. I watched the 2012 IM Texas Full Circle , the 2011 Ironman Kona DVD (at the end of a 3 hour trainer session) and some other IM Texas course videos. Some inspired me and got me on the verge of tears, others just made me really think about why I am putting all of this time in.
So, why am I doing an Ironman?
The answer is a complicated one.
I want to know if I can do what seemed impossible. Ironmans are scary. It is 140.6 miles of testing your body, and more importantly, your mind. I never thought I could do a marathon, I’ve done 2. I never thought I could do a half ironman, I’ve done 2. I never thought I could complete an Ironman, and on May 18th I hope to cross that line and complete one.
I want to dedicate myself to the preparation. Nothing goes perfectly, there are holes in my schedule where workouts should have been completed. But I’m not (too) hung up on those. They don’t define my preparation. Yes, as the type-A list maker I am, it makes me sad those boxes aren’t marked completed, but things happen. Life gets in the way. And that is okay. It is how we deal with the things that get in the way that help define our journey. I am not letting those throw me off track. One day I got Dallas Stars tickets and I was really tired, so I took the tickets and enjoyed the game. This weekend, I was too sick to get off the couch so I scrapped my run. These are the ebbs and flows of training.
I want to find out what I am made of. You know what? I’ve seen some ugly things in myself during this process. When I don’t get enough sleep and food during a busy training week, I’m an irritable bitch. And that makes me sad. I don’t want to be that person. So I’m working on it. I also want to know what happens when I go into a dark place during a workout. That three hour trainer session on Saturday? Yeah, I rocked it. But that takes time. Last year I was struggling to handle an hour. I am training to be able to go into that ugly place during a race and fight my way back out of it.
I want to do it because I can. There are so many people out there who are unable to swim, bike or run due to injuries, accidents or just because they won’t. I want to because I can. I have a capable body that keeps me going long after I assumed it would quit. Then it bounces back stronger the next time I ask it to keep going. It is stronger and fitter than it ever has been and I want to reward it with a fun day of testing myself.
This is a basic list. And honestly? The reasons change day by day. I am inspired by the people around me and the stories I hear about those who win the Ironman, and those who fight to finish before midnight. They have earned the title Ironman through every inch they have asked their body to move them forward. I guess that is another reason, to keep moving forward.