Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Holy cow, this is actually happening - see you at Ironman Hawaii this Sat!
...Holy Cow, this is really happening. I'm going to toe the line at the Ironman World Championships this Saturday. WAAAAAAAAA-HOOOOOO!!!!!
You would think the reality of this would have kicked in little earlier. Like when I was lucky enough to win the lottery slot in March after 12 years of trying...or perhaps when I confirmed the entry by finishing the Pacific Crest Triathlon (half Ironman) in June...or maybe on one of the multitude of two-a-day workouts clocked since July to get ready. Nope. It hit today, randomly around 1pm with some automated e-mail from United. And in an instant I am worthless at work, sleepless at night, and as giddy as a school girl with front row seats to Justin Bieber*. Boy, this event has got my goat in a big way.
But why? Isn't it just another race?
I guess so. Then why I am so worked up? The distance isn't a problem. There's nothing quite like a 100-miler to set your perspective on an Ironman. Hell, you don't even have to pack a headlight for the Ironman, and odds are you will make it home for dinner. And I get to SIT DOWN for half of it, thanks to that bike portion. A 100-mile run is Crazyland compared to a midnight cutoff of an Ironman. Anyone who has seen two sunrises in the same run (like moi) knows all about that.
Maybe I'm freaking out to honor the scarifice of the training? I have to say, I have a whole new respect for the athletes who have adopted the Ironman lifestyle. The sheer discipline required to keep a decent aerobic base in all three sports is extraordinary, often in excess of 20 hours a week, and I don't think I even came close to what you would need to do to be a age group contender. I flirted with overtraining regularly, occasionally too tired to sleep, and on more than one occasion sleeping only to dream of training. In one case, I even dream-swam right off the side of the bed, grabbing my alarm clock with proper high elbow efficiency, and pulling myself onto our very surprised sleeping dogs. The two-a-day ritual did nothing short of consume me, leaving only the consolation of the morphing specimen in the mirror that replaced my usually rail-thin runner physique with a bizarro-twin smuggling a washboard up front, a manta ray on the back, and a couple of grapefruits where my protruding shoulder bones used to be (all of which are thinly veiled by the silk-thin skin unable to compete with the 5,000 calorie days). If my eyelids weren't at half mast at all times, I might be impressed.
Honestly, I know the truth of why I have the butterflies. A professional marketer knows when they have bought a story hook, line, and sinker, and I have it bad. I've been watching this event for years, and I know all the lingo, all the characters, all the history, etc., polished like only the Emmy-award winning staff from NBC can do. I can recount every race over the last 10 years. It many ways the Ironman defined endurance sports to me long before I could run a single mile. It's a Bucket List race for sure.
So I'm excited to be a part of it. I'm thrilled to participate in an event where you can toe the line with the best in the sport, much like ultrarunning allows us to do. There's no doubt I will buy enough shwag to last a lifetime, just like my first trip to Western States. And I couldn't be more pleased to have my family there to cheer me on, scrape me up at the finish, and be a part of the whole experience.
So with that, I sign off and head for the big island. If you are not already running the Fire Trails 50 or some other cool event, you can follow my progress at http://kona.ironmanlive.com/. Expect a manatee-like swim, a decent bike, and hopefully, some legs left at the end. Want to come to Ironman in 2011? The lottery just opened!
And of course, as many pictures as I can take!
* For those who don't know, this pre-teen mop-head is like, the next like, Justin Timberlake, chy'a. Every time I see his angelic mug and hairless frame, I wonder if this is what our grandparents thought when they saw The Beatles. Only with no songwriting skills.