I can’t really explain why I have a desire to complete a half Ironman race. It’s more of an emotional tug than a logical reason. Because if I sit back – I can’t see much logic to swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 m and then taking on a half marathon (13.1 m) all in the same day – with just a few minutes transition in between. Certainly there are many on my team who seem born to do this – I am not one of them.
I’m not playing the defeatist or the “woe is me” character in this story by any means, but I will say I am incredibly surprised to be sitting here in my kitchen, with sore legs from climbing and sweating and huffing through 30 miles of hills this morning on my road bike. On legs that were already a slight bit sore from yesterday’s 10 mile run on Clay Road. Surprised because this is not a lifestyle I grew up with or intended to jump into. Anything with the name Ironman was not something ordinary people talked about – never mind signed up for!
So when the idea of doing the 2011 Augusta race started floating around in my head – it seemed part ridiculous and part premature. But the thought wouldn’t go away. And then I went to the Florida Half Ironman at Disney to cheer fellow teammates on. The people I saw crossing the finish line were depleted. They were emotional. Their friends and families were emotional. Some were in pain. But they all did something that was truly extraordinary – they finished 70.3 miles! I was sold.
This vision flashed in my mind many times on Saturday as I completed one of my most satisfying runs ever. Mile 8.5 I picked up my pace. The endorphins kicked in as I looked over rows of incredibly dark green orange trees, caught a glimpse of the lake and waved at a field of cows. They didn’t wave back, but I didn’t care. I was on a runner’s high. And all I could think was I KNOW I CAN COMPLETE THIS RACE.
That feeling of confidence/self awareness/joy was a small, but truly significant moment. Why? Because that moment helped me finish that bike ride today. And that moment will get me back on those hills one morning this week. And that moment will keep me on track towards the goal. And every time I think, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” I’ll think back to that eighth mile on Clay Road; which, ironically enough, was big old mess!