Last Monday, I took the plunge and committed to what will be the most intense training regimen in my short and recreational endurance sport career.
I signed up for an Ironman triathlon next July in Lake Placid, NY. Ever since I supported my significant other in his first ironman triathlon in 2012 (also Lake Placid), Ironman has been in the back of my mind as a “someday, maybe, if I really get my sh*t together” goal… dream.
A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run in less than 17 hours. It’s huge. And it scares me. Training will be physically taxing, emotionally demanding, and time consuming. Ironman is also incredibly inspiring. Along the course, you see people pushing themselves beyond their perceived limits, doing something that they never thought possible just a few months prior, and carefully managing their energy so they can finish / beat their past time / qualify for Kona. You see them struggling, smiling as they pass their fans, sweating, managing their energy, puking… they say to wear black shorts, just in case. You see it all.
Online sign up opened at noon on Monday. I wondered if I should just put it out of my head until a “better time”. I don’t want to miss hanging out with my kids, who are 16 months old now, so fun and changing so fast. If I’ve learned anything from going back to work, I’m a better mom when I have more than one ball in the air, so to speak. And my significant other could not be more supportive, which is amazing. He’s pretty awesome. So with butterflies in my stomach and a knot in my throat, I clicked ‘submit’ and paid my entry fee. This is happening.
I remember, as a kid, the first time I heard about Kona, which is the Ironman Championship, where all the fastest iron distance triathletes compete. I actually remember where I was, in living room of the house I grew up in, and I remember trying to fathom what an endeavor like that might feel like. I had no point of reference. I concluded that people who do ironman must have some sort of super powers. I put them in the “crazy” category, “crazy awesome” but still cray. The fact that I just signed up for an Ironman is just absurd to me.
The other thing that is “major” about this is that I’m owning it. I’m telling everyone who will listen about my intention to complete Ironman Lake Placid. Historically, I would sign up for races and keep things very hush-hush. If I was going to fail, I would do it privately because I didn’t want to have to explain myself to others, nor did I want them to think less of me for failing to reach a personal goal. This behavior is so ingrained in me. I didn’t walk until I was 18 months old and when I did walk, I walked perfectly. I hate failing (don’t we all?).
Not anymore. I’m [getting] over that. Life is too short. There is big risk of failure here. I could have a hard time balancing working full-time, mothering twins and ironman training. I could get injured during training or have trouble on race day. Anything can happen. And I’m ok with that. I am finally secure enough that the possibility at failing does not shake me to my core.
A good reminder from Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
*gulp* here I go!