Thursday, November 20, 2008

To be or not to be... IRONMAN!

I've been wavering for two plus weeks about wanting to make an entry here about my upcoming adventure. It has been something of which I have personally wanted to tackle for a while, mostly from the perspective of I just simply wonder If I can do it.

My thinking was that initially I did not really want to advertise it to many people in the event I did not.. 'you know'... finish. But then I also realize that to take on such a big challenge requires not just an insane amount of training and preperation, but I really do genuinely want and need mental support from my friends and family. So with that bearing on my mind as I prepare the last bit of physical tasks of packing and tuning my bike, I decided to make something short and sweet to clear my head, so here goes:

Several months back (12 months to be precise) I had the unusual opportunity to sign up for (and actually felt ready) for a full Ironman sponsored event before it sold out. Signing up is always the moment when you cross over the gray matter to a commitment, especially a financial one this big. Let's just say that between the race registrations, equipment and lodging... several thousands of dollars were spent so you can bet your ass I'm gonna go and give it my all.

For those who have not figured it out or bothered to look it up, we are talking about 140.6 grueling miles of tears, sweat and other unmentionables. I will be 1 of approximately 2,000 athletes in Tempe Arizona on November 23, 2008 for the Ironman:

2.4 Miles of Swimming
112 Miles of Bicycling
26.2 Miles of Running

Nothing like waiting for the countdown to start before making my endeavor public but hey this is for me and it's what I need to do. I love the idea of taking on a new race distance that actually brings the butterflies back, and this race is certainly doing that for me even as I write this. The weird part about when I pick a new race, and of course it's usually some all day thing or very long distance, I can no longer get people to understand the commitment required. Which is no big deal and I'm not complaining, but it sometimes make the tangible thing were about to do a bit surreal to us as the competitor. When you can't explain the event then you know you've achieved something special. Of course I also have to realize that most of this event this weekend is made possible by the support or my incredibly tolerant, patient, and understanding wife... something that only another married endurance athlete can even begin to imagine. However something I'm going to admit here and which I do not take or admit to lightly is that it was incredibly important for me to have someone there, and Leslie (my Rock Lobster) will be there. I've also tried on several verbal conversations to my family, how really important this is to me and how much it means to me. Though I am bummed that they will not be there I know they are going to wish the best. To prevent motor mouth diarrhea I'm going to stop the soapbox here and move on.

Friends are also some of the most incredible and surprising allies at times of need. I had several friends who genuinely wanted to be present and help root me through this all day adventure. Unfortunately not by fault of their own most could not make it. However, we will have my good friend April to keep Leslie company during the day. April on a whim bought her plane ticket and said she would not miss it for anything. I'm always grateful to friends that get on bored for things like this and I can only hope that maybe I inspire someone else to get out there and challenges themselves like I am doing; " I <3 April ". I also could not even get to the starting line without my " Cinday Bear"... she is unwavering and has of recently become another inspiration person in my life with her dedication to fitness (oh yeah and having the great side effect of looking pretty HOT now also, way to go Cinday Bear). Someone else who I feel the need to mention that has been with me through literally every single difficult moment in my life has been Winslow W. Hall. It's a novels worth of words to get into about Wins, but again for brevity and to not spoil the plot of a someday book let me just tell you that he was the only person whom I have ever seen as not just a role model but a father figure as well. Winslow was my Scoutmaster when I joined the Boy Scouts of America at age 11. He saw and made it possible for me and Anthony to reach the high honors of Eagle Scout. Though Winslow is not with us anymore, he is forever inside of me and not a single achievement goes by in my life that I don't thank this man for making it possible. So Winslow wherever you are "Thanks".

So it's been about nine months of swimming, biking, running, paired with many early mornings, late nights, and sacrificed weekends, but this Sunday I think that no matter what I will at least know I did my best that one can do in nine months of preparation. It's going to be a personal adventure and one I am not taking lightly, which can be displayed by the amount of crap I'm packing. As much that the bragging rights for even starting this race the Ironman are going to be AWE.. (wait for it).. SOME! it's the personal crusade I'm on that will fill my heart and mind with overwhelming joy. We all have demons and 'funks' in our lives but we all need to find those things that give us joy, happiness, and a sense of belonging and accomplishment. My race on Sunday is going to provide that personal accomplishment for me no matter how far I make it. Since this is my first Ironman it's especially emotional and thought provoking. Honestly I am so anxious to fulfill this adventure that I truly think the finish line will be a life changing moment for me, and one that will stay with me forever.

What will the next adventure be?

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