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I recently had the opportunity and great pleasure to help athletes through 11 Ironman finishes, with 6 of them being first timers.
Throughout the months of training, you try and describe to them what ironman is all about and what they can expect on their big day. Two things you can for sure count on; 1- it’s going to be a long day, and 2- expect the unexpected. It’s hard to explain or describe the freight train of emotions they are about to experience. So following their race and having a few days or weeks to reflect on their experience, I asked the question:”what does ironman mean to you”? They replied with the following —
Such as, you never know when the right time to “sign up for one” is. I mean, you talk about it a lot but pulling the trigger and going for it takes guts. Then, you “train” for about 9 months, you pay out the wazoo to get equipment and coaches or baby gear and doctors, you eat and sleep like no other and have justification, you need a whole new wardrobe, you can get away with being cranky because you either had a rough training day, or, because the baby is kicking your stomach like it’s Pele, you are constantly going to the bathroom because you are hydrating or the baby is using your bladder as a chew toy, you lay around for the last three weeks before the “event” because of taper or because you are too fat to put shoes on, you have one big day of crazy pain, the finish will probably be indescribable and the memories of pain will become nonexistent (causing you to stupidly think you could do it again), then you are not supposed to do anything physical for weeks so your body can recover.
Almost the same, except you will be fat and unable to sleep after a baby, however you can finally have that beer. You argue over the fact that “Matt Morrow and Chrissie Wellington” would be great names for children!
Ironman is a mental and physical ride you will never forget or take for granted. As far as sporting events, it will break you down to the lowest of lows and then reward you with the highest of highs. For those who think Ironman is not possible, all you need to do is go to an IM race and watch the final hour before the cutoff (11:00 pm – 12:00 am). It’s there you will quickly realize ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Once that seed is planted; well, you might as well sign up because your journey is about to begin!