I get asked this question a lot after I tell people the distance of Redman.
Usually I come up with some stupid answer in order to get out of that conversation, because I understand how daunting a task this seems, but as I am deep into the heavy miles of my training plan, I have had a lot of time to think about different things, and a lot of those times I think, "Why am I doing this? It's crazy!". So this post may ramble or it may drag on, but I have my 5 top reasons for doing Ironman.
- The Ultimate Test- Right now, I can not think of anything else that is going to test a 41 year old former athlete, physically and mentally like Ironman will. I
knowam pretty sure I can handle the physical part, but mentally am I tough enough to grind it out? Yes, I know it will hurt and I will be sore, but that is part of it. The two go hand in hand, either I can do it or I can't. Either I can make or I won't. Physical and Mental challenge.
- I Enjoy it- I really do like to swim/bike/run. I joked with my bride that I wanted "Ironman finisher" in my obituary when I die, but honestly, no one else is going to care if I finish one or not. No one that cares about is going to change their opinion of me because I could run far. For me, it is a time with no cell phones or emails, time for my thoughts and a way to fight off old age.
- To Be an Example- I want my kids to see that their father set a goal, and he worked his butt off to achieve it. I know my running has not trickled down to my kids yet, and it may never, but I know they know that dad is getting up and training before they ever got out of bed. I want them to know that in life, you have to be willing to get up early and work and sacrifice personal time to achieve a goal.
- The Finish Line- I have about 4 different versions of how I think the finish line might look like when I cross it and how I will react to it. I know my 1st marathon finish was extremely emotional for me, so I imagine this will be also. I know people say the last .2 of a 26.2 mile run is the hardest, but I think that .2 will be the sweetest! I always hated people saying "the race is the reward for all the training", but this is going to be epic when I hit that line.
- The Self Discovery- Now I don't mean to sound like some hippie loving tree hugger, but I think I have discovered a lot more about myself training for this than I would have if I weren't going for it. I have discovered a lot about myself, which may be another post coming up. I am mentally tougher than I though, but am I tough enough? I am more dedicated than I thought, I mean who gets up at 4:45 to get a run in before church?? I discovered I am also an early morning kind of guy! Who knew? I have learned that I can use these natural God gift abilities I still have to motivate others.
I could go on. I didn't mention the tattoo, or the finishers gear I could rock at local races. I didn't mention the fact that people think I eat a great diet (which I don't! Shhhhh) I didn't even mention the part about people automatically assuming I am a fast guy (which I am not, but I guess it is all relative). There are many reasons people take on challenges, some we can understand, others we can't. So basically, if I asked every racer on the course why they were doing it, I guarantee I'd get 100 different answers, and I think that is what makes this sport so great!!!