As I sit here on my comfortable couch, the blanket taking off the extra chill the furnace can't resolve, I think about how strong my desire is to complete an Ironman. I then think about my last tri and wonder if I shouldn't reconsider...
Cue flashback music.
Her feet were moving her forward. The heat was holding her back. It was a complete physiological tug of war and she was loving and hating every minute of it.
The swim and bike were now behind her. She'd been last out of the water, passed no one on the bike and would - without a doubt - not be gaining enough on the run to make a good placing. But that wasn't the point.
At least she looked like she belonged, though, having bought a tri suit a few days before that she thought made her look like a superhero. It was a disguise to hide her lack of credibility, one that might buy her time until it would be her endurance and speed that could earn her respect in the sport.
In the middle of her run, she found herself thinking, "This is so brutal. Maybe I'll just be that triathlete who races Sprints the rest of her life. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do. No longer races than this for me."
End flashback music.
It's so easy to say to yourself when you're not racing, "Yup, I'm going to do an Ironman in the next couple years. Yup, that's what I'm going to do. Yes, sir." But when you're in the middle of a race, you really do have a different perspective on your abilities.
However, I think it is this cognitive dissonance between our dream and our current abilities that makes triathlon so unusual - and so lovable.
It is that gap that we must bridge, spending our days swallowing water, making out with pavement and twisting our ankles on that gnarly tree root on the trail so that we can cross the finish line about which we'd only been dreaming.
So, I'm going to continue to dream. I'm going to continue to train so that the dream dies - but only because it has been replaced by reality.