Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time for Sap

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 I'm going to continue to train so that the dream dies - but only because it has been replaced by reality.

9 comments:

Debbie said...

What are you doing sitting on your couch under a blanket when you could be out there training?!? Just kidding, of course. There's no reason you can't finish an Ironman, and you will look really cute in that tri suit in your finish line pictures.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

At least she looked like she belonged (of course you belonged, you were out there), though, having bought a tri suit a few days before that she thought made her look like a superhero (everyone desires to be a superhero, you were able to go out and be one). It was a disguise to hide her lack of credibility (no disguise at all, you credibility showed you were going to be a triathlete, the hours of sweat and agony built into this one feat, far more credibility then all that dont even have the guts to attempt it), one that bought her time until it would be her endurance and speed that might earn her respect in the sport (you have the respect of the sport, once you crossed that finish line, you were a triathlete, not everyone can say that about themselves).

AND one day you will hear Mike Reilly say, "You are an Ironman." Which brings bragging rights for life.

Kelly said...

I think at least half the battle of any triathlon is the deciding to do it! You've done that already, you are half way there!!

LKA said...

Debbie, you joke but it's so true! Ha ha.

Scott, I'm actually not as hard on myself as this post implies. Last year I didn't even know who Mike Reilly was. Now, I can't wait to "meet" him.

Kelly, so very true.

Thanks for stopping by, guys!

MadisonDuo said...

I think you need to keep dreaming. Our motto is 'Always Dream Big!' Both my husband and I did dream and we finished two Ironmans. I am going at it again in 2010. Took this year off to rest the mind and body. I call it the 'year of surgeries.'

I had ever raced anything over an Olympic distance tri or a 10k running event when I signed up for Ironman WI. I just commmitted to the training, the miles in the pool, on the bike, and in my running shoes. Race day came and my dream came true.

Race day for an IM is tough, but the year long training schedule to get to that one day is more difficult than the race. You can finish an IM if you put in the time, the hard work, and dedicate a year of your life to that one dream.

And it is worth it...when you hear Mike Riley's voice yell, 'You are an Ironman.' It truly is an amazing experience!

I say go for it! :)

LKA said...

Hey, Madison! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing. That's a great story about just going for the IM. This really is a crazy sport we're in. :)

Which IM are you doing?

L said...

Lora-- Love your "new" blog. You really are a good writer. And, I am so looking forward to following your IM journey.

MadisonDuo said...

We are not signed up for 2009, as we did IM Wisconsin in 2007 and in 2008. Taking a year off, then hit it hard again in 2010.

This year is all about the biking for us. We are looking at doing a 560+ ride - granted we have 6 or 7 days to ride, but hopefully it will help me get just a little faster.

Which IM would you consider or which one do you want to do?

Looking forward to reading about your journey :) Jen

LKA said...

Jen: I think doing long swims, bikes and runs instead of a few smaller tris is a great way to train. I'm looking at IM Louisville. It's only a couple hours from here so I think that makes the most sense.

L: Thanks for stopping by!

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