Just got finished watching the World Championships.
About 2 weeks ago, when I was driving my car home from work, the temperature registered as 52 degrees on my dashboard. It was raining pretty hard, and also pretty windy. Unseasonably warm for Cleveland in December, and the wind reminded me that it was in fact, a fluke. It wasn't supposed to be 52 and raining. It wouldn't be for long.
Whenever I see 52 and raining, it takes me back to that day. The day that was also, in essence, a fluke. I remember the months of training...deliberately waiting until 1pm in July when it was a good 84 degrees or so to start my long run. "So I can be ready," I thought. Because it's always, always hot and humid in Madison.
Except when it wasn't.
I remember the emotions of that day: the profound disappointment, extreme pain, gratitude for my friends and family and their support, love for my most loyal fan Matt, fear of the unknown and of 5:30pm and of cutoffs, belief in myself, and utter, sheer joy when I crossed that line.
I remember this:
For me, Ironman is not a one-time event. I just know I'll be back there someday. I don't know where, exactly. And I definitely don't know when. But I can say with 100% certainty that it will not be anytime soon. For me, I just respect the race too much to do that. I know what I, personally, would need to do to get there, and I have no--and I really mean this--NO desire to sacrifice what I'd need to sacrifice at this moment to get to that start line...let alone the finish line again. Some can get by on a lot less training than I could, and that rocks. But for me to do it the way I'd want to do it, it would take a lot of major, major sacrificing. And I really, truly believe that about 90% of completing an Ironman is wanting to complete an Ironman.
But just knowing that I will get to that finish line again someday is pretty exciting.
And it might not be 52 degrees and raining again. Maybe this time it will be 90 degrees and humid. Or 65 and cloudless. Or whatever. Who cares? Because that's not really the point.
Ironman is about learning who you are and what you are made of.