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Worth it

January 21, 2013

Thank you Adam Peruta (Ultra Adam) for the update to the header. It’s perfect. check out his website right here!

What’s that saying…. no one said it would be easy….. but they said it would be worth it? Yes. Welcome. Welcome back to my life Ironman.

Ironman and I have a tumultuous history together. I have nailed this distance a few times. I have bombed it a few times. I have barfed through races and I race best when it is hailing. Yes…. hailing. I was once carried off an Ironman course in an ambulance. When Ironman and I are on…. we are on. When we are off….. good god we are off. We lack a steady and stable relationship, reflected in how many times I have walked away from 140.6 miles only to find myself camping overnight again for a spot. Just like someone does for a concert. You can’t imagine how many people I have met sleeping on the ground in an overnight line for the Ironman.

Ironman and I need a good dose of Dr. Phil.

My heart has to be in this for the long haul and this season… it is. Long rides are coming easily. My running is coming around. I am a swimmer so I can save that for a bit but man….. that ache in my legs and fog in my head …. as crazy as it sounds nothing…. nothing feels better than this. You feel shelled yet like the fitness is returning. Bit by bit, muscle fiber my muscle fiber. I see the word Ironman and my heart rate speeds up.

I am starting to stare at that black tape I have on the floor. You know. That tape.

The line

I know I am beginning to feel ready when I place my toes behind that line and I feel the fire. I feel the rev of the engine. I feel the hunger. I feel the desire.

I want to feel what it is like to turn myself inside out, dig the deepest I ever have and stand toe to toe with the biggest competitor I will ever have.

Myself.

There is always the chance it won’t go 100% according to plan. That’s the hard part. All of this time. All of this focus. It could add up to be nothing. That’s a chance I am willing to take. Win, lose or draw there is something for me to do out there and to learn out there. Even after all of these years.

Jesse always talks about athletes as having a “gremlin” or an ax to grind. Some athletes with a storied background find themselves excelling because of the feelings and emotions that come from that background. That’s not true for all, but it is true for some. The idea of the happy gremlin makes me laugh. I have a  billion of them.

I have a billion happy gremlins and with them an ax to grind. Against no one. Against circumstance, happenstance, luck. When I get into that place in a race it’s my way to fight back. My way to face all of it. My way to feel 100% bare naked and then I am not only toe to toe with myself but I am toe to toe with live through this. It’s my way to be as raw as I can possibly be.

Sport does that for me. I don’t even really know what that is.

I am not afraid to fail. And I am not afraid to succeed. Rather than the outcome I connect with the process. The early mornings, the weigh ins. The rain-snow-hail-wind. I don’t call it sacrifice I call it the privilege to be able to commit. No one’s life will be any different because of what I chose to race. My life will always be forever enriched though from the experiences that I get to have through this sport of mine. Finish lines capture chapters of my life. They bookend memories for me. Memories of the process.

The other morning I was running through the streets, well before 6am and my strength session with Steve. The wind was howling. Branches were falling all over the place. It was spooky yet at the same time I felt so safe. I was alone on those streets but I wasn’t alone. I felt like a had a thousand guardian angels looking after me. I love the feeling of getting after it before the rest of the world has the chance to open their eyes. I love the feeling of being in the gym an hour before it opens. No one else around, just focusing on the task at hand. Nothing but net as I like to say.

I love that feeling of walking out of there knowing what I have behind me. Looking ahead and knowing that whatever the day may bring is no match for what I have already done. Another bale of hay in the barn. Another deposit.

Ironman and I have been a few rounds. Seven, maybe eight. When we are on…. we are on. When we are off we are way off. I never know what will happen, but I am dedicated to the process. For this one I am in hook, line and sinker.

It’s almost time to race. Every day I stand behind that line and I close my eyes. I picture the starting line and if I focus, really focus I can hear that gun sound.

BOOM!

And off I run into the water.

No one ever said this was going to be easy. This isn’t my first rodeo and it won’t be my last. I can confirm though…. that it is worth it. Hands down.

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