It is just over a month away from Ironman Arizona, a race I prepared over a year and a half for.
I’m not going to participate. The real reason lies somewhere in between the following:
1) The Motivation.
I talked to quite a few athletes leading up to the decision to do the race, and almost every one, sprinters to marathoners, had a glimmer of ‘can I do that?’ in their eye. The distance is really daunting. The challenge was what got me to sign up, and I trained my ass off for it. Mid August I did a 70.3 Ironman (half the distance) and did pretty dang well. I’m a huge guy (6’5″ 240) so staying healthy / injury free is goal #1. I decided to do Crossfit for core training with weekend runs and rides. When I raced the 70.3, the swim, bike and run were the longest distances I had swam, biked and ran the whole year. I fell apart during the run, but overall had a fantastic race.
The next day, I wasn’t sore at all…
Then the challenge became just a matter of work. I knew I could do it.
With almost four months of training ahead of me, I needed more motivation. I did an unsupported trail marathon at altitude cementing my training was solid.
2) Ironman the company.
I’ve received ‘congratulations on finishing’ emails for five races I’ve never participated in or signed up for. The medal I received for finishing the Boulder 70.3 noted the distances for the Swim, Bike and Swim. The day of race checkin was when it was announced that there was no Clydesdale (big guy) division.
To say the organization is a shit show is a complement. I’ve never dealt with a more unorganized, elitist, controlling, and heartless company.
I’m sorry I ever supported them with a single $. There is a love of sport somewhere in there, past the beating of chests and counting of money.
3) The Sport.
Turns out I am really not interested in the sport of triathlon. I enjoy the endurance challenges, but don’t find a love of the transition and
4) The Timing.
I’m sitting on a beach in Colombia now. I would be in Boulder training my ass off for the race in November. This is because you have to sign up for the races a year in advance, and have zero (none, no way jose) way to transfer or postpone your race. My job changed, I had the opportunity to take off, so I did. This means no Ironman to me, but I am sure I would have raced it if I had a job I hated in a situation I couldn’t control.
5) The People.
That last sentence is a jab, sorry folks. Training rides and runs meant that I would meet about 10 athletes a week, and got to ask them all about what motivated them and why they were there. There are some amazing people that challenge themselves with distances such as the IM, but you really run into some people that are screaming for professional help, hoping that society doesn’t notice their poor relationships with family, body and love. Found this very disturbing, and have talked at great length on how far or close I was to what I feared about this.
6) The Sign.
Lake Tempe’s damn blew up. To me, that was the massive sign that I should listen to my gut and get away.
Am I regretting not being there with many friends competing for life long bragging rights? You bet.
I’m not in a way though. I don’t need to do something to brag or to show my toughness.
That peak doesn’t need bagging, and if someday it does I’ll leave the camera alone and watch the sunrise from darkness to full rays with a smile and a plan for what adventure lies next.