Monday, October 4, 2010

Ironman? Yea... No.

I'm saying this now in hopes that I never look back and think about how 'cute' it was that I used to think this way. I'm also saying this now in hopes that it will forever be true. And I'm mainly saying it now because in order for it to happen, I need to say (blog) it out loud.

I will never ever do an Ironman.



Hear that universe? Never.

That should be a pretty simple thing to avoid, right? Becoming an Ironman? Because it's not like you just one day decide, oh hey, today I think I'll swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then just cap all that off with a marathon.

That doesn't happen. It CAN't happen. Not without a lot of thinking and planning and training and thinking and training and training. Oh, and LOTS of training.

So why do I have this fear that I might someday find myself in a sea of latex wetsuits, treading water while I wait for a canon to go off and travel 140.6 miles just to hear some dude I don't know call me an Ironman?

Because I've witnessed it first-hand.

That Ironman crap is more contagious than a yawn.

I've seen perfectly sane friends of mine get glazed over eyes when even just the word Ironman is mentioned (even if someone across the room is talking about the movie). I've seen how their eyes scan to find that little 140.6 bumper sticker at races. And forget it if they see that little M-dot tattoo on someone else's leg. You can't even talk to them if one of those things pops out!

And if you're not familiar with that little M-dot thingy, here's what it looks like inked onto a limb.

Full disclosure here - I HATE tattoos. If you want to doodle on yourself, use a cheap pen. And then when it washes away, you get to do it all over again! It's like ENDLESS fun!

I really should be more forgiving of the M-dot because I have friends who have them and I have to say - some of the ones I've seen are very cool. And I guess on people that I like, I don't mind tattoos. I forgive them because they have other redeeming qualities that make up for their complete lack of sense on the tattoo issue.

I will now step off my tattoo soap box before I find myself with 5 less friends. (I love you guys! and you're all very pretty! with excellent hygiene! and clean fingernails!)
... oh man, am I in a hole.....

Anyway - my original point is that Ironman is intoxicating. It has a lure, a siren song that is impossible to resist. Once you hear it, you can't look away, you can't resist the call, you have to follow the light.

Luckily, it appears that I'm partially deaf because I've never heard it call to me. Maybe it got the wrong number? I'm probably just unlisted.

I don't get it. And I sincerely doubt I ever will.

Next year I will know about 20 people, good friends, that are signed up for Ironman Wisconsin. (IMOO11) I will follow them around like a sherpa on race day and I will cheer my brains out for them throughout their Ironman journey. I will be at the swim start, holding my breath as the canon goes off. I will be running alongside them, screaming encouragement as they plod up the killer hills. I will be waiting for them at the start of the marathon to yell completely obnoxious things like "almost done! just a little marathon to finish!" and I will be at the finish line, probably crying my eyes out as the cross the line, hear their name called out and collapse into a catcher's arms. Because I will know how much they put into that day and how important it was for them to finish and have the ability to say "I Am An Ironman" ....

But at no point during the day will I wish I was them.

Because don't get me wrong, I don't hate Ironman. Quite the opposite. I LOVE it. I love everything about it. I love the inspirational stories, I love the fluff pieces NBC produces when it airs the world championships, I love watching, I love reading training logs, I love watching "What it takes", I love the stories of triumph over the impossible. It's just all so..... ummm... inspiring! I mean, truly - it's inspiring.

But I love Ironman for other people. For myself - I don't understand what would motivate a person to sign up .... I'm certainly glad there's some sort of answer to that question because god knows, Ironman stuff keeps me quite entertained! So thank you ironman completers of the world for suffering endless hours in order to provide me several moments of amusement. A tip of the hat. Or perhaps, a tip of the swim cap.

When I did my first triathlon and had such a terrible experience, everyone kidded me that I'd be back for more and that I was probably hooked. And they were right! It was an amazing challenge and I did come back for more!

And they all said the same thing about going to an Ironman. That I would catch the bug and find myself thinking more and more about it. And that I'd eventually be signing up.

Well, I've now survived two viewings of IMoo and I'm happy to say that not a single bug bit me. I harvest no morsel of a thought nugget that I would want to do it someday. And if I can survive two mass swim starts without a trace of the goosebumps... well, I think I'm good. Everyone around me got chills and a little teary when the canons went off and the swimmers started to head off on their journey. I'll admit - it IS a very dramatic scene .... but really .... I just got a little nauseous at the idea of swimming in everyone's pee.

Because ya KNOW that's what they're doing in their wetsuits to stay warm.

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