Well, here I am, less than three weeks away from Ironman St. George. As odd as it may sound, training has blown by. It honestly does seem like just yesterday that I got the crazy idea in my head and began a loosely structured training plan. When I told others that I was doing the race, I was met with a range of reactions and comments. The one that sticks out most to me is that of my mother. She finds it difficult to understand why her baby boy would want to do such a tortuous, crazy activity, an activity that has the potential to injure or harm its participants in many ways. The marathon stressed her enough; I can only imagine what the Ironman is doing to her psyche. This post is my letter of explanation to her as to why I must do this race.
As long as you have known me, I have always been one to go against the grain. Whether it is against the rules you and Dad had set, or just the popularly held belief, I have fought it. It is the nature of who I am. My greatest fear is to live a life that is simply “normal”. I want to live a life in which people are fascinated by my accomplishments and experiences. In order to do so, I have slowly been progressing along a road that takes me to events that only a small population of the world has been capable of doing. The ultimate goal is to find something where I am the only human capable of a certain feat. For now, the Ironman suffices. Only .003% of the world’s population races the Ironman each year.
I think on a certain level we would all like to be a superhero of sorts in our own lives. When you think of all the classic superhero stories, the hero must enter the depths of absolute darkness and find a way to overcome it. Ironman provides the perfect set for this scene. Each and every athlete that attempts the Ironman will go through pain. Doubt will creep into the mind and make the athlete ponder why they are even out there. Each and every muscle within the body will scream out in agony at some point during the race. Pain is just a means of seeing how strong one is mentally. Once you challenge yourself to finish an Ironman, there is nothing you cannot do. You learn how to become your own superhero.
Mom, the video in this post captures exactly why I will be racing the Ironman: “In a perfect world, we would all have a goal or a dream and a way to play it out. We would all have a moment when we emerge from the darkness with the joy of the world on our face. When we see the light knowing that it’s up to you and only you. When in the night of the unknown, there is a way.” I absolutely need to have an experience like this. Listening to the video gives me chills every time I play it as these words are spoken.
I will go to St. George as a continuation of my search for whatever it is I’m looking for. I’m not really sure of what it is, but it is in this race. I’ll find it in the red rock formations, the crystal clear water of Sand Hollow Lake, and in my own sweat and tears as I conquer the 140.6 miles. You can be sure that as I am approaching those last 40 meters, the joy of the world will most certainly be on my face as the announcer screams “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”. It will be a mix of tears and smiles as I complete the greatest journey of my life thus far. Though you may not quite understand, you have told me many times before that “a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child”. Based on that, there is not much more a mother can ask for than to see the joy of the world on her child’s face.
Always In Stride,
P.S. I apologize for missing last week and having to rush out my recent posts without the highest quality. Things are hectic right now but will hopefully be slowing a tad after the race!
Quote – “If it’s really going to matter, it may be something that no one understands except you.” – Ironman Video
Video – Ironman Light of the World Video