Thursday, June 07, 2007

What is Ironman, to me?

I started training for triathlons about a year ago. I was depressed, out of shape, lonely, and burned out. The past year has been all about Ironman. But what has that meant to me?

It has meant a lot of really early mornings and a lot of early nights. A lot of laps of the pool, a lot of miles on the treadmill, a lot of spins on the bike.

It has been about doing a workout when I'm tired, never ending early, never cashing it in.

It's about making a commitment and never even considering backing out on it

It's about facing my fears

It is finding a passion in life so deep that I can wake up at 4:45am 3 days per week with a big smile on my face; that I can't even remember what life was like before, and never want to imagine a life without it

But more than all the other things. More than the hours of training, the injuries, the race, Ironman to me is about people. It's about the dozens of friends I've made in the past year. It's about what they have taught me about life.

It's about the Blogger community that is always there to pick up the spirits of someone who is down, and give huge smiles and congrats when someone achieves something grand.

It is about the Cleveland triathlon club , full of members who are more than willing to give up their time to help one another and to spread their passion for the sport

It's about Jen, who is training for an Ironman and still takes the time to organize events in Cleveland for newbie triathletes

It's about Janet, who drove 45 minutes on countless Saturdays to sit on a trainer with me for 2-4 hours in the middle of winter and then bundle up to hit the cold streets for a run

It's about Paulo, Jonathan, Miranda, and my parents who are all giving up their own time and money to come to Idaho in 2 weeks so that I have friendly faces on the race course and people to give nasty sweaty hugs to after the race

It's about Lanny who gave up countless hours on morning and weekends to help me through workouts. Who passed up the normal masters sets to do 1000's with me; who organized my long workouts so I never had to go it alone; who is having a wonderful good-bye dinner for me with 2 other of my wonderful friends, Tony and Craig, who have sacrificed so much of their time to help me out

Ironman is about growth. Not growth in VO2 max, or speed (or pounds!). But it's about growth as a person. One year ago, would I have given my time to help out someone new in the sport? Would I sacrifice my workout so that someone else could grow and improve? I don't know. Would I do it now? Absolutely.

In the past year I have learned a lot about myself, but more about what I want to be. The people I have met in Cleveland, at camp, in the blogger community, and on Slowtwitch have really made such a huge impression on me. I have never in my life been so proud to call a group of people my friends. I can't begin to thank all of you, but if you're reading this, you're probably one of them

So when I go into the race in just over 2 weeks, it's still not going to be about numbers. It will be a celebration of a year of change, a year of challenge, a year of new friendships. It will be a day of camaraderie with other people who have had their own Ironman journeys. It won't be about 12 or 13 or 15 hours of suffering. It will be about a day of joy. A day of embracing health and happiness. I haven't trained my butt off all year to qualify for Kona. I trained my ass off so that I can have a day that is really special. So that I can have a great story to tell. So that crossing the finish line can be the most amazing moment of my life. And through my exhilaration, honor all the people who have sacrificed to get me there.


Paris said...

I'm free!

Duane said...

Jodi, it's been fun reading your blog the last 6 months. Good luck, have fun and kick butt!

Wes said...

Yea... wish I could be there. It's not all one sided now, is it? :-)

Felipe Bastos said...

Good luck at Coeur D'Alene!

Mallie said...

Wonderful post, Jodi. Your fantastic attitude and awesome training practices will stand you in good stead at your race. I'll be reading along, breathless with anticipation.

Ken Schulz said...

Well said!

JenC said...

You're a sweetie and apparently taper is making you sappy. Just kidding! : )

You have been a wonderful addition to my life. I look forward to seeing you accomplish this goal that you've strived for this year! Rock it buddy!

DaisyDuc said...

Aghh, you are really such a doll!!!

The last year of meeting so many very special friends and training partners has really been such a truly rewarding experience! Definitely loving every minute of it!

I am so excited for you to achieve your Ironman goals and I will be cheering like crazy for ya back here in Ohio!!!

TriSaraTops said...

Have a Happy IronDay! You know Janet and I will be glued to Ironmanlive all day rooting you on. :)

TriSonq said...

I won't be there in person, but like TST, I'll be tracking you online.

You're the one who got me to start all this blogging, so I definitely will be cheering for you!

Kick bootay, JT!

Anonymous said...

I was reading this book called "Mental Training for Triathletes". It has a chapter about Ironman and a good part of it is dedicated to why people want or should or shouldn't do an Ironman. It highlights a lot of reasons for not doing it, several false delusions that many have about it. The benefits part is much slimmer . It just narrows down to PEOPLE. I couldn't really understand what it meant as I haven't done an Ironman yet, until I read this entry in your blog. I think you are an instance of a person who is doing it for a right reason.
Good luck

erichollins said...

I have a favor to ask of you. Go to all the people that you mentioned in this post that have "sacrificed" something. I guarantee you that if you go all of them and asked if they made any sacrifices to help you out, they would resoundedly say no.

E-Speed said...

I'm so excited for you! You have definitely earned a wonderful day!