The Courage To Attempt: Ironman Pocono Mountains
True stories from this weekend:
Triathletes have a lot of heart. You have to in order not to get intimidated by swimming, biking and running all on the same day.
Unless you’re under the age of 10, of course.
I spent my weekend with the world’s best training partner and 2,000 other athletes. We all gathered in the Pocono area of Pennsylvania for the inaugural Pocono Mountains 70.3 Ironman Competition.
What can I say about the race? The swim had been canceled 48 hours before we arrived because of dangerous conditions and the bike course is hillier than the Bear Mountain loops I had done over the summer and I never got to the run.
That’s right…never got to the run.
My bike chain housing had decided it had done enough at mile 40 and ‘snap’, it was not only down and out but the bike guys couldn’t repair it.
I have never seen the SAG vans at races and yesterday I rode in one with other athletes. When I heard my race number radioed in with “athlete #xx, DNF’, I started to sob. I tried to hold it in, but I couldn’t.
You see, I started training almost eight months ago and never let up. I think I gave up dates and time with friends and sleep. Oh, the sleep. The Delicious Sleep.
And to not be able to finish just made me so sad. Then I looked around at the other people in the SAG van with me and we were all there for similar reasons: Broken bikes. This competition felt a little like being on Survivor, minus the cameras.
I joked at the start of all of this training that I was entering a new lifestyle, but the truth is, I did. I cut off all of my hair, I changed my diet, I learned to go to sleep and, in the most amazing feat of ‘change’, I started to simply remove things from my life that were no longer working.
And it’s been so empowering and amazing and I am grateful to the Ironman Competition organizers for giving me a reason to focus my energies on important things.
My tri partner (the greatest tri partner in the world) finished strong and looked great with his medal. He gave me a big hug the day of the race, then found us another competition for the Spring of 2012.
That’s right….we do this again in eight months. Training for him starts in a few weeks. For me? Last night. And it felt great.
I do have to thank all of my friends and family for their love and support. Let’s play it again in a few months.