I have this memory. I don’t think I was yet a teenager. It was just another boring weekend. Weather was awful and I was stuck indoors with very little on TV. I stumbled across “Wide World of Sports”. They were featuring this day-long endurance event in Hawaii. It was insane. Swimming, running, biking for hours at a time.
I have a few clear recollections of that afternoon. First, my mom had just baked chocolate chip cookies…and I was gorging myself on them (yes, I was already getting heavy). Second, I thought that these athletes were all lunatics. And third, the name of the event was “Ironman”. For some reason, that left an impression. It was filed away at the back of my brain. Something I could never do, and would never want to do.
Decades later, I had just lost 50 pounds. I was running and had completed a marathon. I had decided to try triathlon, and had completed an Olympic distance. I thought I could push myself a little further.
A local triathlon had partnered with Tristar Triathlons to bring the first Tristar 111 event to the United States. It was 1 km swim, 100 km bike, and 10 km run. I signed up for this as my next challenge.
Around that point, I came across someone who had completed an “Ironman 70.3”. I was intrigued and did some research. It was half of the normal Ironman distance, and pretty similar to the 111 that I just signed up for. After a bit more research, I decided that I could possibly do this. I could actually earn a medal with the word “Ironman” on it. Chills went up my spine at the thought..
Then, I got the e-mail. Tristar 111 was canceled. I was very disappointed since this was my stepping stone to Ironman.
The situation nagged at me. I wanted an Ironman medal. Just one. Even if it had “70.3” on it. I needed to find another stepping stone event.
Or did I?
Why not just go for it?
Steelhead was coming up. With my training for Tristar 111 already underway, I thought I could be ready. I was plagued with doubts and was second guessing my sanity. But the allure was overwhelming. I hit “register”
A lot of emotions went through me in the weeks leading up to the event and on race day. But, at the end of the day, I had it around my neck. “Ironman 70.3 Steelhead Finisher”
I had done it. I had done what I thought was impossible. It was very gratifying…almost.
I wanted a medal. I wanted an Ironman medal. And I had succeeded.
But now, I want it without the “70.3”. Flashback to the couch, the cookies, and Wide World of Sports. Maybe they are all crazy. Maybe I am too.
But I finally understood the allure. I understood the passion. I understood the “why”.
A seed was unknowingly planted on that couch while eating those cookies. A seed that took some 30 years to bloom. But bloom it did. And the journey continues…