This picture is from The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championships 70.3. I just like that it has a great big long name. It’s me, Kelly B., and Pelee after the race at the banquet on the beach. We were right next to the ocean at a table in the sand.
Does it get any better than that?
I was thinking of comparisons the other day. Comparisons that we all make. Between one another in relationship to ourselves and our fitness. When Curt and I first met I used to go our on 50 mile rides with him and his buddies each weekend. I got my ass handed to me each time. I would get very angry because I was always getting dropped. I was working harder than all of them put together and their 50 miles rides were so easy for them. I would always wonder how much further, how much longer? Why was this taking forever?
A year later….. I completely fell in love with riding long.
The most magical things happened when I let go of comparing myself to Curt and the guys.The most amazing things happened to me when I let go of impatience, expectations, and all of that stuff that we carry in our bag of stuff. Or in yoga I like to call it our bag of shit.
Suddenly one day I was free. We were riding, my head was clear, my heart was into the ride. The hours passed so quickly and I swear to god when I finally looked around me…. I had dropped not only Curt but all of them. And they didn’t know what hit them.
I wasn’t sure what hit me exactly. I think that the moment we let go of things are the moments that we really take off.
And that’s how it is with the Ironman and the 70.3 distance. We can choose how we spend this training and we can choose how we spend race day. We can spend it bitter that we are working harder than someone and not as fast….. or we can let go of that, we can drop our bag of shit and we can truly ride in the moment. Enjoy the experience of riding. Of being out there. Of being with people or being alone.
Comparing ourselves is a waste of time. I won’t do it. I won’t give energy to others who do it. It’s a waste to be quite honest. The time you waste comparing yourself to other athletes could be better spent drinking a cup of HTFU and looking in the mirror.
Do you know what happened to me the exact moment I dropped my own bag of shit and I stopped trying to find the easy way and I stopped trying to dissect each and every piece. When I stepped back and took the whole picture as it was. When I stopped placing blame on power meters or numbers or this or that. Do you know what happened to me?
10:58.58 is what happened. I don’t mean that as “I am amazing I broke 11 hours!” (it was IMFL, come on!) I mean that as… things sometimes happen when you take away the elements of control, fight and break down your own brick walls. That’s what I mean.
With this sport there is no easy way. I like to think of the Ironman as a great big ball of energy that is right in front of me. You can’t go over it. You can’t go around it. You can’t go under it. You have to go through it. You might run a 2:32 marathon but if you get on your bike in March for the first time, the Ironman has plans for you that no coach can correct.
You might be Lance Armstrong on the bike but if you don’t put in the time or the miles the Ironman has different plans for you.
The Ironman doesn’t care about you. It does not care how much money you make, or money you don’t make. It doesn’t care your marathon PR or your Olympic distance placing at FLT in 2007. The Ironman doesn’t care how old, thin, fat or young you are.
The Ironman wants to make you cry. It wants to make you throw up. It wants to stir with your emotions and it wants to mess with your head. The Ironman loves the Type triple A person the most. It loves to mess with the people who believe they are most in control.
The Ironman is a great big giant mirror that you will stare into for upwards of 17 hours. There is no faking in the Ironman. There is no hiding. There is no running your way to anything. This race will rip you open and tear you up. No matter how fast you are.
And you’d better be comfortable with seeing the ugliest past of yourself. The weakest, whiniest and at the same time the strongest self you can be.
You have to walk through the fire to get to that finish line. Ironman finishing medals aren’t for everyone. And there is no easy way.
Except to go right through it.
Many of you have met my friend the Ironman. He and I have gone a few rounds. Some right, some wrong. Some so-so. I would be telling the truth when I say that the Ironman is one of my greatest friends.
He keeps me honest. He makes me work for it. He makes me yearn for it. He ignites the passion I have for what I do. He makes me stay real.
HTFU! And enjoy that sunshine!