The training pushes you out of your physical and mental comfort zones and into the realm of doing things you might have once thought impossible.
There’s a quote that comes from the movie A League of Their Own where the coach (played by Tom Hanks) says, “Of course it’s hard… It’s supposed to be hard… If it were easy everybody would do it… Hard is what makes it great!”
But sometimes, even though we understand and we embrace that it is supposed to be hard, we piss, whine, moan about how awful it is – how excruciating it is – how badly it hurts – that we just CAN’T.
Even the most diehard athletes feel the need to complain about the rigors of their training programs and the sadistic tendencies of their coaches every once in a while.
And while I am hardly an elite athlete, I have big – HUGE – goals that require me to continually press back the borders of my comfort zone and do things in a new or different way, or go longer, farther, faster, etc. than I am comfortable with.
And my REAL training hasn’t even started yet! Training for an Ironman triathlon is no joke. It’s no small commitment of time, energy, money, blood, sweat, tears and the sacrifice required isn’t just mine. My family will sacrifice as well. I will inconvenience them over and over and over again once REAL training starts after my blackbelt test in July so that I can workout twice per day and race shorter distances. My life will revolve around swim-bike-run for 16 months.
When I started mouthing off about doing Ironman Florida in 2015, I only barely considered what that would mean. How selfish I would have to become with my time. That it wouldn’t just affect me – it would affect my entire family, my relationship with Deb, my business – everything about my life.
I am so fortunate to have the love and complete support of my partner and my son – they are behind me 100%, but I can’t help think how they will feel come September 2015 when I am running and biking hundreds of miles per month and swimming so much my skin is perpetually “pruny.”
I think to make it bearable for all of us, I will need to keep the proper perspective on what I am doing.
I look at stories of people who have completed Ironman triathlons who are so much worse off than I am in some way or another. I have a body that works pretty darned well – it may be slow, but it is intact – there are so many Ironmen/women out there who don’t – can you even imagine swim-bike-running 140.6 miles with no legs? I cannot!
My favorite Ironman story so far is the story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. Rick has cerebral palsy and is a spastic quadriplegic. His parents have fought for inclusion and normalcy for Rick all his life! When Rick was young he told his Dad that he wanted to run a 5 mile race to benefit a paralyzed Lacrosse player. So Dick pushed his son in his wheelchair the 5 miles.
Rick told his father that when he ran he didn’t feel handicapped…
And so they ran, and they biked, and they swam…
Rick and Dick Hoyt have completed over 1,000 races together, including 6 Ironman triathlons!!
In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage).
Can you even imagine doing this?
Here’s a really cool video about them and you can learn more about Team Hoyt at http://www.teamhoyt.com/about/index.html.
Did you cry like a baby watching that? I sure did!
So when I think about training for an Ironman (or an olympic distance tri, or a marathon, or anything else) I have to ask myself – “What’s your excuse?”
If Dick Hoyt can race Kona pulling/pushing his son the entire way so he can feel the wind on his face and finish, there is NO reason I can’t do it – no reason at all. I just have to want it bad enough.
It’s really that simple, isn’t it?
Perspective… It is sooooo vitally important to our success, in everything!