Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Watching an Ironman
What I love most about watching an IM is pure and genuine determination that is on display for all to see. You see in an IM there is no where to hide as it's your journey, your race done at your pace.
If you haven't done IM you'll soon come to understand the many parallels to a roller coaster with many highs and lows as you make the journey to the white line while Mike Riley says those four famous words, "You are an Ironman!"
What I learned at IM CDA 2010 is that no matter how tough conditions with heat, wind, chop on the lake people press on with the heart of champions no matter the pace, no matter the place. If the bike won't shift (sorry Lora) or the seat falls off or watch dies on the swim(sorry Gretchen) or the dreaded stomach issues/knee pain intensify (sorry Beth) people find a way to dig deeper than ever before and finish the journey. Some luck on race day doesn't hurt either!
I also observed that no matter how much you prepare and plan sometimes things are out your control. Yes, unfortunately Steve's journey was cut short after getting hit by a car on the bike course at mile 40, however his spirit wasn't broken and he stayed to end to support all his follow Team Blaze members. The most important thing is Steve is OK and I know with his positive outlook and spirit he'll finish the journey some day.
Once again I learned that IM is not about the swim or bike, instead it's all about properly pacing the swim and bike to set up the best 26.2 mile you can! I've found the last 7 yrs. racing and coaching IM that :10 too fast on the bike and poor hydration/nutrition usually leads to :45-:60 slower on the run if you blow apart at mile 18. So, again a fast swim or bike time mean nothing if you're walking at mile 18. Race smart and have plan the reflects your training!
Watching IM every year truly motivates me to be a better husband, father, coach, athlete and friend. It reminds me to be thankful for all the wonderful freedoms and positive/supportive people that are in my life.
John Collins the founder of IM once said,
"There’s a little voice in the back of your head telling you that it’s okay to stop. If you keep on going you win, if you listen to that voice, you lose."
IM is truly a physical and mentally journey that will test your limits but teach more about yourself and the goodness in people than you ever realized when you had crazy plan to pay $600 for chance to take a ride on the IM roller coaster.
Enjoy the journey!