This past weekend, I volunteered at Ironman Arizona again. And somehow I signed up to try my luck there again. Two months after competing at Ironman Lake Tahoe in all its 6,200-foot glory, I'll be toeing the line in Tempe as my friends Kevin and Melissa experience the joy of their own first-time Ironman journey. I couldn't let them do it without me.
My favorite part of the weekend was watching them take in the swim start, atop the 12th floor of the Microsoft building overlooking Tempe Town Lake. You can get a glimpse of it here, though warnings that some of the language is NFSW :)
I remember having those wide eyes. I remember thinking, "How in the world could I possibly have what it takes to be an Ironman? And how will I possibly get out of the water alive!?"
Now, signing up for another Ironman has started to feel as casual as renewing my annual physical appointment. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? This morning, when we arose at 4:30 a.m. to be in the volunteer line by 5, it felt like just another morning...right until it was my turn at the sign-in kiosk. Then, the expected second-guessing and nerves set in. "Are you sure you want to do this again?" (No.) "Is this is a good idea two months after Ironman Lake Tahoe?" (Nope.)
So why do it?
I've thought a lot about that today as I drove back from Tempe. Every Ironman has its own story. My first was obviously about proving something to myself. Coeur d'Alene was about improvement and validation. St. George was a test of perseverance. Lake Tahoe doesn't have a narrative yet -- should I be worried about that? And Arizona 2013? In one word: Revenge.
I want to see what I can do on this same course, hopefully with the same great weather from the last two races. I want to see if I've progressed, and if I can run the kind of race I'm truly capable of here.
Right now, my biggest concern isn't even doing two Ironmans within two months, but rather of making sure I don't overlook Tahoe to get to Arizona. How in the world do you look past one Ironman to do another eight weeks later? How did this happen? Have I lost all perspective?
Maybe. I don't know.
I do know that a year from now I'll be exhausted and a five-time Ironman. I never thought that would be possible when I started blogging.
Here's to another journey, and to sharing it with some special first-timers.