Lately a lot of folks at holiday parties or social gatherings have asked me about my Ironman experience. To be honest, I've been shocked by the outpouring of interest. I thought people would be sick of it by now, with the blog, my Facebook/Twitter updates, etc. Heck, I'm sick of it!!!! It's gotten to the point where I'm almost ashamed to speak about triathlon in front of Stephanie because I'm sure she's sick of hearing it over and over even more than I am feeling. But my friends (and even people I rarely keep in touch with) want to know how the race felt, what the training was like, how I persevered through the weather and the pain on race day. What crossing the finish line felt like.
Despite feeling inspired or excited, every conversation typically ends with the other participant saying, "That is insane. I could never do that."
And I think it's just as insane to not even consider it if you have the desire to try.
With that kind of attitude they never will complete an Ironman, or any triathlon for that matter. Or the metaphorical equivalent. It's amazing to me these folks have accomplished much at all with that approach. And the thing is, they've all achieved so much whether it's in their careers, their education or some other personal activity.
I don't blame anyone though for saying it's seemingly impossible. If you look at Ironman solely as a singular achievement, a mammoth destination without the journey that comes with it, it can look like an Everest. But, as I try to tell my friends, if you look at Ironman the same way you look at going to school -- taking a step forward every day, learning something new every day, improving incrementally and expanding your capabilities -- it's not quite as intimidating.
And this time, the only person grading you is yourself! The only tests you take are the ones you assign, or maybe they're from a coach that you hire.
One day at a time. One mile at a time. One lesson at a time. One test at a time.
If you focus on that and not the destination itself, you'll find you've arrived a lot quicker than you anticipated -- and maybe a little faster too.
Certainly a little wiser.
An Ironman is not out of reach. It is within all of our grasps ... if we want it bad enough.
189 days and counting.