I read a triathlon blog today suggesting I consider why I'm competing in an Ironman. Why? Because I'll need to recall that answer during the most difficult moments of the race. When I hit The Wall, what will be my "one thing" that inspires me to fight through and continue? Ironically, I was thinking about that independently during my solo early morning brick workout at Griffith Park (images coming later tonight). There's a lot to think about 12-18 hours a week without an iPod clouding the brain.
So why am I chasing this dream down? Is chasing even the right word anymore? It feels more like a hunt at this point. A yearlong hunting expedition marked mostly by cagey patience, punctuated by moments of adrenaline-fueled energy bursts.
When I started my training, I really thought the Ironman was a bucket-list checkbox. Or some project I could point to with pride when I have children. "See, THIS is how you go after a big goal in life."
Those are nice reasons. They're surface too.
As I've plunged down the rabbit hole of my psyche these past 10 months, the motivations I've discovered there may be a little darker than initially thought. I've hinted at it before. On some level, my Ironman will serve as a giant "Stick it!" to doubters throughout my life. People whom I've never really forgiven for hurting me. People who took something from me. Physically or psychologically.
Garbage I haven't let go of after all these years.
Garbage I need to leave out on the course that day.
The club soccer coach who cut me from the all-star team without explanation or compassion.
The freshman basketball coach who cut me for two years before sticking me at the end of the bench in ninth grade to stew as a sideshow.
The neighborhood bully whom I let push me around as a skinny, self-conscious kid.
The fraternity bros who didn't pick me for the A-list sports teams because I was too small or not fast enough in their eyes. Or not cool enough.
The childhood friends whom were always a little bigger (OK, a lot bigger), faster, and stronger. And who always got the girls.
The grade school girls who passed me over because I was too this, or not enough that.
So, yeah. You wanna know what my line will be at mile 18 in the heat? When my legs decide to crap out on me? When my head hurts and I still have another eight miles to run?
I'll think of Karen Takeda. I'll think of Mr. Dicus. I'll think of Chad Tosensen (or whatever the hell his name was). I'll think of all of them. And the pain. Both visceral and recalled. Present and past.
And I'll grit my teeth and keep moving.
That's my one thing.
94 days and counting.