Why Not Kona?

Like a squirrel hoarding acorns or a dog burying his bone, I've been saving my DVR copy of the Ironman World Championships for just the right moment. Having spent a decadent few nights eating my body weight while celebrating with Stephanie's family, tonight seemed as good a night as any.

I can definitely feel the extra weight on me, perhaps emotionally more than physically.  I also feel the rust accumulating on my fitness level, having completed only one cardio-driven workout last week.  This week will be no different, as Steph and I are taking some vacation time and heading to Napa Valley to spend New Years. Along with the rust has come a sense of laziness due to all the extra free time I've been enjoying.  I can't help but repeatedly think, "Why the hell have I been living this (Ironman) lifestyle?")

I'm sure we've all thought that at some point, maybe more during this time of year (Christmas/New Year's) than at other points.

So what better time to call upon some instant, sappy, inspiration drama to curb those emotions?

I found this year's coverage to be slightly less entertaining than the 2009 version.  Maybe it's because I followed the 2010 race via Ironman Live and knew the outcome.  Maybe it's also because I've read both Lava and Triathlete's post-Kona coverage cover to cover.

Maybe it's really because I've now done one of these myself.  And while I haven't been to Kona, I know what crossing that magical finish line feels like.  When I watched the 2009 DVD last year, I sobbed on my couch, repeating out loud to nobody in particular, "I WILL FINISH."

And I did!

But this year I did get a little choked up at the end of the show watching the other age-groupers cross the finish line.  Relating to their struggle, and the triumphant looks on their face, made it special for me. In a way, their success was also mine.  Our stories, even with different paths, were still the same.

I also thought to myself, why should Kona finishers have all the fun?  Why am I accepting that the only way I'll ever get to Hawaii for the World Championships is through a lottery?  I'm in charge of my destiny, why can't I qualify with my own two feet?  Heck, just having two functioning feet puts me in better shape than some of those inspirational stories featured in the show.  And I've certainly never been a drug addict (G-d bless that guy's turnaround, btw!).

So, what reason do I have NOT to make it to Kona?  Yes, I can think of several at the moment.  Bad legs.  Bad hips.  Bad dieting.  Bad marathon times.  But what if I work harder? Or smarter?  What if I open my mind up to the possibility that ANYONE can qualify for Kona? Is that realistic or fantasy?  When is a goal achievable and when is it out of reach?

I don't have the answer to that last one.  But I do know that if I don't think I can ever qualify in Kona, that's exactly what will happen. Why not give it a go?  A year ago I never thought it possible to qualify for the National Championships in the Olympic distance, and I came within a stupid drafting penalty of doing it.  Why not Kona?

Last year, I watched the Ironman DVD wondering, "Could I finish?"

This year, I watched the Ironman DVD wondering, "Can I qualify?"

Why not?

177 days and counting.

PS: 6 months until IM Coeur d'Alene.  Not feeling anywhere close to being prepared.  This race should be a fun one!