now…. the inevitable

I already signed up for next year’s Ironman Arizona. In fact, I did it before I even knew I could complete the first one. Those competing in the 2011 event had the ability to sign up for next year before anyone else the DAY BEFORE THE RACE this year. I had just gotten out of a confidence depleting practice swim in the lake, dried off and went right to the 2012 sign-up tent. Perhaps that was a little screwy, but it helped me get past the last fear I had about the following day.

If I was going to have a good time (like I pictured for months) the following day, I had to give up on the thought of not being able to complete it. Signing up for next year was not a back up plan in case I couldn’t finish it the first time, it allowed me to have a sense of calm I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. Not only was I going to finish (this year), I was going to like it so much, I’d want to do it again next year. Talk about an expensive psychological trick. Couldn’t I just pretend? Nooooooo!

After three days of recuperation, I ran for 5 miles on Thursday. As I ran, I went over the whole day in my head (much faster of course). I tried to figure out where I could cut time out, where I could be faster. I knew that would happen. No matter how fast or slow I would have been, I ultimately think I could be faster. Shouldn’t that always be my default thinking? Shouldn’t I always want to improve? Maybe I’m just not satisfied with just being able to finish. I’ve gone from : How will I ever finish this?! to: How FAST will I finish this?!

I still stand behind the idea that ANYONE from ANYWHERE can complete an Ironman. After getting the printout of all the finishers that my Mom gave to my Dad to give to me, I believe it more than ever. There was a 74 year old guy that finished, a 66 year old woman, one person with one leg, one person with no legs, a blind woman, and the list goes on. All of these people finished before me btw. If there is anyone out there that would like to tri to complete the Ironman, I will train with you (if you want me to), and make sure you complete it. More than a physical accomplishment, it’s more about overcoming fear, fear of change, fear of failure, and fear itself. The neat thing is that I don’t fear this anymore. I know there is someone that will read this and tell their family and friends that they are going to do an Ironman and that is inevitable…. for someone. There were 1100 first timers in Arizona alone. Don’t know how many across the country in all the races, but there were more than 1101, I can assure you that.

The hardest part of the post race so far has been knowing that I have to wait an entire year before I can do it again. There will never be another first time for me and the joy I got going through this process. I’ve learned about me and my barriers, my fears and my joys, and I am so happy I couldn’t sleep all those days in a row so I could wake up that June morning at 3 am and find Ironman.

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