Friday, January 23, 2009

What is the Ironman to me?

Throughout the day today there was some chatter about the importance of training for an IM and what some people do to prepare. Some of it struck a sour note with me but I am taking it in stride and thinking that it's just someone speaking before thinking. But it got me to thinking once I got home from work. What exactly is the IM to me? A million thoughts came to my head and none of them I could put into words. So I decided to Youtube the word "Ironman" to see what I came up with. Besides the movie about the superhero guy there were plenty of clips to choose from. Some done by NBC, some by individuals and always that great Cliffbar commercial of that guy entering the water while his friends kick the shit out of him. That one never gets old.
After watching about 30 minutes of videos it came to me. What does the Ironman mean to me..... respect. Not my respect but the respect of the IM. You really have to respect the race and training that goes into it. Now take me for example. I am great proof of the good and the bad of respecting the IM. My first IM was IMAZ 2007. I did most of the training that I required of myself but lapsed some times and chose working or getting d-runk the night before over training. But for the most part I respected the training. When it came to race day I was all about the race. My race was kinda smooth with a few bumps but I finished within what my body could do at the time and I was very happy to be done. I respected the race for challenging me to put my body, mind and soul on the line in the name of finishing.
Now take my 2nd IM. IMAZ 2008 Spring. I did the training but still worked more than I needed and partied more than should have. Having 1 IM under my belt at this time should have taught me to remove my head from my ass but I chose to ignore what I had learned. Come 2 days before the race I wasn't even close to prepared mentally. I choose to ignore my coaches and teammates suggestions and for that I DNF'd. At about mile 55 of the bike my head had had enough and I volunteered to quit the race. I didn't respect the race at all and it made me pay the price.
Now back to today. While watching the video clips I found (yet again) the respect for the training and the race. I am not saying I had lost it but it just reaffirmed to me that respecting the training will get me to where I want to be. Not that I needed anymore motivation for IMCDA, I went to a video that kills me every time. It's the video of Dick and Rick Hoyt. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them this year in New Hampshire at Timberman 70.3. Dick is the poster boy of respect. He respects the race, the training, his body and most of all his son Rick. I can only wish to be 1/2 the man that Dick is when I am his age. If you don't respect Dick Hoyt your shouldn't be in any sport let alone triathlon.

Moving forward.

What I am trying to say is that if you want to train for an IM and do it your way that is fine and dandy. Just don't expect veterans of the race to respect you or your ideals when you don't respect the training. We have been there and it's a tough road but it makes it that much sweeter when you cross that finish line at the end knowing you did all the training. And who I am to say it's the end. It may just be the beginning of this Ironman journey that some of us have decided to take.


etg said...

Thanks for all of those thoughts and words, Logan...they hit home at many levels.

Jess said...

there are many people who say respect the distance...but i think it is much more than is respect the training for that distance...the two a days...the all day weekends...the people you begin to call training is _so much more_ than signing up for a race that takes all day...and i wish i could explain it more/better...but it is about putting yourself up there on the line and saying what are you capable of...and when you get there you will be amazed by the answer

Maggie said...

it has always been all about the training for me. It's the journey to get there, all my blood, sweat, and tears, its 103 mile rides in 103 degrees, its the T3 spin class where I left my ass at the PTC.
it's also the fun times, and friendship bonds that are made while on that journey, not that one long day.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Great topic, I enjoyed your post.
The Ironman is so much more than race day itself, which I think it awesome. I've learned so much about myself while training and training and training.

I love searching tri videos too. The Hoyt video is always good. What amazes me, is not only how dedicated they are to race and race well, but the schedule they keep. I think they said they were on the road for 40+ events in 52 weeks... That is dedication.