Thursday, July 16, 2015

TBT: Ironman


A post I wrote more than 2 years ago, but never got around to adding pictures or posting it. Just read it again and realized what's changed in the past few years.



There's something inspiring about people doing things that are hard. Especially things that seem unnatural and have no real allure when first hearing of them. 

For me, an Ironman race was one of those things. Not only does running a marathon seem like the last thing I would ever want to do, but add biking and swimming to that? Uh, no thanks. But, I have a few people in my life who evidently think it is a good time to torture themselves with that sort of physical activity, and at that point, let's be real, I don't even think that should be called activity anymore. That's like something close to torture. But, lets pretend it's fun for them too. 

So I decided to attend one of these such events, a full Ironman race. The race began somewhere like 6 in the morning, and according to the schedule, ended at midnight. That's 18 hours. Of moving. In a race-type fashion. I don't know that I have ever moved for 18 hours in a non-race-type-fashion. 

So, being as I am and not wanting to put any extra stress on myself, I gave myself plenty of time and didn't show up to the race until around 2pm. Or, 8 hours after the race started. And contrary to what common sense would lead you to believe, the race was still going. I saw probably 300 people. 

After driving around for a good 20 minutes trying to figure out which roads weren't closed because of the race, I found a place to park. (If we are keeping track of points, this is where I get tons. Parallel parked, I did.) I crossed the street, having to dash across the actual race lane - whoops, though I didn't get in anyone's way - and ended up in a park with several other people doing the exact same thing as I. The one thing different about lost of these people is that they had matching shirts with names of their highly motivated people on them. I had no such shirt. Probably would have made it a better experience. Also, if I knew anyone at all. 

Also, it was hot. 
The volunteers were having so much fun, made me want to volunteer at a race. Still does. Still haven't. (Once, but that was really before I understood how races go. Now I'm educated and could probably volunteer much better.)


I take that back. Being there alone was the best. I was at mile 14 of the marathon, which comes after the participants have to swim 2.4 miles and bike like 1738494737 miles. Only then do they start to run the marathon. So at this point, they're pretty close to finishing. Except for the last 12ish miles, that probably feel like the longest possible version of 12ish miles. Just a thought.

 

Except that you'd be surprised. I was. People were running. And talking. And laughing. Not doing anything that happens to me after I run more than about a mile consecutively. This could be due to the fact that these people have trained months and years for this exact day, but I like to just think that they are superhuman and I will never be as good as them and so on.



I enjoy running quite a bit, and since writing this post I've done some things I didn't think I would ever do, and plan to do more in the future. (It's a sick mindset I think that people get in with races, it often is not fun, and then at the finish line the question is when the next race is.)

In the past few years I've met so many people who do ridiculous things (i.e. run/bike/move in general) for way longer than is probably sane, and they're some of the best people ever.

I've been to a lot more races, and been able to partake as well as be a spectator, and I have to say, both are equally fun, for different reasons.

However, I'm still blown away when I see people running marathons, stories about ultra marathons or Ironmans, etc. Bonus points for people who have smiles on their faces while they're doing it. They're the fun ones to cheer for. 

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