Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 1

Well, there are over 200 days until I - hopefully - get a glimpse of the finish line at IM Florida, but you gotta start somewhere.

And today was that somewhere. Day one.
IM training has officially begun, and I'm excited and grateful to be in a position - physically and otherwise - to begin this journey once again.

I remember attending a group pre-race dinner put on by a triathlon coach friend of ours several years ago for her athletes that were about to take on IM Wisconsin. The coach asked some of us who had already completed the race to give a few words of advice on race strategy and the like, and, when it was my turn, I got choked up just thinking and talking about the experience again. I think I actually had to stop and check myself before continuing. I'm not generally a mushy person, but the memories created by an IM race - and the effort that I made to get there - are so vivid and so deep, that the emotions were just right there. So much can go wrong - in the days and weeks leading up to the race, and on race day itself - you realize that the journey could have ended at any point along the route. But if it all comes together, those are memories you'll have for the rest of your life.

It meant a lot to complete that Ironman race, and the two I've done since then have been equally rewarding, so to be in a position to once again start that trip is reason in itself to give thanks. I'm lucky that I have a wife that supports this lifestyle, generally good health, and the disposable income to throw on race fees and travel. I'm lucky to have friends that enjoy spending their weekends on long runs and rides in the middle of nowhere, days which typically start way too early in the morning. And I'm lucky to have the genetics to be somewhat proficient at all three sports that make up this silly sport.

I hope I make it the start line in one piece this year, but I also recognize that the true value of finishing an Ironman race comes from the training you put in to get there. The race, itself, is just frosting on the cake. So I'm going to relish this feeling and the days that lie ahead because it's this effort that will make another IM finish so memorable.
Here we go.