Seven letters. Two syllables. One word synonymous with the sport of triathlon.
The allure of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112, and running 26.2 all within a 17 hour time frame escapes many; for often individuals fail to see how such an endeavor can be in any way, shape or form enjoyable. However, this is not the case for many of those in the triathlon world.
There’s something to be said about the mental fortitude and physical power of each individual that crosses the finish line of an Ironman event; hearing Mike Reilly’s quintessential “YOU. ARE. AN IRONMANNNNNNN” greeting as they take their final steps of their Ironman journey. I probably have a slanted view of the magic of this Ironman journey – for my dad has completed seven, my uncles both five, my aunt three, and my cousin one. As much as I love dancing around the finisher area with my cousins in Lake Placid, patiently waiting for our relatives and making new friends in the process, [read: giving out “random hi-fives” to everyone who walked by. my brother made a sign. hahah] I’ve always longed for an Ironman journey of my own.
This July 28th, I’ll have the chance to join my cousins, aunt, uncles and dad in Ironman Lake Placid. I couldn’t be more excited! I’m also raising money for the Ironman Foundation to compete… the organization is really, really great. It raised money for “local non-profit organizations that recognize citizens in need and support The IRONMAN Foundation’s mission”. http://ironman.kintera.org/lakeplacid2013/begg
I’m looking forward to Mike Reilly’s “YOU. ARE. AN IRONMANNNNNNN” chant for myself, but that’s not really why I’m racing. I’m doing it, [just like most of you probably do] because I love racing. That rhythmic beat your body gets into during the swim. Miles passing by on the bike. Thinking of things that frustrate you and anger you and channeling them to get up the arduous hills. Running, running, and running some more even though the body aches. There’s something about it… something about triathlons that make you keep coming back for more.
And that’s not just me. Not just a few people who share this sentiment. There are thousands of people each year who expand upon their triathlon aspirations and compete in Ironmans. And if it’s not Ironman, it’s diving into that first race, tackling an Olympic, trying a half. Whatever it may be, there’s something about the sport that keeps thousands of us crawling back. [even when we SWEAR after a really hard race that we’re DEFINITELY taking time off. stop kidding yourself. you won’t. I’ve seen it firsthand with my relatives when it comes to Ironman.]
I think that besides the competitive drive and love for racing that triathletes share, it’s something about the community. Something about the “ties that bind us”… about the people around us who are as passionate about swimming, biking and running and we are. When you meet someone at a race that has an inspirational story, when you bond with other triathletes through relatives, a club or otherwise, when you see the myriad racers around you the day of an event… there’s nothing like it. And it’s that sense of community – that sense of belonging, intertwined with that never-ending competitive fire, that serves as the impetus for my passion for triathlons.
My hope is that my Ironman journey will only expand upon this. Whatever “tri journey” you’re going through this year – whether you have your eye on an Ironman, sprints, halfs, or are taking a year off, take a moment to think about what it is that motivates you. Why you’re racing. That’s what will keep you going.
For now, I’m keeping the words [you. are. an. ironman.] on my head in r e p e a t.
A constant inspiration for July.
What’s your inspiration this season? What are you working towards?