The Essence of Ironman Races

There is nothing like the Triathlon season and Running/Cycling road racing season all coming together to keep one busy.  From the kick off races at IM St. George to IM Texas this weekend we have had plenty of performance breaking races, and also expectations crushed along the way.

The Ironman (and I’m covering all IM distance races) is a cruel mistress.  You can be in the best shape of your life, and still be left at the alter like the proverbial groom-less bride.  The hours of hard work, emotional investment, and time away from family/friends can be life changing in many ways.  It can either demoralize you, or fire you up to overcome the obstacles that are put in your path.

You come face to face with the knowledge that we don’t always get what we want, but at the same time we also embrace that knowledge with the awareness that there is another day to fight and come back and beat the beast.

For a lot of us in this day and age, things ARE easier in some respects.  Life challenges us very little other than the mundane traffic frustrations, work frustrations, and God forbid, health frustrations.  Unless you are a soldier going to battle, the only time we face adversity is when we throw ourselves right into it’s path.

That’s why we do Ironman.  It’s to be able to show up on race day to battle the elements, our emotional devils,  and the physical challenges that are thrown into our path along the way to the finish line.  How we deal with these adversities is what helps to enrich our lives, and also helps us to learn how to deal with other major issues that face us in our normal lives.

Of course this is an oversimplification, and I shouldn’t glorify the Ironman distance itself as there are plenty of races in our lives that can challenge us in the same way.  The athlete doing their first marathon or first triathlon is breaking the same new ground.  The doubts, questions, and answers will only be settled once they cross a finish line, after finish line, after finish line…….and then when either the fat lady sings or when pigs fly will we ever be satisfied with the answers!