That’s an awful long way. I wouldn’t even drive that in a car. HA! (that’s the most-often heard joke about longer distance tris and runs, isn’t it?)

Why would someone want to do it?

I ask myself that all the time. This time around it was Ironman Arizona that got me thinking again. I leaned in and watched the fuzzy video feed on my laptop with rapt attention. I cheered as the athletes triumphantly crossed the finish line. I gasped and teared up as others stumbled through the finish chute, their last bit of energy sapped up probably miles before that point, moving forward only by heart and will alone.

And you know what all this does? It makes me want to be one of them. I want to hear Mike Reilly announce: “Laura Baron, you are an IRONMAN!”

I can’t tell you how many race reports I’ve read that have not only made me teary-eyed, but had me bawling without shame. The emotional draw I feel to these athletes — these champions, whether they finish or not — makes me think that it embodies what this sport is all about. The going out and doing something so ridiculous, so challenging, so over-the-top that it not only goes beyond your comfort zone, but leaves your comfort zone in a different zip code altogether.

And yet, I haven’t been able to make the commitment to the distance. The race — that’s the easy part. The months of training, the whole Saturdays used up by long bike rides, the being so tired from swimming, biking and running that you want nothing to do with the entire thing by the time you’re done — that’s the commitment. That’s the hard part.

Part of not being able to commit is being scared out of my mind: what if I can’t do it? What if I don’t have what it takes to make it through the training? The fear that my failure wouldn’t even be on the course, but in the months building up to it. Part of it is not wanting to put my life on hold for this. Can I realistically do ANYTHING else while Ironman training? I’m not sure it’s possible. And I don’t know that I like that.

But, all along, the thought that’s reverberated around my brain is “Before I’m 40….yes, before that milestone I want an Ironman finish on my life’s resume”. Which was fine 4 years ago. Now – it’s far more immediate. It gives me a year. Now or never, baby!

Knowing this, I’ve at least gone this far in terms of commitment: I’m going up to Ironman Wisconsin this fall to cheer a lot of my friends who are becoming first-time Ironmen. And the hotel reservation is through Monday. Meaning — I’ll be there for the Monday morning sign-up for IMWI 2009. Even just having made the decision to POSSIBLY sign up has me spooked.

Will I go through with it and sign up? I still don’t know. The idea of it seems too big to wrap my mind around it. My unreasonable wish is that seeing the IM up close and personal will allow me to gauge whether or not this is something I really want — because you have to REALLY want it — and not just be swept up in the emotion of it.

I suppose this can be tagged…. “To Be Continued….”….

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  1. Oh…you are sunk…dead in the water…

    If your reservations put you there on Monday, you will sign up. There is not a doubt in my mind. There is something magical about being there and you will be in line on Monday morning!! Just face it, you have already sealed your fate!! 🙂

    At least plan on volunteering so you can stand in the shorter volunteers line for sign-up…”Laura Baron, you are an Ironman”!! Kind of gives you chills doesn’t it??

  2. I KNOW! That’s my fear… I’m so impulsive and emotional about these things. Just being there will wipe out any ounce of good sense I might have… 🙂

  3. Dude. We will race together in 2009. You know it. I know it. Let’s move toward acceptance. 😉

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