This morning I shared a lane with an Ironman.
I’ve noticed him before at the pool – he’s hard to miss as he’s all tatted out [on his arms and chest] with black flames and fire balls and some intricate, artsy design I’m sure I’m too right winged to make sense of. As I was giving him the once over, (hey, there is no shame in showing appreciation, right?), my eyes freeze when they land on the back of his right calf. There, stamped in blue, black and red ink, I see the letters [that when strung together] spell the word IRONMAN.
So, I say: You definitely earned that tattoo.
Him: I sure did.
Me: Are you training for something now?
Him: The Boulder Ironman in August. You?
Me: The Boulder Half Ironman. I’m too chicken to try a full.
Him: If you can do a half, you can do a full.
Me: I’ve heard that line before. (I say with a smile.) Hell, I’m even sneaky enough to have used it on other people!
As our drive-by conversation came to an end, I couldn’t help but think about the imaginary line that separates the half from the full. As someone who has only ever done a half, I can tell you I’m very sensitive, (or aware!), never to make it look like I’ve bagged a full. All the gear I own says Ironman 70.3. Every time I talk, write or speak about my event, I say half Ironman or HIM. In my humble opinion, it’s an elite class/breed/type of person who propels their own a** 140.6 miles in one day to reach that particular finish line – it’s my honor + duty to hold them in the highest esteem.
My chiropractor’s office is about a mile from the pool, so after pulling myself up and down the lane 44 times, I hop out, shower up and head his way for a structural reckoning. On the drive over, I was feeling vexed… my hair had a dangerous amount of static, four of my fingernails are shedding layers and my right butt cheek has a chronic stabbing pain so deep in the tissue it feels like it’s pulsing out of my teeth.
When I’m face down on his table, he says, “I just had two Boston Marathoner’s in here yesterday. (Boston was Monday in case you missed it.) Both were over the age of 60. What you people do to your bodies for a finish line is amazing and crazy. Will you ever be done with this?”
“Not likely, Doc,” I say back with raw honesty. “There is something about the structure, the training, the challenge and the finish line that moves me. It’s almost like it becomes a part of who you are on a cellular level… it’s just ‘what you do’ if that makes any sense. And besides, it’s a positive place to put my energy and a fail-proof way to stay out of jail – a win/win.”
After a good chuckle, we jam about my training plan and what lies ahead for the next 7 weeks. First things first, I want to make it to the start line injury free. Two is to push myself, within limits, to be the strongest I can be on race day. Third is to honor my body in this process instead of always berating myself for what I can’t do. (Or the pounds I can’t seem to shed.) The rest is to lean in and love the whole of the journey.
I was reminded today that I don’t HAVE to do this… I GET to. Not everyone has the time, the desire, the energy or the space to chase sh*t like this – I do. And for that I am grateful.
P.S. I know there is an imaginary line between the half and the full Ironman… do you think the same is true for the half and full marathon? I don’t remember being reverent of 26.2 miles after running my first half, I just remember thinking “No.F*ing.Way.” You?
P.S.S. Want the creed for how I live my life and approach my training? Get the ONWARD Manifesto when you join my FREE Sole Sisterhood.
P.S.S.S. Last weekend I went home to see my parents. (I do that when I need to remember who I am.) Here’s a pic of me + Dad… he, too, thinks I’m bat sh*t. 😉