I love the different responses I get when telling people I’m signed up for an Ironman.
Most of my friends and family are excited but aren’t super surprised by my lofty goal; pretty sure they’re used to my crazy ideas and always offer 100% support rather than questioning my dedication. Outwardly, at least! Or, they are simply unaware of the hugeness of what an Ironman really is.
You all, my lovely blog friends and blog-friends-turned-real-life-friends, understand my desire for a challenge and know how addicting fitness and subsequently reaching a fitness-based goal can be. Thanks to you all for your kind words as well!
I appreciate the people in my life who will continuously listen as I babble on and try to figure my way through this as a beginner…half the time, I’ll probably have no idea what’s going on.
As for those who don’t fall into either of those categories? I see them sizing me up in their mind. They try to decipher if I’m some super intense closeted athlete and if they should be in awe, or if I’m just out of my mind and delirious, by asking a series of questions. I can usually predict how the conversation will go by their first response – one of four options: “You’re crazy.” “I’ve always wanted to do an Ironman!” or “My BFF/cousin/brother’s friend’s sister has done like 15 Ironmans”, or “I’m an Ironman!”
Or sometimes I’ll get a simple “What’s that?”…and after the explanation, they in turn respond with one of the above questions, or their eyes glaze over and they tune me out.
Regardless, the first follow-up question is usually “have you done a triathlon before?” When I say ‘yes’, I pass part one of the test. (Before my first tri, I failed immediately. They seemed to immediately dismiss me as delusional. “She hasn’t even completed a triathlon? And SHE thinks she can do THAT? Psh. Dunzo.”)
Nevermind that I’ve only done one sprint tri. IT COUNTS.
Except when people familiar with the sport pry a little deeper. “How long was each leg of your tri? How many have you done? Do you do brick workouts?” They ask if I’ve done a half-Ironman. When I say no, I see the narrowing of the eyes and the skeptical glances, especially from experienced triathletes. I get it. Who am I, signing up for an Ironman when I’ve barely gotten my feet wet? No one wants the toughness of their sport discounted, and when a beginner says they are signed up for one of the toughest events within the sport, it may rub them the wrong way. I remember a moment during my first half marathon, when a guy behind me declared that the longest he had ever run was 5 miles. It annoyed me – I put so much time and effort into that race! But, to each his own. More power to ya, buddy. Not that that’s totally comparable, but you’re picking up what I’m putting down, right?
Next question: ”do you own a bike?” Yes. Pass. “How often do you swim? Are you good at swimming? Do you swim in open water often?” A couple times a week, not great, but I’m learning…and no, rarely at this point. Their confidence in me falters. Who does this girl think she is, anyway? Does she know the time commitment? How hard this is? The magnitude?
I again see the sideways glances and quick rolling of the eyes. However, unlike the younger version of myself, I don’t vow to prove them wrong. Whatever they choose to believe is fine; I’m doing this for myself and myself alone.
Yes, it’s hard to wrap my head around the task in front of me. For now, I’m looking at it as a bunch of little tasks. Yes, it’s a big risk, but that’s why it’s worth taking. Maybe I don’t truly know what I’m getting myself into…but at the least, I know I’m ready to give it my all. I know I’m tough. I know I can accomplish whatever I put my head and heart into. And for once, I’m really not worried about the opinions of those who don’t think I can do it. I have faith in myself and in my support system.
…I like it better that way.