I had an interesting conversation with Vicki Scates, a triathlete here in CDA, this afternoon at a coffee shop. Amidst a conversation she said, "What happened to finishing an Ironman being a big deal." I thought to myself, how true. Regardless of their finish time, people put in months of training to complete an Ironman. We were discussing various people's finish times at Kona including that of my coach Michael. She said that she had so much respect for him because he finished even if his race didn't go according to plan, as so many pros drop out of races because they know they aren't going to win or podium. He went from placing 9th in Kona last year to 538th place this year. He forced himself to shift his mentality as he hit "the wall", so that he could enjoy the rest of the race to his 10th finish in Kona.
So what happened to finishing an Ironman being a big deal...and what happened to having FUN?
We are human beings and cannot control every variable in the equation of race day. We all can get caught up in our race times and our place in a race. Especially at the amateur level, this is (should be) a hobby, and I know so many people who lose the fun and enjoyment in racing triathlons, as they get caught in the moment... Everyone, remember to have fun, as we spend a lot of money to do triathlons (as very few actually make money to do them).
I know that I diminished the sense of accomplishment that came with my first Ironman finish. I remember that two days after Ironman CDA that the whole Ironman village was gone. I wasn't ready to go back to regualr life. I still wanted to live in the incredible sense of accomplishment that made the many months of training worthwile. But once the village was gone, I think I let the sense of accomplishment go away. I remember thinking about the next harder goal to pursue. Doing another Ironman almost began to seem paltry, as I "had been there done that." For the guy that hadn't run a 5k as of last year, that was pretty crazy! I definitely needed some grounding!
Finishing an Ironman is a big deal, as it is the culmination as months of hard work and determination. An extremely small percentage of the population can proclaim themselves an ironman. We need to live in the successes of our hard work and that of our friends. Who cares if your bike split was fifteen minutes off of your goal, or if you had to walk a couple miles in the marathon. Making it to Kona or making it to the podium shouldn't be your sole focus. Have fun and enjoy what you do!
Congratulationsto Greg, Molly, & Michael on great races. You endured the tough elements of Kona to finish yet another Ironman.