Friday, October 16, 2009

Remember when finishing an Ironman was a big deal..?




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.

21 comments:

  1. I agree, it's about enjoying the journey, not just the finish line

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  2. Boy is that the truth and kudos to your coach!

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  3. I agree with ya ... I have tons of fun doing this and who cares what others think, if it is important to you it is a big deal!

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  4. Here here! The journey is what matters AND, you get to tell a lot of pretty cool stories along the way

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  5. Finishing an ironman is a big deal.

    Finishing and ironman while missing your goal, but still loving every second of it (both the good and the bad) is a REALLY big deal.

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  6. I admire anyone who can complete 140.6...in sub-9 or just before the stroke up midnight! Well said.

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  7. I agree. The journey is the point and the finish is the celebration (even a painful celebration) of that journey. The "big deal" is what YOU make of it, not what others make of it.

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  8. You went from 5k to Ironman in a year. Holy crap. Make sure to send more details on this blog. I would love to hear more teamie!

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  9. I think it's important to never forget the feeling of finishing an Ironman... or 10! :) And it really is all about having a good time - at least for me anyway! Great post!

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  10. I signed off on my last blog...keep training and keep smiling smiling, remember triathlon is a choice we make...not a burden. Your post captured this perfectly!

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  11. Great post. I think we are often too quick to move onto the next thing. An accomplishment like finishing an Ironman, no matter the time, should be savored for a very long time.

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  12. It's all about having a fun time. If someone won't let you do it yourself!!! I'm for sure a lingerer I like to have feel goods for weeks afterwards and usually it doesn't happen.

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  13. finishing an Ironman IS a big deal. The thought of finishing it (or preparing for it) has me about crapping my pants... I'm pretty sure that makes it a big deal. But I get what you are saying... wonder how I'll feel after crossing the finish line. I remember after my first marathon ... I, of course, had to figure out how to do better the next time.

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  14. I agree with losing sight on why people do things. I think so often people set a goal (finish an IM, lose 10 pounds, etc) and find that they are never satisfied. There is always time to be gained, weight to be lost, money to be saved etc. It is all about going out to have fun, sure making progress or bettering yourself give a greater sense of accomplishment, but anything from a 1 mile run, 5k, to IM or Ultra is an accomplishment in itself.

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  15. SO true. I just wrote a kind of similar post about the need to go faster...
    It's hard to keep it all in perspective, you know? When you hang out with athletes, it's difficult to remember that the vast majority of the population aren't actually doing this stuff...

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  16. I remember trying to convince my parents to come to Panama City and my dad was like "the panhandle, seriously, why do you want us to come"....and when I finished IMFL..my dad goes "I get it now..I know why you wanted us here so badly".

    No matter where you finish in an Ironman, the training is mostly all the same and the suffering as well. It's hard because you want to take weeks after to just let it all soak in and sometimes life doesn't allow for that.

    Great post--last year I was reminded of how valuable/lucky I am to race--after having my son "podium finishing" wasn't exactly a thought, nor was a "PR" in any way....sometimes it takes a major event or a person to put things in perspective--we're lucky to race and to have this sport for enjoyment..and yeah, competition!

    Such a great post!

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  17. finishing an Ironman is still something most people in the world will never do...and it never loses its thrill

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  18. Love this post, because you are right, as our little triathlon world bubble gets bigger and bigger we know more and more people who have accomplished the IM goal and it starts to seem pedestrian. It is absolutely NOT! The accomplishment of finishing is a beautiful thing and to me the heroes are the folks that come in at the stroke of midnight - you know their day didn't go as planned and the gutted it out and finished!

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