The IRONMAN Bib List was just posted today and it came at the perfect time. I have not felt super great this week and am wrestling with a cold. I decided to can my run today in favor of a nap. I was a little discouraged about it, but then.........the bib list was posted and my IRONMAN idol Mary Knott posted on my timeline. "1610! BOOM!" I had just gotten back from my bike ride when I saw the post and instantly felt the excitement overwhelm. I am on that list!!!!! I have a race number!!!! I have waited over 3 years to have a race number and my name on an IRONMAN bib......and ITS HERE!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation points to convey my excitement.
He has a short chapter in the book of insights from some of the top Pro athletes in the sport. There is one insight that has particularly stood out to me. I have dog-eared the page and read it over and over again. It is from the Pro triathlete Scott Tinley. He won the Kona IRONMAN 2 times in his career. Here is what he writes:
"You ever wonder what regular people think when they hear that close to 20,000 people are trying to get an entry into Kona? They're thinking all those people must have a screw loose, that's what. Yet, I'd bet 1,000 sit ups that more than a few of them dream about crossing the finish line, all tan and trim, the crowd screaming, their smiles caught and beamed out everywhere. And I bet that when they wake up in the morning, more than a few rollover and try to hide from the gnawing desire that they, too, could have that same screw loose.
Maybe they are realizing that too many of us die too young or too late. Maybe they know that we pull ourselves up by making money, making the grade; all the while taking less and less time to face the fact that there are some things in life we need to do. Just because.
I think the IRONMAN is one of those things. For all those people, I can't pretend to know why. But I know people are changed by an IRONMAN. IRONMAN finishers leave a mark on the world.
Try and define that. Go ahead. The words will never come. It is enough to hear the stories, to watch their smiles, to witness their metamorphosis.
Yes, there is a price---relationships, jobs, sunburns, missing toenails, there always is for the good stuff. But the call of the distant drum is too loud to ignore, too powerful to pawn off as some mid-life crisis of the middle manager or desperate plea of a soccer mom. All they want is their one day. One day full of enough feeling and emotion to last an eternity.
But like war, marriage, tight jeans, and stick shift cars, the IRONMAN isn't for everybody. As much as it can give, it can take. If it were easy, it wouldn't mean the same. Even dreams are fair game in the forecast of one's decisions.
In a world that tries its hardest to separate us from what matters, the IRONMAN helps us to reconnect with the pulse of our lives. As long as it does that, we will be happy to have made the decision to even attempt the dream."
I get goosebumps every time I read that. And every time I look at myself I feel enormous pride and say over and over again, "Good Decision."