Ironblogging – or what have I done now?

Image of my registration for the Frankfurt Ironman

This was my birthday present to myself this year. I’m officially registered now.

I’d meant to post this 12 days ago when I stopped hemming and hawing and plunked down a chunk of change in order to do something difficult and probably painful a year from now.  It was my birthday present to myself and after long discussions with the Wife, we agreed that this is the year for it.

Why Frankfurt? 

Pros: 

1)   Hometown.  No need to spend extra on travel and lodging.

2)   Hometown.  I swim in that lake for much of my open water practice.  I’ve already swum in it once for the Frankfurt City Tri and will do so again in a little less than two weeks.  I ride those roads, I’ve run on the run course.  Familiarity is good.

3)   The bike course for all its 112 miles is significantly less scary than the Wiesbaden 70.3 course I’m doing next month.

4)   I volunteered at T1 this year so I am intimately familiar with the weird quirks of this one – bags, changing tents, plastic tubs at the bike racks…

5)   The Wife approves and is behind me 100% for this one \o/

Cons:

1)   15 hour time limit.

2)   The weird separate transitions and all the different and confusing bags that all need to be packed correctly and sorted out beforehand.

3)   15 hour time limit.

4)   I can’t put the kitchen sink in those little bags like I would if I had a typical US acre of land by the bike at transition.

5)   15 hour time limit.

6)   I started doing this whole triathlon thing because it was fun.  This.  Ironman.  Probably won’t be entirely fun.

7)   Did I mention the time limit?

It’s going to require that my current procrastination level needs to go way down (and therefore my internet scouring: basically that means I’m going to stop obsessively searching for and reading Ironman race reports – one of my primary activities in the last 12 days. In fact, my internet time will probably get more interactive – i.e. yes, the blog has a true purpose now)

The Wife and I have also agreed that a reevaluation in March of this goal is a perfectly valid step and we can afford to lose half the registration fee if I feel it’s too much for me and I won’t be successful.

Some things to remember:

1) Sane decision making is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of sanity and adulthood. OK I need to say it again. Making an informed and appropriate decision about pulling out – AT ANY POINT – if I need to is NOT A SIGN OF FAILURE. IT IS A SIGN OF MATURITY AND THE CORRECT ATTITUDE TOWARDS A HOBBY.

2) Finishing an Ironman does not somehow validate me as a person, no matter how cruel the other kids in elementary school were. I do not need to do this to prove my worth as a human being. Conversely, if I don’t finish for any reason that does not make me a failure as a person or even a failure as an athlete.

3) While I acknowledge that the race itself probably won’t be a lot of fun (well, I think it will be fun until I lace up my running shoes and rather less fun from that point on) the training should be enjoyable, have intrinsic worth, and not be a major stressor in my life. If it is, that is probably a sign that I’m doing something wrong and I need to reevaluate and revise what I am doing.

4) Getting up early in the morning is necessary for the successful ironic athlete. Remember, dawn is beautiful.

A final note on Ironman: One of the things that attracts me to it is the same thing that makes Waiting for Godot my favorite play and Camus and Ionesco some of my favorite writers. The utterly arbitrary nature of Ironman fascinates me to no end. The random distances, the specific order that they must be done, the bizarre and arcane regulations, the strange rituals at transition, the complete pointlessness of finishing as a middle of the pack age-grouper and paying for the privilege fascinate me to no end. I love the idea of doing this simply for the very sake of doing something so difficult and perverse. (Also, I’m a masochist)

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