Friday, June 22, 2012

The (aspiring) Ironman - my new normal

Believe it or not I know two people going for their first Ironman distance races this weekend.

One in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and another in Nice, France.

Cool, eh.

Nowadays this seems very normal to me. I am sort of surrounded by Ironpeeps all the time. To be honest, I see an ironman distance race in my future and while it's a big goal - a very big goal. Strangely it doesn't seem impossible. It is something not everyone can do so I don't take it for granted but at the moment it seems doable.

But it wasn't always this way. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is an Ironman ... not everyone goes off for the weekend and does 100 mile bike rides. Not everyone gets up pretty regularly at 5 am to go swim or run.

I was thinking about it this morning. That way back when I started training for a marathon - that seemed like the biggest goal ever. Even then I didn't know anybody who had completed an ironman distance race. Or even an ultramarathon. I just knew aspiring marathoners and those who had already done a bunch of marathons. Some really exclusive folks who had done the amazing - qualifying for Boston.  But no ironmen in my circle.

Over the years my family and my friends have gotten used to my daily and weekly endurance running. And when I added biking and swimming a few years ago - they took it in stride. We don't plan Friday night events. My husband knows that I don't stay up late. My inlaws and friends are not surprised or shocked to hear that I biked 60 miles or ran 10-20 miles.

But every once in a while I end up in a circle of people who aren't ironmen. It catches me off guard. There won't be any tatoos on calves - no funny shorts tanlines. No water bottles or compression socks. If I mention that I'm going to run 10 miles a person might be amazed or even find it bizarre. It catches me off guard because this little segment of the world this endurance Ironman clique has become my new normal.

I love it.

We have our own language, bricks aren't for building buildings, zones are for heart rates. We get up early, we rarely stay up super late. We obsess about food.  We read obscure forums, we accumulate shoes and race bibs. We carry compressed air for bike tires. We trim our fingernails to avoid ripping our wet suits. We sport bizarre tan lines and there isn't enough sunscreen in the world to prevent it.

So, this weekend my friends Jim and Benji will go out and do their races and I'll continue to train  (probably 100 miles on the bike over 2 days) because sometime in the future - most likely September 2013 I'll go out and complete mine. Then I'll have an even newer normal not the aspiring Ironman but the veteran Ironman.

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