Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Go read Wil's insightful (and well-written) post.  Then come back here.

I've mentioned before that I'm not ready to tackle Ironman, yet.  I believe there will be a time for me to take my training to that level, but it's not now.

And looking ahead to that time when I will inevitably face a long day of hard work . . . looking even beyond that to when I have that day--whether it be twelve hours or seventeen--behind me . . .

I wonder what comes next.

After rising to what is arguably the greatest challenge of our age--the most demanding, the most grueling, the most gut-wrenchingly humbling--after conquering that, what's left?  Where do I go from there?

I think I go back to whatever it was I did before I started running.

I don't mean running in a literal sense.  I mean that there were things in my life that I was confronting before I got into this whole triathlon thing.  I faced pain.  I suffered.  I uncovered wounds I never knew I had.  I wrote angst-filled poetry.  For some reason, all of that got pushed to the background after my first triathlon.  Well, not immediately.  It sort of faded away.  I've been thinking that it's a result of moving into the workforce, that it's because I have a full-time job and don't have time for the angst, the philosophy, the exploration of my own self and soul.  But maybe it has more to do with sport than I realize.

Far be it from me to describe sport as escapism; that word is entirely too pejorative.  No, it's more like sport provides a training ground for me, a temporary place from which I can safely step back, observe the world, and learn.  It's teaching me discipline (self-control), endurance (perseverance), and the virtue of carrying on through suffering (or, as Wil said, carrying a cross).

Maybe that's why some athletes feel compelled to run double- or even triple-Ironmans (Ironmen?) . . . they just need a little more training.

Thanks to Wil for the insight and inspiration.  Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Wil's post (for some reason it won't load), but ironman is just the beginning. There are so many places you can go from there depending on what you love. Are you fast? Then train to break the next time barrier. Do you like that it gets you outdoors? Try X-terra. Do you like the distance? There are swim races as long as 26 miles, multi-day bike tours (with or without sleeping in between), 100+ mile trail runs. Or you could try adventure racing. And if they haven't organized something long enough for you, go out and organize it yourself. Ironman gives you the fitness and the versatility to go out and try ANYTHING. The Ironman finish line is not the end of the road, never put a limit on what your body is capable of.