Spoiler Alert: The decision has been made. No ironman this year for me. If you’re wondering how & why I came to my decision, read on, my friends.
I’ve been contemplating it for a while. Should I sign up for an ironman this October? I’m turning 30 next year, and I thought it’d be great to have completed an ironman before my 30th birthday—which is kind of ironic, because I couldn’t care less about age.
One day it’s this. The next it’s that. Sometimes I go back-and-forth multiple times the same day. It depends on who I’m talking to.
Today started with more confusion, but quickly turned into clarity.
The Bike Ride
I began a bike ride with a friend of mine, and a dozen of her riding buddies. The original idea was to ride 50 miles. That’s an insane amount of mileage for someone who has never ridden more than 25 before. And these guys are veteran cyclists. Not all were blazing fast (although some definitely were), but they all knew what they were doing, for sure.
My mind spinning faster than my wheels
It didn’t take long to realize there was no way I could keep up. A few of them hung back with me to try and pull me back into the group. The red lights helped me catch up, too. The group calls themselves the “Gentlemen of the Road & Ladies of the Lanes,” and while I might fit in with my bedside manner, I certainly can’t hang with my lackluster cycling ability. Shortly after coming to this realization, my mind went to work…
An ironman contains a 112-mile bike ride. If this is what 32 feels like, I wonder what 112 is like. And after my 1500m swim at the Jamestown International Triathlon last weekend, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around a 2.4-mile swim (approx 3800m).
Basically, as it stands right now, completing each one of these two things (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike) would arguably be the two most difficult physical challenges I’ve ever attempted (and I’ve run 50-miles in the mountains & competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder).
Tunnel Vision, Proof & Quitting
I noticed myself drifting towards a mindset that I had 2 years ago, just before I quit ultrarunning. I had this tunnel vision that I had to finish a certain race, run a farther distance or tackle the biggest & baddest of obstacles. For what? To prove something? To be the best? No. I was never going to be an elite runner. That was never my intention. I had nothing to prove back then, and I have nothing to prove now.
One of the greatest things that happened when I quit ultrarunning was the return of fun. Running was fun again. It was just as much a social experience as it was a training mechanism. I also learned to not be so hard on myself. There were no runs to skip… because there were no runs planned. I ran when I wanted to, or when others were running.
Physically Possible. Life Consuming.
Back to the bike ride…
I didn’t want the 32-mile bike ride to discourage me too much. I know my physical limits (and capabilities) pretty well. I’m not discounting the thought that I still had enough time this summer to prepare for & complete an ironman race in late October. Physically, I could do it. But the time & effort required would mean sacrificing many other things… other things that, over the past few years, I’ve come to greatly appreciate & incorporate into my life. Not to mention, the training I’d have to log to prepare for an ironman—well, it just wouldn’t be fun.
The iron-distance triathlon isn’t going anywhere. It’ll be there whenever I’m ready to tackle it. And right now is not my time.
This will free myself up to do other things—things that I have decided are important to me, but have neglected in the past.
- Find a beautiful young lady, develop an incredible relationship, and do a bunch of amazing things together
- Spend time with friends… and not work so darn much
- Focus on growing my business… but only during business hours (see previous point)
- Try new things. This world is so interesting, I’d be a fool to spend it doing something that I won’t enjoy.
- Travel… to the world’s most interesting places
A pat on the back… and a reminder for all of us
Another decision that I’m not only happy with, but very proud of. Proud of myself for setting priorities, and actively making decisions to live out my life accordingly. It sounds like the most basic of concepts, but I didn’t always live my life with such intention.
If you take anything away from this, please re-read that last paragraph. And keep this in mind…
We don’t always make the right decision. And not everything we do in life will be fun. But everything comes with a choice. And, as it is your life, it only seems right that you should be the one making it.