October 11, 2005

The Dream

Here's the deal, and I'm only going to say this once, so pay attention... my one long-standing, undying, lifetime dream is to race in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. This race, held in Kona, Hawaii every year, is the end-all, be-all for the sport - whatever end-all, be-all means. I never understood that saying, I mean "end-all" sounds like a bad thing; like everything in the world is coming to an end. Armegeddon and all that stuff, yo. (I like saying "yo" at the end of a sentence. Makes me sound cool.) On the other hand, "be-all" is quite uplifting in a "be all that you can be" type of way, minus the guns and drill sergeants and such and so forth. So apparently "end-all be-all" is a yin yang type of thing. You know, black and white. Good and evil. Cats and dogs sleeping together. Oh look, I've digressed again...

Back to the Ironman World Championships... The race is often considered the single most challenging one day athletic event in the world. And you know what I say to that? Bring it on, baby. In the checklist of "things to do in life," finishing the toughest race in the world is a pretty damn good notch in the proverbial belt. Considering that I'm the type of guy who likes a new challenge, I'd be hard pressed to find a challenge as challenging as that one. So bring it on, baby.

You may ask, what am I doing to fulfill this dream to race the Kona Ironman? I suppose if I said "nothing," that doesn't make me look as macho as the aforementioned usage of "yo" does. But the fact of the matter is, there isn't that much I can do at this point. When I first became infatuated with the race a couple of decades ago, I could've signed up, paid my 50 bucks or whatever the hell it costs back then, and competed along with all the other masochistic morons out there. Did I do this? Of course not, don't be silly. Why would I want to fulfill my one true dream so easily?! Nope, not me. Instead, I waited as long as possible until, finally, the race became limited to a select few and there was no way for me to get in. Now you have to qualify to get into the race. In order to qualify, you need to be one of the fastest people in your age group. Honestly, I have as much of a chance of qualifying for the World Championships as my grandfather does - and he's dead.

Now I'm not the slowest guy in the world. In fact, I fancy myself a pretty good athlete. I always come in the top 40% of people overall. Top 40%, though, doesn't get me to Hawaii. In fact, the other day I was thinking that I could win my age group if there were a separate racing group that consisted of 35-39 year olds, who weigh under 150 pounds, ride a Kestrel bike and have a last name that begins with the letter "M". Then, in a sudden depressing moment of clarity, I realized that I STILL wouldn't win: my friend Brian M., who is a couple of years younger, a couple of pounds heavier and rides the same bike as me, would kick my ass three ways to Hoboken. (I just made that saying up. Feel free to use it.)

I still believe, though. I believe that at some time, some how, some moment in my life will lead me to racing in Kona at the World Championships. In the meantime, I just sit here all alone in front of my computer, munching on some two day old, low fat cheese stick, typing up this nonsense to nobody. Pathetic, really. I'm getting depressed. Pass the corn nuts, please.

The 2005 Ironman World Championships is taking place this Saturday. Catherine and I are flying to Hawaii on Friday for a 10 day vacation, beginning with a day watching the Ironman race in Kona. In fact, Brian M. (mentioned above) will be out there too. I can't wait. I'm told that the race is one of the most motivating events to experience. Touching, heart-wrenching, inspiring and all that shit. I'm expecting to want to swim, bike and run myself silly after seeing this race. I'm expecting that I'll want to fulfill my dream even more after seeing this race. I'm expecting that I'll be so eager to race Ironman Lake Placid, nothing can stop me. I have very high expectations.

I thought maybe you'd get inspired from this photo. You're welcome.