October 14, 2007

The Fire Inside

For years the only Ironman race I wanted to do was in Kona. It's the grandaddy of 'em all. It's where it all began. If you're going to do one, why not do The One. I had no desire to even consider another Ironman besides Hawaii. It barely even crossed my mind, and when it did, I felt dirty. I felt like I was cheating myself.

I suppose I can be an all-or-nothing type of guy.

Year after year I entered myself into the Kona lottery. I came up with the most creative things to say on my application. I paid the extra fifty bucks for the Passport Club, whatever the heck that is, to make sure I had the best chance of success. The moment I entered the lottery I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would be accepted. It was not too dissimilar from the feeling of every state lottery participant - that they, for sure, will be the one to walk home with the 40 mill.

But, alas, I came up empty time and again. Qualifying wasn't even an option. I'm not that fast. My only hope is waiting another 40 years and hoping I outlast any other potential 80-84 year old competitors.

After years of seeing my Ironman dreams fade away into a lottery losers mental maelstrom, I finally decided to wave the white towel. In 2006 I gave in, tucked away my ego and decided to race Ironman Lake Placid. Though I may never get to Kona, I would live a life of regrets if I didn't do at least one Ironman.

So I jumped on the proverbial treadmill of Ironman training. My life revolved around the 15-20 hours a week. Swim, bike, run, eat, rest, stretch, eat, sleep, eat, repeat. I became engrossed in the monotony of it all. It was enthralling. I succumbed to the mental energy and nervous anxiety that infiltrated every corner of my life. It was a roller coaster of emotions - an amazing experience in hindsight.

I raced Ironman Lake Placid and finished. It was incredible - one of the best days of my life. When I emerged from the other end, I was an Ironman. I had lived my dream.

I've now signed up for Ironman Arizona and am jumping back upon that treadmill of training. I will, once again, go the distance.

But I have to admit, as I sit here and watch the Hawaii Ironman Championships on my little computer screen, I can't help but feel the energy of it all. The lure of the island and history of the race burns through my monitor and awakens that once dormant corner of my brain. The fire still burns.

I suppose its time to play the lottery again...

(And a huge hearty congrats to all the Ironman finishers! What a race this year, eh?)


No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

I actually found myself clapping and getting a little teary-eyed in the last 2 miles for Chris MacCormack. WHAT a race!

Unfortunately, men in their late 30s and 40s are a dime a dozen in the Ironman, which makes it harder to qualify. Why don't you try signing up in the women's 20-24 category... in Malaysia. I think you'd have a pretty good chance then.

Jens Hinrichs said...

Hi J.
I just read your blog and found:
I suppose its time to play the lottery again.
I have never heared about these lottery, is it open for all countries?
I was also not the fastes Ironman on earth, so to get the qualifing time will be close to inposible for me....
Please explain me the lottery....

j. said...

yes, jens, anybody can enter the lottery. you can find out more by clicking here.