Monday, August 22, 2011

The Psychology of Ironman

Ugh, I give. I can't make it. I won't be participating in the Ironman Louisville.

I lost a month of training between my recent move and my job, and I'm just not ready to do an Ironman. I'm throwing in the towel. Since there are no other events between now and 2012, I resign myself to the fact that my schedule and my life were too just complicated to add Ironman training.

It's more important for me to say "I can't do it," rather than go and not do well. I'd rather wait. I'm humbling myself to all my readers by saying that, despite the fact I thought I could do it, I can't. The lesson from this is being able to recognize that it is so important for me to be able to qualify for Hawaii that I wouldn't risk doing an Ironman if I risk injury and be out of commission for months.

I'm not giving up the dream, by no means. I've made what France calls "a decision humans make all the time." If I was trying to be superhuman, I'd go, not do well, injure myself, and then be really upset.

My sons, who registered with me, are still going. Obviously, they're going with the idea that they're finishing, but both are suffering from injuries that may prevent them from doing so. I think there's a different mindset for Ironman competitors. In my 30s or 40s, the age my sons are now, I would have gone anyway. Now that I'm a little bit older and training is more important to me than the actual event, I want to give myself a chance to qualify. My sons have a different end goal than I do, and they've therefore made a different decision than I have.

All three of us, to even be thinking about doing the Ironman, must have something mentally disconnected. We're all a little nuts, they're just a little crazier than me right now. I'm sure there will come a time when I'll be crazier than they are. It's important as a family for them to live their dreams, not mine. I'll follow them on the internet as they race, even if I won't physically be there.

I always tell everyone it's good to set a goal. Well, the day I decided not to go to Lousiville, I registered for Miami Man Half Ironman in November. It fits my schedule, so I won't have any excuse for not doing it. Plus it's a half Ironman distance, so theoretically I could do it tomorrow.

This event in Miami isn't a qualifier, so it's really a trial run for me to get back into competition with other triathletes. I'm looking forward to the fact that it's local, and I can leave home, do the event and come back home.

While it's painful not to go, I'm proud of what i think is a mature decision. The minute you become disappointed you're not doing something, set another goal. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get somewhere. I hope that everyone reading this blog will come and cheer me on in Miami.

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