I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga last Wednesday. It sold out in three minutes, Active crashed, people were mad, but I had a seamless and prefect registration experience. I don’t know if that’s a sign that it was meant to be, but my credit card was charged $700+ (yes, I chose to pay that much for the torture), and I’m officially registered.
I know I was hesitating in signing up for a half Ironman a few weeks ago, but herein lies all my confessions and thoughts about registering for what will be the biggest athletic event of my life:
I read a lot of blogs, and two years ago this November, Page at Twenty-Six and Then Some signed up for Ironman Arizona without being in possession of a bike and without a lot of swimming background. Immediately I was hooked to her journey. Since then I read every post she publicized about her training, and when she rolled her ankle only weeks before Arizona and couldn’t compete, I cried with her (not metaphorically). When she recommitted and signed up for Ironman Couer d’Alene 2013 I realized I wanted to do an Ironman one day too. I didn’t own a bike then, but I knew it would happen one day (with heavy emphasis on the future).
When IronGirl reached out to me to do their Clermont sprint triathlon, and I finally bought a bike, the little wheels somewhere in the back of my very analytical and constantly processing brain started turning. ‘Maybe I’ll do an Ironman one day,’ I thought. Maybe this was the first step in my journey. I started becoming interested in reading recaps, talking to people I knew who had done them, and plotting my own little plan to one day compete in that hellish race that is all consuming and all life changing.
When Michele at NYCRunningMama announced she was doing IM Lake Placid without having done a triathlon, I was instantly hooked on her journey as well. This meant two bloggers I read (who are admittedly tons faster than me in the run) without triathlon experience had signed up for a full Ironman. Maybe I could do it sooner than one day.
So I got a stress fracture, and though I despised every second of it and the time I wasn’t allowed to run, it helped me become well-acquainted with my bike (which still doesn’t have a name). I got up to riding 40 miles comfortably without having to take a nap later in that day. And the flame in my heart for endurance events only grew as I started signing up for and competing in triathlons this summer. I knew about a week after buying my bike that I’d try to do a 70.3 this year, though it took me a lot longer to talk to people about it or sign up.
And the thought that maybe I could do Ironman Florida next year was a thought in the back of my brain that I didn’t want to openly admit for fear that people would think I couldn’t do it. This is the first time that my fear of other people’s opinions have honestly made me question whether I really could do something, no matter how much my heart and mind was set on it. I secretly signed up to volunteer Ironman Florida to snag a spot in the registration line for the 2014 race (because Florida sells out so fast you pretty much have to volunteer to be guaranteed a spot). I didn’t tell a soul about that and honestly forgot about it until I got an email this past week about whether I’d be there or not for sure. And over time I thought, ‘no, you probably can’t do an Ironman…’. And I let the doubts outweigh my own confidence in myself and my abilities.
But in mid-August Ironman made an insane announcement. They were adding an Ironman in Chattanooga!! The city where I was born and grew up and went to high school and all my family still lives will have an Ironman! I ran an 18 miler last Thanksgiving on a lot of the roads that will make up the Ironman run course! How could I not think about participating in this event? My family will be there. I could sleep in my bed the night before the event. I would see spectators that I know who won’t even know that I was doing the race! And I went home and told Tim about my thoughts. His response? “If you want to do it you should do it.”
But would everyone think I am crazy? Probably. But should that stop me? No. I needed to make this decision for myself. I spoke to my training friends here (who encouraged me and supported me and thought I could do it as they have all along the way), I emailed Page and Michele (who both responded with long emails explaining why they thought I could do it), and I talked to my husband (who supported me even though he didn’t understand it). Because he’s in graduate school right now and spends a lot of time studying when he’s not at work, there’s a lot of time we’re not together as it is. He’ll be done with his program in December 2014, and then we can see how our life changes after that.
So I made up my mind. I was going to go for it. And when Beth told me she thought it’d sell out quickly and that I should be online right when it opened, I opted to do so. And I got my spot.
And then I sat on my decision for a week. I needed time to digest the decision before sharing it. I was worried (and still am) that there would be a lot of people who not only thought I was crazy but also thought I couldn’t do it. And that made me nervous.
But I can tell you with 100% certainty that I will do everything in my power for the next year to make sure that I get to the starting line and then the finish line of the greatest race I will probably ever compete in. I will put in long days of training, I will adjust my nutrition, I will hydrate, and I will do anything I don’t know I need to do but will find out along the way.
And as for you? I will share my journey along the way. And I just hope that I’ll have your support, as I always have. So much of the reason that I love the blogging and social media community is because of the positive nature of the people I interact with. I look forward to hearing about your journeys to your goals and having you along to share mine.
And with that, I’ll end this long post. That whole saying, “do one thing everyday that scares you?” I’ve got mine covered for over a year now. Every time I think about this race it scares me.