Looking Back at Joyful Pain
As I write this, it has been 27 hours since I crossed the finish line at Ironman North Carolina. Although my mind is ready to move on to the next big thing, my body is reliving the pain of the race.
That’s what it feels like to be an Ironman.
- It’s the nervousness of waiting for the swim start, then getting pummeled by hundreds of swimmers and trying to fend off nausea caused by drinking too much salt water.
- It’s the relief of climbing out of the water to be greeted by friendly volunteers and the adrenaline rush of racing a quarter of a mile to my bike.
- It’s the fear of riding the bike over a metal drawbridge and the excitement of having done it without incident.
- It’s the arrogance of yelling at the head wind to “BRING IT ON”
- It’s the excitement of seeing that special person on the sidelines at mile 38.
- It’s the horror of seeing an ambulance on the bike course and a fellow athlete who is face down on the pavement.
- It’s the sadness of thinking how hard that athlete worked to get to this race to have it end so horribly.
- It’s cheering with the spectators at the entrance to T2.
- It’s the pain of the muscle cramps that won’t allow the legs to function and the blisters: those nasty blisters.
- It’s the warmth and friendliness of the volunteers.
- It’s the companionship of hundreds of others who are suffering too.
- It’s that feeling of renewed energy at the head of the finish chute.
- It’s the satisfaction of crossing the finish line with a good friend.
- It’s an overwhelming emotional catharsis as the events of the day are retold among friends and family.
That is what it feels like to be an Ironman.
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling