Thursday, October 16, 2008
100 Miles and 100 things to think about...
I wish I could say I saw this on my last ride...but this is what we call a Tennessee Bird Dog! HA!
When you're riding 100 miles solo, you have all kinds of time to think, contemplate, visualize race day, think some more, eat a little, pee a little, stop a time or two, think some more, wonder who ever lived in that now abandoned house, who is buried in all these old family cemeteries and who IS that guy that waves to me every week? Does anyone really buy the "tomatoes and corn" from the tomatoe and corn guy (He spells it with an 'e'.)? How many turtles made it across the road today? Do I really look like a tasty treat to that dog? Do they wonder what the hell I'm doing out here? Are the turkey vulchers looking at ME like I'm the one that's dead...and they're just waiting to scrape me up off the ground? What did die over there because it freakin wreaks? Who's yard am I going to pee in? Would they even care if they saw me? If I got caught in a bad storm, would one of the farmers give me a ride home or at least a space in their barn? Do they spay their cats? The list goes on. I bet I came up with 1,000 things to think about last weekend...
I DID have one great revelation on my last 100 miler - that Ironman Medal - has almost NOTHING to do with that ONE DAY and EVERYTHING it took to get ready for that ONE day. As I rode past all my usual spots, same people, same farms and farmers, I came to that conclusion. For sure that medal, that day, is the REWARD for a years worth of preparation and sacrifice...of early nites to bed and long days worth of work outs, missed parties and happy hours, missed meals with family and sandwiches standing over the counter by yourself, eating in the dark because everyone else is in bed already. It's a medal for getting up to run when 'normal people' are coming home from the bar or getting up 'in the middle of the nite' for their first pee. It's a medal for enduring that funky skin infection you got from the nasty lake we swim in every weekend (Abby!), for breaking your cooter bone on the best bike seat on the planet because no one is really meant to sit all the way bent over for ~6 hours (I really do need to use 'that' again you know), for the wart on your foot and the rash in your nether regions. It's a medal for getting up when you didn't want to or going to swim on a cold nite when the only thing on your mind is hot chocolate and a fire. It's a medal for your family that held you up when you wanted to give up and for being proud of you in the process - side note - one of Ryan's favorite things, in a mixed crowd of non-triathletes...some how it comes out that I'm doing Ironman and the conversation goes like this (picture 35ish, drinking, smoking, 20+lb overweight guy) - Ironman is HOW long, 2.4/112/26.2, WOW, how long will that take you?, I don't really know yet, I've never done one but I've got 17 hours to finish. Wow, you know, I could do the bike and run part but I just can't swim, Oh really, yeah, the swim can be tough for people. (Here's where Ryan, my greatest defender comes in) - Oh, you could do the bike and run part, reeeeaallllly? Well, Missy's ride will start at 5:30 tomorrow morning and go until about 11:30, then go out for a run afterwards for good measure - you STILL ready for the bike and run part? That usually shuts them down pretty quickly. It's hilarious, but I digress.
The medal, the day, it represents so much, so much more than 140.6 miles. Until now, I never really understood why people dragged their families across the finish line at Ironman. Now, I know why AND I also know why MY family will make me go it alone. I can't believe this 'year' is almost coming to an end. Kind of makes me sad and happy all at the same time.
Sorry to get sappy on all y'all, I try not to get too serious because, well, that's just boring.