I have been kicking around an idea for about a month now. It started out innocently enough. In a “what if” kind of way. But much like the idea of running my first marathon back in 2006, the more I thought about it, the less ridiculous it seemed. The less ridiculous it seemed, the scarier it became. Because once something doesn’t seem ridiculous, it starts becoming possible. And once it becomes possible, there is not a long way to travel before it becomes likely.
Likely is the final stop before real. And after thinking about it long and hard by myself, I set-up a lunch appointment to talk it through with my best friend who always knows what to say. When to encourage me and when to tell me that perhaps I should reevaluate things. Luckily for me, I was smart enough to marry her, which makes these conversations all the more important.
We laid out the pros and cons, the compromise solutions and decided that I should indeed give it a go.
A race that one does not enter into lightly.
2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike. Full Marathon (26.2 mi.)
I have told more than 100 people over the years that you should never train to run a marathon unless you feel like you NEED to. It’s not enough to want to. Wants are fleeting and over the course of 18-20 weeks of training for a marathon, you have to need it to keep you going.
I told myself a couple of years ago when I learned to swim and competed in my first Triathlon on my 44th birthday that I would never do an Ironman unless I felt like it was something that I NEEDED to do.
Well right now, for a variety of reasons – I need this. And over the next 36 weeks I am going to prepare to execute a race plan that I will spend months preparing. Training, Nutrition, weight training, swimming, cycling and of course running. Endurance over speed. Technique over strength. Efficiency over all else.
When the cannon goes off on May 17th in the Woodlands outside of Houston TX, 2,700 athletes are going to start the swim all at once. It will be a mass start like none other that I have ever experienced.
There will be 5,400 arms flailing and 5,400 legs kicking all at the same time looking for clean water. My day will start at 7:00 a.m. and will not end for 11 1/2 hours +/- if everything goes right.
If things go wrong – there is no telling how long our day will be. But I always remind myself how far we’ve come with our swim from that first day on April 11, 2011. Below is the simply entry into my training log.
I sucked at this.
That’s o.k., we all have to start somewhere. But it is important to remember where you come from. Who you are. What you are about.
I’m a working class kid from a working class family. I’m a Dad and a husband. A son and a brother. I’m a boss to a few, and a friend to many. I was blessed with a little athletic ability, but nothing remarkable. I have a tolerance for pain that is greater than some. Perhaps many. But it can be somewhat of a curse at times. It can be to my own detriment on just about any day except race day.
On race day, that is when it becomes an advantage. There has never been a race course that we have walked off of. Not our first marathon with an IT Band injury, not the 2012 Boston Marathon in 88 degree heat or any race in between. And come hell or high-water, it is not going to happen on May 17, 2014 either.
With Dom’s name on my shoes and Landry’s on my TRI Kit we’ll keep pushing until we have our moment. When Mike Reilly pauses for a moment and says:
“Joe Marruchella …. YOU …. ARE …. AN …. IRONMAN.”