So, I think the real idea behind tapering is to drive you absolutely insane until you’re about to explode, then you unleash that fury on race day.
How is it that something like a race can literally possess such major real estate in your brain? I think it’s because, training this hard chips away at your heart and soul and forces us to evolve into our truer selves. A lot of people wonder why in the hell I would do an Ironman. Most think it’s to prove something or for the medal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, and the people closest to me are starting to understand.
In reality, the race is a ceremony that recognizes the work. The work that is driving us to become better stewards of life. We push our limits because that is our responsibility as human beings, and sometimes it takes a carrot like Ironman to ignite a fire that’s been smoldering for years.
From a purely philosophical perspective, the more engaged, respectful, and evolved we are as people, the more positive impact it has on the world. Society has a tendency to focus on the wrong things, like acquiring tangible goods or thinking happiness will come from someone else. It’s easy to get stuck in that trap. The longer I train, the more I am able to grasp that happiness truly does come from inside, and the simple things in life. The very idea that I am able to train for an Ironman humbles me more each day. Yesterday morning, for example, our open water swim group took an adventure out to, and around the island. It was literally uncharted water. (For what it’s worth, the backside of that island looked pretty much like the front, but we’d have never known if we didn’t go). When I finally cruised back into shore, I stood waste deep, looked back into the sunrise and felt incredibly lucky.
What a gift to be able to swim. What a gift to be able to bike. What a gift to be able to run.
In 8 days I will combine those activities to cover 140.6 miles. It will be challenging, painful, and cost more energy than I’ve ever exerted. And when I’m done, there is no doubt in my mind I will appreciate even smaller things. Like being able to walk, to stand, and share a beer with family and friends.
The ceremony will fade away, and shortly after, I will be in a deep sleep. The next morning I will wake up, reflect on my journey, and know that, beyond a doubt, I am living life.