I was laying around in the foggy haze last night, trying to come up with a blog post after my Badgers laid an egg against Ole Miss, and just didn’t feel like writing. Then (as if we need more proof the world works in mystical ways) I got a text message from Racer K that said, “I sent you an email.” What I found in my inbox was an explosion of inspiration that proved, not only do training teammates pick you up when you’re dragging on the swim, bike, or run, they come through when your brain needs a break from blogging. The following is an unedited piece submitted by Racer K for Crushing Iron readers.
Running the Ironman and what it means to a non-athlete- Racer K
You bother me. Yes, you- the one getting to second base with the mouse. Stop that shit. What is wrong with you? Is life not satisfactory? Do you find the need to click your way to Nirvana? Do you need to read about someone else to get you out of bed in the morning? Maybe none of the above and you sleep in late. Well, congratulations for you. Let me be the one to slowly try and convert you to a new life.
Your lack of desire and will power makes your ancestors weep. Speaking your name fills my mouth with a taste of charcoal. Harden the f up (That is a trademark I am sad to report- but I have no financial incentive to promote that company- yet?) Evaluate your life and live a little. Chase a dream. Push yourself. Bloody hell, what is wrong with you? I said I would do that slowly. I lied, didn’t I? Suck it up. Like so many others in your life, I lied.
If you made it past the first two paragraphs you have already shown that you are a notch above your peers. You don’t care what people think and you know your own strength. My berating didn’t phase you. My words didn’t offend you. Damn, I like you. We have weeded out the weak.
So… Who are you then? Maybe your life is shit now but you aren’t dead yet. Or maybe it is amazing and your peers want a piece of your pie. Or maybe, just maybe, you are one of those amazing jerks that lie somewhere in between. Somehow you have everything people want (In this case you are either a jerk or lack imagination). Whatever. Life is a roller coaster. It doesn’t stop for anyone. Get ready for the next hill.
I’m guessing that 90% of you (I didn’t do the research-, but then again I don’t care) are not in “jail”. You live a life where you decide to set the alarm clock. You wake up. You prepare. You leave for work… maybe you do a “good” job… and then you go home. You decide how much CSI you watch. (Or Matlock) Maybe you think you are the first person that can sing well in Nashville (sucker)? Maybe you think about the next fast food restraint to try. You think about the things that make you happy. We all do. We all want to be special. We all have dreams. What are they and what do they say about you?
To most people I am a mediocre individual. At this point in my life I am a doctor of mathematics who takes a long time to publish, I am an marathon runner who is well behind the average pace, and I am an Ironman that just wants to finish. For those of you who care or put stock in such crap, I am also single with no children. Am I just average? Who am I?
It took me several years to answer that. I had a family. I was settled. I had my picket fence. I had a job. But when I thought about the question I had doubts. Despite my many low points between asking the question and answering it, I am now about to build myself up a bit. And I believe in the things I am about to say. I am doing this to remind myself. If you are squeamish or will hate me for self-promotion, skip ahead. But if you skip ahead know that you are a jerk.
Ironman, marathon runner, and Doctor of Philosophy,
East Nasty, 12 South Runners, X3 Athlete, (former) AORTA member,
90% Vegetarian (locals will recognize that as a Carrie style vegetarian)
Published researcher of mathematics,
M.S. student in Strength and Human performance with an emphasis on nutrition,
former certified Cisco network associate and professional
And I’m sure some other pretty cool things I’m forgetting.
Damn my amazingness. (say it till you believe it)
If you think that is average then you clearly must be a bad ass and I want to take you to dinner. Or at least ask you out for coffee.
Even these things are in the past. The bottom line is this-
What I am is changing. I am not a single point in time. I am getting better every day.
This is what the ironman means to a non-athlete.
These have all been lofty dreams. To this point (3/22/2013) I have never raced a race that I knew I would be able to finish easily. I know my coach hates that last sentence and I do too- but there is a point. My goals are ALWAYS ahead of me. I never look back. I NEVER cut myself short. My goals guide me, change me, and improve me. Say it again- My goals are ALWAYS ahead of me. I may not be Scott Jurek or Luc Van Lierde.. or any other name that you are looking up right now to figure out what I’m talking about….
Yet… unlike so many people I haven’t stopped trying to race them. I know I am not there now, don’t laugh. But damn, I am NOT done yet. I will race and improve until I cannot walk anymore. When I cannot walk, I will pull myself. When I cannot pull myself, I will crawl, I will hobble, and when I can not hobble I will roll. (No doubt someone has said that before me, but I do not have the reference.) My goals do not slow me down. They are not comfortable or easy to achieve. I am the under dog. I am the person with no background. I am the nerd with asthma that cannot breath. I am the man who could not run a mile three years ago. Sad for you if you think I will not get better. I am also the one who will crush this race under 13 hours (what we call a 12 hour race.) That’s right, despite holding back from my friends I do have goals. And guess what- I am not done!!!!
I do not push myself towards something I know I can do- I push myself towards something a little higher. Something some people think I cannot achieve. And I love it when I prove them wrong. I love getting better.
I like knowing that I may fail.
I like knowing that I didn’t.
I like changing. I like being just a little bit better.
What else you ask? I love that Fab 5. They push me, they support me, they make me faster and I believe in them. My TEAM makes me a better person. I admit I am not that old and do not have all the answers. But I have learned this- no one makes it through this world alone. My team and the people that I love push me and support me.
I do not race for the approval of others. I do not race to compete. (Although, for the sake of friendship, I will say that I will finish a minute in front of Jim Schwan. Better get than damn ankle healed!) I race to be a better person. I race to achieve personal goals. I race to escape personal problems in my life. I race to reach Nirvana, not click. I race to see the world in ways people said I never could. I will not stop. I will not back down. I will get better. I will surprise all of you and I will thank you for the opportunity to do it.
What are your goals? What the hell holds you back? Who helps you and can they help you get past you barriers? Why do you accept the people that think you will never be on the podium? Do they deserve a place in your life? My friends helped me. They are helping me. I have never been this focused or this confidant. I have never been this alive.
The only thing that keeps you from the finish line or your time is yourself. Let that shit go. Push yourself. Pain is normal. Fear is expected. You must accept and pass over these things. Trust your friends. Trust your training. Trust your coach (or plan?) Race hard. Train smart. Prove that you are more than people think. Prove that you are more than people could think. Prove that you are changing, that you are not a fixed point.
If this seems like a combative post.. well.. tough shit. You have to be ready to fight to achieve your dreams. You have to prepare yourself for setbacks. What are you ready to fight for? For your sake I hope you have something.
In my humble opinion, fighting for something you love is the best way to improve.
– Racer K.