In a previous post, I made it abundantly clear that I have never been "That Guy." However, when it comes to endurance events at work, more and more people have come to view me as "That Guy." Experienced marathoner, you want "That Guy." Insane dude training for an Ironman? That Guy. Answers to training questions, or even a whole training program? That Guy. A training partner for those long sessions? That Guy.
It is wonderful that so many co-workers, family, and friends acknowledge the journey I have undertaken. The support, encouragement, and interest others have shown helps make the hard work that much more worthwhile. And it is awesome to see so many others express interest in different events after seeing the accomplishments of those of us who push ourselves to achieve our goals, whether it's walking a 5K or running a marathon.
Of course, being "That Guy" demands a lot of personal improvement, as well. Sometimes, supporting others in their efforts requires more flexibility than most Ironman training programs are designed to withstand. Completing a training run might mean flipping your bike and run days. Long runs interfere with swim sessions. And 90-minute runs turn into 4-hour LSD runs. And races that might never have been entered become mandatory training so you can run next to the first timer.
And painful as it is, this is one aspect of endurance athletics I will always cherish. Helping another achieve a goal they considered impossible is far more rewarding than any finish I've ever experienced. Bear in mind I haven't completed Ironman, yet. That might change.
The runs I completed this past weekend were longer and took more time than my training plan dictated. And they were somewhat slower than I would have run on my own. But they had benefits all their own. It helped my co-worker complete his longest run ever, and gave him the confidence to know he CAN finish a marathon three weeks from now. It helped a young man know that he CAN complete a 5K run two weeks from now.
And it helped an aspiring Ironman understand that 8-hour training weekends can be survived. That's an important bit of information I might not have without the help of others.