Saturday, August 18, 2007

At No Point

At no point in the first 37 years of my life did I ever plan on becoming an Ironman. In fact, it can be safely said that at no point in the first 35 years of my life did I ever plan on even becoming a marathoner. And, yet, here we are.

Seven days and a wake up away from Ironman Louisville, arguably one of the toughest days I will ever face in my life. Apparently, planning and doing aren't necessarily mutually inclusive.

It's been a long journey from there to here. After 10 years in the Navy and three years of college, I was overweight and out of shape. I was pushing 220 pounds, wearing size 38 pants that were starting to get tight, and suffering from an array of weight related issues. Another list of things I never planned.

The next twist of fate on the journey was being diagnosed with sarcoidosis. A benign enough condition, it did put me into the care of a pulmonary specialist that asked me to run a few miles a couple times each week to monitor pulmonary function. Despite a general hatred of running, I followed the doctors orders, and those occassional short runs turned into more frequent runs of longer distances. While I didn't gain a love of running, I did gain an appreciation of the challenges of being a runner.

Over a period of years, those distances started adding up, and I racked up several half-marathon finishes, and signed up for my first marathon. Oddly enough, it was the near ridicule of a co-worker that pushed me into that first full marathon race. His comments motivated me to sign up for a race, regardless of whether I finished it. The goal was to at least start it.

Even after completing numerous full marathons, the concept of doing a triathlon never entered my mind until I was challenged by a group of 8th graders to do one. And that was sort of like being double dog dared to eat worms. No matter how difficult the task might be, it must be done.

It wasn't until Roman Mica and the other founders of raceAthlete started talking about the opportunity to "Train Like a Professional" that I considered signing up for an Ironman. Wisconsin, that is. The irony is how upset I was after being unable to register for IM MOO. I was angry about being unable to sign up for an event I never planned on running. Go figure!

Enter IM Louisville. After missing Wisconsin, the opportunity presented by a brand new race seemed like an early Christmas present. And so, here we are.

In just over 7 days, I will toe the line in Louisville, Kentucky with about 2500 other triathletes. I will be wearing bib number 1675. And I will do all I can to set a good precedent for future athletes wearing that number in Louisville. Since we don't have historic information for this race, I went to some of the other races from this year.

CDA - M45-49, 14:01:07, Overall place, 1401
USA - M45-49, 11:27:04, Overall place, 324
Arizona - M45-49, 11:49:33, Overall place 466

That's some pretty good company. If I fall somewhere between the fastest and slowest times, I'll consider it an amazing day. If I continue the streak and finish the race, I'll call it a great day.

If Athlete Tracker is up for Louisville (far from a given, at this point), you'll be able to track my progress there. In addition, there will be a special guest blogger making periodic updates on this site via phone updates from Mrs. Pol.


Nancy Toby said...

We will be watching and cheering for you! Wave to us when you go over the timing mats!!

Wendy said...

So excited for you, IP!

Rest assured I'll be cheering from home!

Spokane Al said...

What a great story. And IM Louisville will be a great end to the current chapter of a long, successful tale.

Good luck.

John K said...

Best of luck, IP. Except at this point, you don't need luck. You've got everything it takes.

Looking forward to hearing the stories when you get back, and seeing who wins the "Tom's Time" raffle at work. :)

Bigun said...

Darn, IP, I'll be in Chicago on Sunday and will miss watching you and other Bloggie peeps race your hearts out. I'll know you are giving it your all, and I'm confident you'll kick ass! Look forward to the reports of your success!

Duane said...

Well I'm glad I will get to see you so this thing in person!

WADDLER26.2 said...

I am working at transiition 1 and the finish line until midnight. If you need anything let me know. I will be in late Friday night.

a.maria said...

duuuuuude!!!! i'm so excited. i can't wait to hear about your race, its going to be EPIC!! you are SOOOO ready for this. i can't imagine what its like sitting a week out from ironman.

craziness. enjoy it, man. enjoy it.

Rural Girl said...

Here you go. I'm very excited for you. You are ready for the challenge.

My computer will be on from the beginning to the end. Here's to ya!

Vickie said...

Best of luck to you in the days ahead, and hopefully we will meet up finally! You've come a long way for this day to finally happen!

Veeg said...

You are so close!

Go big brother, go! :)

Taconite Boy said...

Your going to have a great day!

Enjoy the unique opportunity of Ironman!

IronSnoopy said...

Good luck! Your training has been fantastic!

See you down there.

I had Cadbury's for us...but I shoulda' known they wouldn't last from Easter until now. :)

1HappyAthlete said...

Best of luck in KY!!