Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It takes a village

There's an african proverb that says "it takes a village to raise a child." As an athelete and more importantly, as a human being, I'd take that a step further and just say that "it takes a village."

At what point did we grow up so big and strong that we ceased to need each other anymore?

I am an athlete, which means that I think I'm strong or at least capable of being so. And while that might be true (time will tell) it helps to know that I can be even stronger with a little help from my friends.

I got an email from my Running Room coach today, asking how things were going. I excitedly explained all the specialists I had helping me with my back and how fast I was recovering and maybe I'll even do the Seattle marathon in November. Two months isn't a lot of time, she reminded me. It's better to be healthy.

Oh yeah. Why do I keep forgetting that?

Some people read my blog as it chronicles my way through my various injuries and suggest that I might want to rethink doing Ironman next year. Maybe they're right. I realize that I am frequently injured but sports have always been that way for me. It'd be easy to say that I'm just not built for this and quit. Easy to say but hard to do. I keep trying to explain to everyone why I want to do this and all I can come up with is, "I'm just going to do it."

I know that Ironman is going to be a tough go, if it wasn't, it wouldn't be such a huge accomplishment. I believe I can finish because I'm surrounded by so many fantastic people who I can train with, who will patiently remind me that I'm not invincible and who will help fix me up when I forget.

It takes a village and I'm very fortunate to have one.

Two are better than one, for their partnership yields this advantage: if one falls, the other can help his companion up again; but woe betide the solitary person who when down has no partner to help him up. And if two lie side by side they keep each other warm; but how can one keep warm by himself? If anyone is alone, an assailant may overpower him, but two can resist; and a cord of three strands is not quickly snapped.

~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friday, September 01, 2006

At the foot of that great mountain

It's been 4 days since I found myself in Penticton, rubbing my eyes in the early morning sun and wondering when we'd reach the end of the signup line. We'd been told that everyone who lined up was going to get a spot but we didn't want to take any chances. We arrived at 6am and came to a small field where the line was spiraling inward. I could only assume that the people lining up in the ever dwindling space where in more desparate need of a coffee than I was. Someone in our group got people organized and we moved the line out of the circle and it soon trailed down the street past the unopened coffee shops. I went looking for a Starbucks. Surely they'll be open...

They were but the line went all the way out to the street. All I can say is that it was worth the wait. I bought an extra coffee with the intention of selling it but ended up drinking it as well.

A few hours later, the line started moving. 15 minutes after that, I had a piece of paper in my hand with my registration info. We were given two weeks to decide if we really wanted to do an Ironman but I signed up as soon as the online registration opened (today.)

I get asked a lot, why would you want to pay to do that to yourself? and I never really know how to answer. Responding with something like because it's really hard only gets me blank stares. The irony is, I don' t see the race as a form of punishment I'm putting myself through.

It's a test of how well I've prepared myself for the challenge.

Yeah, it's going to be a tough slog but if I've put in the time, I'll survive. Perhaps my best answer for why I'd attempt this is that I want to see if I have what it takes to finish. I want to see if I'm able to pull out all the stops and get it done.

Do or do not. There is no try.
~ Yoda