A friend of mine is signing up to do a half Ironman. For the past few months, I’ve been thinking more and more about doing that. For those who aren’t familiar, a half Ironman is a triathlon consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. It sounds hard, and I have no doubt it would test me to my ultimate. I would go in with no time goals other than the ones imposed on me by the race organizers (Finish the swim by 1:10, finish the bike+swim by 5:30, finish the race by 8:30).
I’ve never done a triathlon and I’m not really sure I truly want to. For me, the bike is the big push. I’m comfortable in the water and can swim a long way, albeit slowly. I can run, well, so far I know I can run 16.1 miles without stopping. The bike is a different animal for me. Lately I’ve been biking more, and I’ve gone as far as 21 miles in about 90 minutes. That translates to 56 miles in four hours, if I can keep the pace up. I could probably finish. If I trained right.
For me, the biggest issue isn’t the fitness attempt. I’d like to try that, I think. It would be exhausting and astonishing and I’d be really really amazed with myself if I did it, and I like feeling like that. No, for me, the biggest issue is that in the past two years, all of my fitness goals have coincided with running side by side with BB. And BB is not interested in doing a triathlon.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We’re allowed to have individual goals and personal ambitions. Obviously. No question about it. But I like running with her, and racing with her, and achieving together. That’s far beyond a fitness goal: it’s a relationship goal. We ran a 5K separately last year (same race, different paces), and if felt awful to both of us. We like achieving our fitness ambitions together.
Case in point: when I wanted to extend to a marathon, and BB wanted to run the half marathon faster first, we agreed to train for a faster half, and then extend to a full. Even though we had different goals, we pursued them together and are achieving them together. I like that. It’s important to me. I don’t want to separate our fitness goals because doing these things together is a cornerstone of our intimacy.
I also enjoy pushing myself and finding out what I can do. And a half Ironman would be a really ambitious push. I know I would feel a huge sense of accomplishment from it. So I don’t know what I’m going to do. A lot of conversation needs to happen. But I know I won’t feel right about abandoning relationship goals for personal ones. That doesn’t sit right with me at all. Nevertheless, I want to find out what I can do in new arenas. So I will ponder about it. And talk about it. And see how it sits in my heart.
I don’t have to decide anytime soon.