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Is this All I Can Do?

17 October 2017

I am not good at evaluating my accomplishments. Now that the half-Ironman is behind me, and I’ve rested for a month, I’m looking for a new challenge. Looking back, I wonder if the things I’ve done are all that difficult. I worked for nine months to be ready for the half-Ironman. I worked like hell, and I did it. I finished toward the bottom of finishers in my age group, but well ahead of all the men who didn’t start.

I’m a racing tourist. I’m just there for the experience and the finisher’s medal. I’m there to push my sad, soft, metabolically suspect body from the beginning to the end and try to chase a greatness that I will never achieve. I feel compelled to do things that most other people will never even try. I try to do this in most realms of my life. Education, work, travel, even music. And now racing.

So I’m starting to think about the next big thing. I look back: is this all I can do? I have this tendency to down-regulate all of my accomplishments in retrospect. Half-Ironman races aren’t that hard, I don’t think. Easier than the marathon. It seems strange to say that swimming for close to an hour followed by biking for three-and-a-quarter hours is easier than half a marathon. But I think it is.

Running a full marathon is definitely hard. Running a trail half-marathon is definitely hard. And yes, the long triathlons are definitely hard. Even an Olympic triathlon is a long morning of work. But somehow, looking back at all of it, I don’t remember the hard part. I remember the long pain of the Marine Corps Marathon. But the Philadelphia Marathon wasn’t bad at all. Just a long day.

It all comes down to training. Do you put the time in? Then race day won’t be so bad.

So what’s next? I have a couple ideas. I want to do another marathon. I might want to do a full Ironman. And I want to do an ultra marathon. I saw that there’s a 40-mile trail race around Mt. St. Helens, which would be meaningful. I was there when it erupted, and going back to run it might be emotionally meaningful.

I need to find something bigger to do. Because looking back, I still wonder: Is this all I can do?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 October 2017 08:59

    An Ironman in your future?

    Did I ever tell you about the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Bar Harbor, Maine? It is the best. I would highly recommend it.

    I understand the stupid thing that tells me that if I did it it must not have been that hard. But it is bullshit for me, and it is for you too.

  2. B. Kiddo permalink
    17 October 2017 12:45

    yep, bullshit. Doing a half iron man is hard. that is a huge accomplishment. Not that you can’t do even more, but what you’ve done is already tremendous.

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