I’m registered for this Saturday’s Boulder Half Iron Man. It’s the same event I did in Syracuse last year – 1.2 mile swim / 56 mile bike / 13.1 mile run for a total of 70.3 miles – with one BIG difference: this time around I REALLY don’t want to do it.
Last year I was nervous and excited. I truly did not know if I could finish in time. It was a feat I was excited to conquer.
Like a lot of things in life that are incredibly painful, you’ve got so much adrenaline pumping through your veins at the end that you instantly forget how difficult it was and focus instead on how amazing you feel about the accomplishment. The marketers at these races know this effect all too well so they immediately offer you a significant discount if you sign up right away for the following year’s event. It’s genius and it works like a freaking charm.
Now here we are, two days out and I can think of few things I want to do less. I’ve made zero attempts to find a wet suit. I haven’t been in a pool in months. In fact I heard myself talking to someone about the event a few weeks ago. I was droning on about how much I hate to run on pavement and how swimming always feels like drowning. I could hear the suffering in my own voice and my pathetic attempts to justify it.
This all got me thinking . . .
Why the hell am I justifying something I’m dreading? The point of physically challenging myself is to push my boundaries and see what I can accomplish in ways that create meaningful experiences and bring me joy that I can then do my best to translate to you. It has absolutely nothing to do with suffering.
So with that I will just say: I am not Iron Man. I am, however, the kind of lunatic that thinks a difficult hike followed by a trail run and a 107-mile bike ride in the mountains climbing through outrageous elevation sounds like an absolute picnic. Even when it’s painful, if I’m in the woods or on my bike I’m at peace and I see a direct beneficial correlation to my every day life.
In response to this revelation I’ve decided to scrap the Half Iron Man 70.3 and instead invent my own triathlon, which I know I’ll love every second of. I’m calling it My Kinda Tri.
My triathlon will start at the base of the Manitou Incline. Here’s a little reminder of what that bad boy looks like:
First I will hike just under one mile to the top at a 41% grade – zoinks! Next I will run 4 miles down the Barr Trail that zig zags through the woods back to the base. And finally I will get on my trusty royal blue Trek covered in white hibiscus flowers with fluorescent pink handlebars and ride just over 107 miles home with somewhere around 4,000′ more feet of elevation gain.
The inaugural My Kinda Tri 112 Miler is going down tomorrow. Wish me luck! I’ll post some videos from the road as I go.