I watched the 2009 Ironman Wisconsin on Sunday. It took approximately 33 minutes into the 17 hour event to declare that I would register for the 2011 Ironman. It was amazing. I don't know how else to describe it. Just thinking about the atmosphere gives me goosebumps. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile ride and 26.2 mile run. These people - each and every one - were mindblowing. Every age, every size, every ability. Ironman isn't something you simply register for and complete. As if it's that simple. You dedicate. You train. You find support. You give a year of your life to it. You don't just cross the finish line. You accomplish something absolutely amazing.
I had goosebumps all day. Seriously. You should see my Twitter feed from yesterday. I was all, "OMG! Amazing! Did you see that?! OMG! Ironman! Yay!" Like, for real. Watching the finish line was an event in itself. The relief and pride on those faces puts a lump in my throat. You want to see the happiest people in the world? Watch the finish of Ironman. But aside from the goosebumps and lumps in the throat, I felt something else: OMG I NEED TO DO THAT.
I spent the summer working in a triathlon shop. I've been surrounded by it. The athletes, the atmosphere, the chatter. I watched some ass-kicking teammates cross that finish line last night who were a part of our store's team. I witnessed their dedication all summer. How could I have avoided being absorbed by it?
So is 2011 the year? Registration for the next year's Ironman opens and fills the day after each year's race. Already tonight, the 2010 competitors are locked in. Registration for 2011 is in a year. I've got training, coaching and a built-in support system at my fingertips. I've got a year to think, facilitate, guage my abilities, and plan. And if I register, another year to train my ass off.
If 2011 isn't the year, another year will be.
"You are Ironman." I heard the announcer declare that hundreds of times last night as each competitor made it across the finish line. Such a statement. Something to be proud of. I am proud of every one of those Iron men and women. To become one of them would be an honor. In a year, maybe I'll be one step closer.