I often wonder what are the driving forces for someone in deciding that they want to challenge themselves to race the Ironman distance?
Tonight as I pushed myself through an hours treadmill session in training for an upcoming half-marathon, I watched last years' Hawaii Ironman World Championship coverage.
Now you may wonder why? I have watched it before. In fact, I have watched almost all of the years gone by (IM has an impressive IM and Tour de France DVD library also for indoor training sessions :-) - yet I do not compete in IM.
Firstly, I find them motivating and I mange to push thru my training session thinking "Gosh, I do nothing compared to these people - get moving!!"
Secondly, it helps me to understand why my IM wants to race this distance and the experience he has when racing.
Thirdly, it gives an insight into all the different people who race IM and the reasons why. Every year the Hawaii IM coverage does not fail to bring a tear to ones eye and leave you inspired by the stories told.
Of course, watching tonight also made me realise how close we are to experiencing it ourselves - "Living the Dream" as my IM says - and it does get you very excited!
So many years of watching and talking and dreaming has meant we as a family are ready for the experience. In fact, by the time we arrive in October despite never being there before, I have a feeling I will know all the names and places and even recognise the famous faces!
So back to why?
When you watch the coverage there are many reasons why and so many inspiring stories. As you listen to the physically challenged, those who have suffered from sicknesses or who have lost a loved one, talk about what it means in their life to compete in IM - and particularly in Hawaii - you realise what a positive effect a special event like this can have on so many people, and not just those racing!
I am yet to pose the question to my IM yet I feel I know the answer. There are those who like a challenge and want to push their bodies beyond it's limits - and those who don't.
As you listen to competitors talk about the high they get when crossing that line it almost stirs a desire in me to want to experience it myself - the problem is the mind. That's what has to be talked into it before you can dedicate the time and energy. In the meantime, I am happy to play my part as spectator and be part of the experience.
I will sign out with a quote from last years Hawaii IM coverage:
"You can learn so much about life, at this place, on this day"