Friday, November 6, 2009

THINGS I'VE LEARNED

I remember when I was a kid flying down hills on my bike at a million miles an hour. The wind roaring by drowning out every sound in the world. Freedom! The sun bright and warm. The smell of freshly cut grass in the air. The sky so blue I longed to be a bird to soar as high as I could go. Laughter came easily and I didn't have a care in the world. My whole life was in front of me. Anything was possible. You know what? That's exactly how I felt during Ironman.

Over the past year I've learned a lot about myself and life in general. I'm not sure you can train for Ironman and not learn a few things about yourself.

I learned that shaving your legs, though thrilling, is harder than it looks. That ice baths hurt like crazy but feel great at the same time. That having an understanding and encouraging wife is the most important training secret in the world. I learned that having a good time is more important than having a good time. Get it? In other words, is having a fast time in a race worth it if you aren't having fun training? After all, most of us are doing this for the fun of it, right?

I learned that music is the second best training secret in the world and that sweat will ruin a $400 iPod just as easily as dropping it in the ocean. I learned that the hard way. Training without music sucks, but I already knew that.

I learned that having family and friends cheer you on when you are completely exhausted and feel like giving up can completely revitalize you.

I learned I could hate even the thought of getting on my bike but hate the thought of not getting on my bike even more. I learned that riding through mud puddles is just as fun at 50 as it was at 15. Running barefoot through soggy grass is magical and skipping is ... well, you just have to try it (in public) and see.

Food! I learned a few things about food while training for Ironman. Carbs and calories work together your body can process only so many in a certain amount of time. Extra protein can pack on the weight real fast and salt tablets are the miracle drug of triathlon.

I learned not to eat raw almonds while riding a bike up a steep hill. Don't eat anything while riding up a steep hill or be prepared to be coughing food particles out of your lungs for the rest of your ride. PB & J sandwiches are the best food ever on long bike rides. Well, that and salty, greasy deep-fried chicken legs. Raisins are great for instant energy but easy to inhale while running. Chewing gum while eating an energy gel makes them go down easier and no matter how hard you try you can't eat an energy gel while swimming without stopping. I also learned I can't chew gum and swim at the same time. Can you?

I learned not to put any limitations on my goals or imagination. I can do the impossible. I did the impossible - Ironman. Never say never or can't. Dream big.

One thing I learned just recently is that finishing Ironman meant more to me than I ever could have imagined and that's the way I wanted it. That's why I trained so hard. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who could swim a few laps, bike a couple of miles and take a few minutes to think about running and consider that their training and probably finish an Ironman. And that's great. But I wanted my Ironman to mean something to me. I wanted to earn it. To brag about the thousands of miles I ran, biked and swam just so I could swim, bike and run 140.6 miles with a few other people on one very special day.

I wanted to earn every step, every pedal and swim stroke on that day. I guess one thing I learned is that it is much more rewarding to work hard for something rather than to do the bare minimum and get away with it.

That's just a few things I've learned this year.

1 comment:

debbie said...

Hey there,
Learning & Earning is a great story. I was talking with my physical therapist Tuesday and he told me he was going to be competing in the Silverstate Ironman this coming weekend and that it would be done as a team. He will swim and two of his buddies will bike and run. He said he has always wanted to do an Ironman but knew he could never complete one by himself.He is afraid he could not do the 112m bike or the run (especially the run)after doing the other two. Although he has ran marathons before.
This is what our conversation was like:
Debbie: My brother just completed the Ford Ironman a couple weeks ago.
Jason: You have to Qualify.

Debbie: He Qualified.

Jason: Really, He must be single and not fond of sleeping, how long did he train?

Debbie: No he is Married and loves sleeping but hasn't done much this year,and he trained all year.

Jason: Well he doesn't have a Job or Kids then right?

Debbie: No he has a Job and five kids.

Jason: I had knee surgery!

Debbie: He had knee surgery!

Jason: I'm too old to start training that hard.

Debbie: He just turned 50.

Jason: How does a married guy with a job and kids and knee surgery commit that much time training and stay sane.

Debbie: He is an "IronMan"and I didnt say he was sane any more.

Jason: Awesome!

Just wanted to share my conversation with you that was about you.

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