Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the skinny blues

ok, i have to make this quick, since i have spotty internet access (booooooo, Auckland youth hostel!).

i should first say that i'm physically hurt after this race. weird. 1st Ironman i was emotionally beat up. 2nd Ironman i was mentally drained--and felt like i'd gotten part of my soul sucked out. this time, i'm physically beat up. seriously. worse than any other time. i've got:
  • bloody feet. really bad. the blood soaked right through my shoes. i'm not walkig right.
  • bad back. really bad. i thought i had things together, but race day proved otherwise.
  • bad knees. really bad. it's tough to walk.

apart from that, initial comments about this race:

  • wind and rain. the wind was not as bad as IMAZ 2007, but the rain really put a pile-driver on things. and things really whipped up by nightfall during the run. but what else is new? bad things follow me like the plague...and as someone on the race course told me: Ironman is the kind of thing that punishes the weak and rewards the strong. it reminded me of my 1st triathlon coach, who constantly quoted a Navy SEAL axim: "it pays to be a winner." i thought about that a lot this time.
  • a number of people in my group qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. congrats guys. as for me, i got a personal best time, but that doesn't mean much. i can say i would have gone faster if i'd had healthy feet and a healthy back, but whatever. i did what i did in the conditions that i did. the rest i have to accept as a learning experience.
  • Endurance Sports Travel (EST) is GREAT. looking back on it, considering the logistics and expenses of getting to an international Ironman, i don't think i would have had anywhere near the time i had without the assistance of EST. Ken Glah and his mates put on a super awesome professional job, and they provide a great environment to meet people and support one another--i'd recommend him and his crew to anybody.
  • the race was GREAT. the course was GREAT. beautiful. it puts IMAZ to shame. i don't know why anybody would ever turn down a chance to come to New Zealand. seriously. one of the most beautiful places on earth...and one--courtesy of the Maoris that i met--that remains one of the most spiritual as well.
  • the people of Taupo are GREAT. sooooooo supportive. the population of Taupo is 20,000, but they had 2,000 volunteers and many others cheering everybody on...the entire day, even in the wind and rain. hard core. it made all the athletes feel very, very, very special.
  • i was adopted as an athlete by a host family (thanks, Ian and Adrienne!). they were sooooo generous with their time and hospitality, and really went out of their way to make my family feel welcome. i wish the world had more people like them--it would be a much better place.
  • the people of New Zealand are GREAT. i love their smiles. i love their sense of humor. i love their attitude. just like mine. and they are QUICK on the wit. faster than even me. i wouldn't have done this without them.

as for post-race and non-race issues, there were quite a number of things that made this a mixed experience for me. things ended up being very stressful for me, and maybe it affected my race day. all i know is, i'm coming home to some discouraging conditions:

  • i have a pile of rejection e-mails from jobs and postdocs. not good.
  • i have a pile of rejections from girls. even worse.
  • i have a pile of rejections from summer funding. worst of all (boooooooooo USC).
  • i found out the reason my dad has become so physically inactive is because he has a heart condition. my mom gave me the medical term, but i promptly forgot it. all i know is that when we listen to his heart, we don't hear the regular "lub-dub, lub-dub" of a healthy heart, but rather the "lub-swish, lub-swish" of a weak one.

some humorous comments, with my responses, inspired from my New Zealand mates:

  • someone else: "wow, i am tired." me: dude, you just did an Ironman.
  • "wow, i lost weight." dude, Ironman.
  • "wow, i am skinny." dude, Ironman.
  • "wow, i feel like a broken old man." dude, ditto.
  • "wow, i feel like i just got WORKED." dude...hello? Ironman?
  • "wow, i can't describe what we just did...i don't think anybody can understand what we just did." dude...that. is. Ironman. most people will not get it...and some never will.
  • Ironman. life and death. sacred and profane. honor and dishonor. substance and emptiness. meaning and the void. you have to earn it.

and oh yeah, i spoke to god. the conversation isn't over. i'm going to write up a race report--one of the long ones, with the threading of thoughts and race day.

my 1st Ironman was about my grandmother, the 2nd was about my grandmother. this one turned out to be the women in my life. all of them. i'm going to write about them...and about love.

and god. especially god.


Bob Almighty said...

A torn up foot and a PR to boot, dude you are bad ass. To quote Mickey
" You know the pros have it got easy they go so fast that they don't have to deal with the bad weather."
Dude you ran through the worst wind and rain that night and definiately proved your toughness,
good job.

on a completely different note, I tore my heels up pretty bad, but those scholls blister blocks do a pretty good job of covering the sores, also they are nearly indestructable.

Steph said...

congrats on another accomplishment...