Ironman Coeur D'Alene* is this Sunday, and I'm getting a little bit excited/nostalgic. Excited because a friend of mine is doing it to celebrate her 50th birthday, and I'll be following her online. Nostalgic because…duh. Fond memories! An Ironman is sort of like giving birth in that way. The best parts stick with you forever, and the pain just seems kind of funny.
Now ask me if all that tempts me to do another one in nine years.
Glad you asked. Let me tell you a little story.
I, like many people, am a sucker for puppies. I just want to scoop them up and squeeze them and inhale their puppiness and take them home with me. So why didn't we ever get another puppy after our dachshund** died in 1998? Tons of reasons: the expense, the shedding, the mess, the need to find dogsitters, not being able to use the word "walk" in conversation without being bullied out into the rain. But, you know, after awhile the harsh reality fades, and the waggly stuff is all you remember. So my tactic over the years has been to cling to one vital truth about dog ownership—one single, ugly truth that I can quickly and reliably pit against all the adorableness in the world: poop. Dogs poop everywhere, and you have to clean it up. So not worth it.
It's a great strategy. Four little letters that have saved me an untold amount of hassle. ("Dog?" "No, thanks. They poop.")
So now that I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of my Ironman, I think it's time to get proactive. I can think of lots of reasons never to do another one—the expense, the time commitment, the wear and tear on my body, the bike-saddle-shaped bruise, the fact that my feet hurt for eleven months after it was over—but I'm not sure any of those will rise to the top and rescue me in 2021 when I'm trying to prove I'm still pretty spry for 50 and all I can remember is how it felt to float the last three blocks to the finish line with 25 minutes to spare.
Maybe if I just say "one hundred. and forty. stinking. miles." real, real slow, that will do it.
* Sheesh, it used to be easier to spell that.
** Also used to be easier to spell.