It’s the two-week countdown to my third Ironman triathlon (this one in Lake Placid, NY) and I can’t help but note the similarity between the journey to Ironman and having a baby. The ladies in the house will understand this, as will the male seahorse population (explanation later).
See, you decide to do this really big thing, right? And you’re excited! In fact, you’re knocked up with excitement! But then reality sets in and the months-long journey to the end is beset with fatigue, physical discomforts and unsolicited commentary from others. People feel sorry for you. You feel sorry for you. But not too sorry, ’cause you got yourself into this mess.
You’re hobbling around. Others scrutinize your body. Potty-related issues take up most of your intellectual capacity. You can’t stop eating. People find you both interesting and really annoying because your endeavor makes you so damn high maintenance. You need to eat the exact second you need to eat. All food (and food-like) items within a 25-mile radius get sucked into the never-satisfied vortex that is your stomach. Sleep is visceral. As in, “You wake me up and I will TAKE YOU OUT!”
But mostly, it’s a grind, with the occasional exciting kick (to the belly or at the track) and you’re reminded that the end result is so very worth this short-term suffering. You buy a ton of gear–more than you’ll ever need. You have a whole new wardrobe. You worry about your weight. You still can’t stop eating. Cramping has a whole new meaning. Your friends are probably rolling their eyes behind your back. Your spouse/partner definitely is.
But then the big day comes, at last! And you push and push and push and push. It’s painful. You want to quit. Your undercarriage hurts like no tomorrow. You think, “Hell No! I’m never doing this again!”
But finally you reach the finish line, totally wrecked, covered in body fluids–completely trashed. You ache in places you never knew you had. But you did it. You are awed and shell-shocked. Relieved but too exhausted to be elated quite yet. You are in love with the outcome. People mean well, but you want to smack anyone who asks, in the immediate aftermath, “Are you gonna go for another?”
But alas, an amnesia-induced haze settles in many months later and you indeed decide to go for another, because it wasn’t that bad, right?
Total non-sequitur, but about the seahorse comment… In the seahorse world, the males carry the babies to term. I know, ladies, I know. If wishing made it so. If only wishing made it so.