These thoughts were not completely out if the blue. Nothing is "out of the blue" as a matter of fact. The signs are always there, it's just a matter of if you choose to recognize it or not.
"I think my heart just isn't in it anymore." I said to Demetrius.
The fact of the matter is that I go through phases in training. I get completely overwhelmed when I'm not hitting a particular workout or when I feel like I'm falling behind. It would be so much easier to just hang this all up and do something easier. "I feel like I could easily knock out a half Ironman... But a full? I don't know if that's possible anymore."
Do I have the option of backing out? Of course I do. Of the nearly $800.00 I spent on registration, I am able to get back $150.00. So what's the point? I could also transfer my registration to a handful of other races, but they were all earlier than October 1st, so that was rather pointless as well. I cried tears over the decision that I found myself having to make.
The next day I decided that I was going to let it all go. I felt bad that I had told everyone I was going to do this and that now I was going to have to retract everything and move on with life. I justified the decision by saying, "Well, I originally didn't plan to do a full until 2017 anyway." Before completely letting go of this dream, I logged into Facebook and went to the Maryland Ironman group and told everyone that I needed help making a decision. I knew that of all people, they would be the ones to help me flip the switch, because deep down, I thought I might still want to race. The responses I got back were phenomenal. My fellow competitors told me I would regret the decision. They posted inspirational videos and insisted that I be there so they could see me at the finish line. Questions were asked such as, "Why did you decide to do this in the first place?"
Now that is a loaded question. Why did I decide to do this in the first place?
I suppose there are many reasons, but two in particular that drive me each day. The first reason I decided to do a full Ironman is because I wanted to prove to myself that I am tough enough to complete the distance. Becoming an Ironman is about having the mental toughness to make it not just to the finish line, but to endure the training to get to the starting line. This would be the ultimate test. Qualifying for the Kona World Championships ("brought to you by GoPro" LOL) is not remotely a goal for me. It's not that I don't think that I couldn't one day qualify for it, but rather because it's just simply not the goal I have set for myself.
I will never forget that moment when I verbalized that I would train for the race. It was September 11th, 2015 and Justus was in bad health. He had been fighting a number of issues in the last couple weeks and this was the day that his health declined so much that I was forced to make a decision that I never wanted to be up to me. The two of us laid on the floor in the vet's office and I cried so many tears into his brown fur. I gently pet his head and ran my finger from his nose to the top of this head, following the dark brown line that made the "mask" pattern on his face. I told him that I loved him and that I promised to adopt another dog some time down the road. I would honor him by doing something to make him proud. In that moment, I told him, "I will do Ironman next year. I won't put it off for two years like I had planned. What am I waiting for?" A promise was made to my best friend. An hour later, my best friend crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
So there you have it: My "why" for racing on October 1st. In October of 2015, I got my first of two tribute tattoos to Justus. I have a paw print with a silhouette of Justus' head on my right shoulder. That tattoo gives me so much strength when I feel like giving up. When I am swimming, biking, or running and get to a point where I want to stop, I think about that tattoo and then I suddenly find myself with a little extra momentum.
We often think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In my opinion, NOT asking for help is a sign of weakness because you think you have all the answers and don't have faith in others that they may be able to help you.
The road is long and there will be bumps along the way. The journey to getting to the starting line is 95% percent of the accomplishment. Once you cross that finish line at whatever time it is when you complete the race, you will forever be an Ironman. Finishing what you start is what it is all about.
That's all for now. Training continues...