The decision to sign up for an Ironman is one to take seriously! Last November, several members of the CL team headed south for a weekend of volunteering, spectating, observing and fun at IM Arizona in Tempe. For many of us race day started early as we had to be on-site by 6:30am and ended well past midnight to secure a Fast Pass registration for the next morning – this pass gave us priority for volunteer sign-ups.
Volunteering at IM events gives you an up close and personal look into what the race is really all about – the excitement, the nerves, the joy, as the day wears on the pain and then at the finish you witness athlete after athlete reaching their dream. For some it’s been a long journey to the point, for others the journey has been shorter, but just as sweet!
After a long day of volunteering and cheering on athletes it was time to try to get some sleep – it was close to 1am and the alarm was set for 5am once again. In the end, the fast pass proved to be the way to go. We were in and out of registration in less than 2 hours. The best news was the CL athletes who did not have fast passes also got registered – which was a very good thing after they were getting up and going to stand in line about the time we got home from our volunteering jobs. The best part of training is our group of six CL athletes has grown to seven in recent weeks!
It was one thing to volunteer and stand in line for our own shot at IMAZ, it was another thing all together to pull out that credit card, sign the paper work and actually do! It was terrifying, exciting and a bit overwhelming. Emotions were all over the board as reality set in…there were no refunds; there was no turning back now! Questions were spinning in my head – what had I done?, could I really do this?, am I totally crazy? and the ever present question of why? The answers to the first three questions came easily. It is the answer to the last question that remains elusive, but over the past months the answer has truly started to take shape. For me, it all started with promise to myself years ago that one day I would do an IM and now many years later making it a reality and while I am chasing my dream, the question of why still remains on many days!
The decision to do an IM has been a life changing event for me as a person and as an athlete. When I made the decision to do an IM I also made the decision that this journey wasn’t just about the finish line. It was about all the things I could learn about myself – all those lessons I have glossed over for years would be presented in all their glory, because there is nowhere to hide after a 20 mile run or 6 hours on the bike or 1:45 in the pool. I’m finding it’s best to accept the lesson, embrace it, learn it and then move forward. The other amazing part of the decision is discovering the village you have around you. It is this village that will be there through the good times, the bad times, the highs and lows. They will help get you out the door on days when you really don’t want to go and they will remind you often that this was your choice, no one made you sign up and it’s up to you do make it happen. My village continues to grow every day and they have an amazing knack of being there when I need them!
Yes, signing up for IMAZ was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s been an amazing few months and the next 17 weeks promise to be even better!