Sunday, May 5, 2013

Between Heaven And Hell


I’m sitting in bed at 10:30 in the morning eating my third bowl of Dryer’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip ice cream.  And do you know why?

Because I can do whatever the curse word I want after yesterday. 

For full effect, download “Iron Man” by Ozzy Osbourne and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Honestly if decent shape present self were to travel back to June of 2006 and say to overly plump past self that he would be competing in the ultimatum of a triathlon, overly plump past self would have slapped present self upside the head and stuffed another deep fried Twinkie down his throat.  Yes kids, past self was not in shape.  I know this by the three pairs of pants he ripped within two weeks.  But that’s another story. 

Your average cocky jerk would normally be using this blog to brag about his times, showcase his pictures, or simply flaunt the fact that he completed an athletic achievement that most Muffintops would never dream about.  But that’s not me, and hopefully after reading the few hundred posts I’ve tossed your way you may know this by now.  Instead, I’ll make you laugh, make you cry, and maybe toss a moral lesson to you near the end of this page.   

If at some point in your life you get the chance to do an Ironman triathlon, take it!  Jump on that! By all means leap at the opportunity to turn into a gym junkie, live off of protein shakes and spinach salads, and give up the sacred nectar of Dr. Pepper for five months, because it will change your life.  And you will be a better person for it. 

It’s not really about being in prime physical shape, or that you can brag about that physical shape to your friends on Facebook, it’s the concept that you can have a group peeing session in the water with 120 other guys wearing purple swim caps waiting for the starting gun to go off.  Or when a volunteer hands you a few strips of tape to make sure your nipples won’t bleed out from chafing.  I’m telling you, doing an Ironman is like being in a sacred college fraternity, minus the alcohol and C-average gpa’s.    

On paper the race looks like pure Hell.  Think about it, swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and then run 13.1. And that’s just a half Ironman! You have to think some lunatic in a straitjacket came up with figures like those for an athletic competition.  Either that or someone with very low self-esteem was looking to come up with a cold turkey cure for bulimia.

But once you’re in the race surrounded by a couple thousand people blowing snot rockets left and right, you’re in Heaven.  And those people are what make the race sublime.  There was the kid with balls of steel from Chicago I biked miles 20-24 with who had never done any type of triathlon before.  Or the Redditor who gave me a salt tablet at mile 3 of the run so leg cramps wouldn’t ruin my race.  The best was the Canadian who shared a Popsicle with me at mile 11 of the run, who told me stories about his beautiful family up north, and then challenged me to a duel on the last 500 yards.  I think in a past life somewhere I was BFF’s with that Canuck.    

In fact, those last 500 yards were the best part of the entire race.  Surrounded by hundreds of people screaming their guts out, volunteers patting you on the back, an announcer broadcasting your name to the triathlon world while you’re in a dead sprint to the finish line, tell me that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes.  Because it sure did to mine. 

Yesterday was Hell.  And yesterday was Heaven.  It was a joyride of pain, pleasure and every other emotion in between.  It’s the one time in my life where I’ve laughed, cried, and peed on someone all within six hours.  An experience I can’t duplicate, nor can I describe in full detail in a blog post.  And something that is complete justification for eating a three-course breakfast of Peanut Butter chocolate chip ice cream. 

What do you think?

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