The Husband recently completed his first Ironman! Of course, I braved the heat to watch him do amazingly well throughout the day.
We all have a visual of what someone competing in an Ironman looks like, right? He or she is either cut with rather impressive (not necessarily big) muscles or just a skinny runner type (like the Husband). That’s not always the case. I was amazed by people competing who looked like normal, albeit pudgy, people. One gentleman I met was a second-time competitor at this Ironman and had at least four more lined up for the year. If you didn’t know he was a finisher, you would think that he might have a heart attack going up the stairs too vigorously.
The following week, the Husband did a short race. I know, I know. Why, if he just spent a little over 13 hours swimming, biking, and running 140.6 miles, would he do a 5k within a week? Wouldn’t he just want to take a couple weeks off to rest? Well, in fact he did take the week off by only doing the 5k and not the 15k on Sunday. As we watched the 9k racers cross the line, I saw someone who was overweight cross the finish line. Let me rephrase that. I watched someone, who society feels is lazy and can’t sit up from eating fried chicken, french fries, and chocolate in front of the TV without getting winded, cross the finish line (not last) after running 9 miles and looking quite good after.
Now, I could tell you that this is an excellent reason why you should never judge a book by its cover. I could tell you that it’s not about size, it’s about health and that so long as you are exercising the size doesn’t matter. I could tell you that stereotypes are stupid and you should try your best not to buy into them. I’m not going to tell you any of that because you are smart enough to realize that on your own. What I am going to tell you is that it was inspiring. All these people you would stereotypically consider to be unfit were doing things that most people in this country would never ever do, no matter how fit. All I’ve ever done is a 5k and a tiny sprint tri and I had rationalized not doing any more because I have bad knees. I felt very wimpy.
Don’t get me wrong. I have had bad knees ever since 6th grade where the joints were apparently overtaxed during a massive growth spurt. At least, that’s what my parents said the doctor said. Ever since then, my knees just never quite were as good as they should be. In high school I tore a ligament in my knee and surgery seemed to make a lot of it worse. But, are my knees really that bad or are they an excuse to get out of doing more? Am I just intrinsically lazy and have an excellent excuse built into my joints? I decided to test it out and challenge myself to a 10k race (that’s 6 miles). Originally, I was going to do the 10k next year, but we found one in November that not only is in my town but goes around my neighborhood. It can’t get any perfect than that, and I’m going to aim for it.
If I can’t do it, then I can’t. At least I’ll know that I made the attempt. Do I see myself doing more? I honestly don’t know. Yesterday I would have said that this was it, but now I’m thinking, if I can do 6 miles, why not 9 or 13? Or even *gasp* 26.2? Yeah, maybe not a marathon. It just sounds boring. I do blame the Husband though.