I know a LOT of fast people. When you’re with endurance athletes there is always talk about PRs, qualifying and podium finishes. My fast friends are all in various age groups, some are Pros racing at the highest level. But as I’m sitting here packing my special needs bags ahead of Ironman Louisville, I’m just thinking about the fun.
Of the 2500 registered athletes, most of us won’t finish on the podium or qualify for Kona. Sometimes I think it can be hard as an average (or below average) age grouper to make the distinction that being on the podium isn’t what always matters in endurance sports.
When we’re out there it’s all about you. If I can be a little better than the last time, that’s great. But my goal is to complete the challenge in front of me. When I jump into the Ohio river tomorrow morning the only thing on my mind is beating the clock & finishing.
It took a long time to wrap my head around this type of thinking. I have never been a podium finisher and when I started doing endurance sports in 2009, training for the Chicago Marathon, I remember a question on the registration form asking my estimated finish time. My answer? 6:30:00, that’s the cutoff.
Sure the faster I can finish the better, but having a hard target time is just stress added to an already stressful event. Doesn’t going out to have fun sound like such a better idea? When you’re on the course, take it all in. I want to grab some high-fives as I roll in to get the Gummi Bears our of my special needs bag. I want to yell words of encouragement to my friend Adam as we pass each other on the out and back course.
And while my body will be physically and mentally exhausted as I trot the last few miles of the run. I want the energy of Fourth Street Live and sound of the race announcer shouting “Phil Castello, You Are An Ironman” to not be exciting because I finished. It should be exciting because I had fun!