"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Monday, July 4, 2011

Impossible Things

Three years ago today I ran my first race, a 2.6 mile 4th of July fun run prior to my hometown's annual parade, without a single day of training. The following year I did it again, except I spent a few weeks training for it. At the time, the word "marathon" was synonymous with the words "crazy," "insane," and "impossible" in my mind. 
In the two years since, I've completed seven marathons (all in the last 13 months including three in the last 30 days), six half marathons, multiple 5k, 10k, and 15k races, 18 runs of 20 miles or more and more than 2500 miles total. What was once crazy, insane and impossible is now just what I do for fun.
Two weeks after the fun run (the "mini-marathon" as it's called) in 2009 I toed the line at my first 5k race. At the time I figured I could probably do it, but it was a daunting task. 
In less than 6 weeks I will make my first attempt at a triathlon. The 20k bike ride and 5k run don't concern me a bit (despite not owning a bike at the moment). It's the 500yard swim that gives me the creeps. Why? Because I sink (my wife says I'm dense).
I've never really been a swimmer. The swim check at summer camp was always a struggle. I can play around in a pool and get from one end to the other if need be. If my canoe or raft flips over, I can get back to it. I can jump off of a dock and make it back. I even made it across the Deschutes River and back as a teenager (without question the stupidest thing I've ever attempted -- very much could have ended tragically for me, my brother, or both of us).
In short, I've swam laps in a pool exactly three times in my life (all in the last two weeks). It's the swimming equivalent to where I was in my running prior to that first 5k.
I received an email from a friend last week containing details and pictures of his first Ironman triathlon completed last week in Coeur d' Alene, ID. The very first thought through my mind? "He's insane. That'd be impossible."
Interpret that how you'd like.
I don't know if I'm committed to doing something like that just yet, but I'm signed up for the triathlon equivalent of my first 5k on August 13th. We'll see how it goes. If I do decide to go in the Ironman direction, it may take me another two years to get there. It would be a long difficult road. However, I would know that I've already taken one "crazy, insane and impossible" and turned it into a "done that."
Stay tuned...

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