Friday, September 7, 2007

Afterword from "Becoming An Ironman"

Close your eyes.

The water laps your toes and envelops your skin. Close your eyes. The masses become silent and your heartbeat thunders. You have planned for today, talked about today, trained for today, imagined today, dreamed today, and yet you still don’t know what to expect.

A cannon blows and you remember, as you dread the uncertainty and the harsh duration to come, to savor every second because in your memory it will be over in the minutes it takes to recount or reread from your journal.

Move, breathe, drink, eat. Move, breathe, drink, eat. Move and move. One hundred forty and six-tenths miles. Know tenderly, intimately every fiber of your being that propels you forward only because your brain says, ‘Don’t stop.’ And don’t stop. Move, breathe, drink, eat.

Manage your day. Stick to your plan. Be flexible. Just finish. Float when your mind and body detach and watch your body move without you—pushed by the crowd, the volunteers, who lust for your finish as if it were their own.

But it hurts. And you don’t know for sure why you’re doing this and what it will mean when you do. And then you see it. A banner, a clock, a frenzy of applause. And you know you made it happen through whatever means and power source you draw strength from.

Ironman will trivialize past hardships and prepare you to minimize those to come. It makes dreams come true. You have what it takes to bridge aspirations into accomplishments. Crossing that line embraces self: confidence, sacrifice, reliance, invention, worth. Finishing makes you your own hero.

Thom, Kara Douglass. (2001). Afterword. Becoming An Ironman. New York: Breakaway Books.

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