The Nerve

Yesterday I sat by my laptop, absolutely mesmerized by the footage coming out of Madison, Wisconsin. As I watched each Ironman cross the line, I couldn’t help wondering what gave them the nerve to toe the line in the first place – to push the submit entry button a year earlier.

I’m just in awe of their bravery. Their willingness to commit to the long hours of training and the inherent risks that go with it. Will my boss understand? Will my loved ones support me? Will my body endure it? Will I crack during the race? Will I have to crawl across the finish line like Julie Moss? There are at least a half dozen ways the average soul could say “Nah!” – and yet they were the ones who said, “Yeah, I can do it.”

I’m really proud to say I know some of them. Before I took up this crazy sport, I started listening to Simply Stu and Iron Wil’s podcasts. Last year, Wil didn’t make the cut off at the half marathon mark. She continued to run another 7 miles without her timing chip before dropping out. It was so SWEET to watch this teacher, wife and mother of two cross the line last night with 40 minutes to spare.

There was TriBoomer. He crossed the line with a list of over 500 names of individuals who have cancer or lost their battle with cancer. Our friend Gail’s name was the 500th. He’ll present the list to politicians in Madison, and request more funding for cancer research and treatment.

Roman of Everyman Triathlon – the funniest Clydesdale in bloggerland. That boy can haul, despite all of his self-deprecation. He’s going to have a long drive back to Colorado in his Prius, prior to another half marathon in Hawaii next week.

There was Brett – another podcaster who’s been a wealth of information for this newbie. Geek, tri-geek, doting husband and father of a toddler. He battled his buddy Jetpack, a testicular cancer survivor, for bragging rights. All in good fun.

These are the folks I love – even though we’ve never met. I also spotted a couple of my friends from my local tri club. Chris did a swim 50+ minutes. (No wonder he intimidated me as he did his flip turns in the next lane at my first master’s swim workout as I choked on my own bubbles, and secretly wished he didn’t make a wake.) And then there was Ann Marie. So happy to see her cross the line, beaming with her baby in her arms.

I could’ve watched the end of the U.S. Open. I could’ve watched a couple of football games. But I don’t think anything could’ve matched the drama of this Ironman. CONGRATS to all the finishers. Ironman, Ironwoman, you have a lot of nerve!