Endurance sports is something that doesn’t get a lot of attention during school (or at least that was my experience). The spotlight was always shone on the big-ticket items like Football, Rugby, Tennis, etc. I find it peculiar to reflect on this, especially now, as I undergo a phase where I am just utterly fascinated with the notion of completing & competing in an Ironman Triathlon.
Perhaps it has something to do with age. When I was younger, I had been exposed to the idea of an Ironman but never really appreciated it: the journey and effort required to be in a shape where you could complete one. Certainly in school there are a million other things on one’s mind, and the idea of racing for 12 to 17 hours probably didn’t sound appealing in the slightest. With a little more perspective, the allure of training for an Ironman has grown significantly.
If I am being critical with myself, the part that I find most appealing is not the prospect of completing the race and being able to call oneself an Ironman, but rather the idea of training for one. In recent months, I have fallen in love with running – so much so that I have spent the time and care to build out a training plan, set goals, and all that good stuff. In future, I will want to enter races, but if I didn’t, I’d be more than content. I love the lifestyle the training to become an endurance athlete provides.
The structure & discipline aside, I find so much pleasure in the journey of it all. I used to loathe waking up early in the morning to go for my run, but once I had the narrative of striving towards becoming a sub-elite marathoner, the optionality of it vanished. Because I had framed my mindset towards that ultimate goal (which I imagine will take a decade, if at all) then going on a runs became necessary, and not something I could skip out on.
Training for an Ironman triathlon complements so well with running already that I feel like I’m almost there in terms of pulling the trigger. The only barrier left is the cost, I have read how expensive a pursuit it can be, but even that is shrinking day by day. This idea of living the lifestyle of an endurance athlete is so attractive to me that I will soon move to a point where I will prioritise it over the other ways I spend my recreational time.