Thursday, June 23, 2011

About The Tattoo

A while back I read a quote that in regards to the triathlon lifestyle, I find more true as time passes by:

"From the outside looking in you could never understand it.  From the inside looking out you could never explain it."

I am often asked, as I am sure every triathlete has: "why do you do this?"

The first time I heard this I remember giving a short and sweet answer:  "to stay healthy" and I also remember the conversation going to places I had never imagined.  I was told the numerous other ways I could stay "healthy" without having to inflict my body with so much "pain and torture."

As time passed and my distance goals changed, conversations like this got more interesting.  I had developed an arsenal of reasons.  "Because I want to push myself", "Because I want to see how far I can go." and again I always received blank looks as if they were trying to say "I still don't get it".

I find that there's great respect from the general population towards triathletes.  Folks understand the massive commitment necessary to do this; physical and mental.  What most folks still cannot comprehend is the "why" do we do this?

I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo once I finish my first Ironman.  I have not been a fan of tattoos.  As a matter of fact, I fought long and hard with my daughter to try to get her not to get a tattoo.  Well, she did and that was that.  You can imagine the surprise on her face (and all those who know me) when I announced my intentions to get an Ironman tattoo on my left calf.

And why do I want to do this?, you may ask. I want to show the world what I've done, and yes... I want to brag.  For the rest of my life.  I'm going to make shorts my new dress code. I'd like for the world to see.  I want people to ask about it so I can tell them my story.  Yeah, once I cross that finish line, I will have earned the right to wear my tattoo.

At a dinner party a couple of months back, I found out that one of my friends that was there was also doing the Ironman Louisville.  One of the other guests told me.  So the conversation started and again I was asked: "Why Are You Doing This?"

"For The Tattoo", was all I said.

"Oh... how cool is that!"  was this person's reply.  No more further explanation was needed!