Wednesday, September 21, 2011

About Ironman Pride

Three weeks and three days ago I completed one of the worlds most grueling events known to mankind:  the "Ironman".  If you missed my race report you can find it here for this entry is not about the race, or the journey to get to the race, but about the pride of becoming an "Ironman".

There are as many reasons why anyone would take on a challenge of this magnitude as there are people taking on this challenge, and it has been said that it's one of the most difficult things to try to explain, specially to those who do not understand the idea of pushing oneself to unknown limits.  I for one, gave up trying to explain.  Here is how I chose to handled it.

Life has changed post Ironman.  There's a huge sense of pride in having accomplished something that someone like me could have never imagined possible when I started doing triathlons in 2008.

And expressing this pride has come in many different forms.

In addition to the usual and obligatory IM merchandise; visor, hat, shirts, tee shirts, Finisher's Jacket, cycling jersey, coffee mug, car sticker, key chain, etc, etc, etc, I had a tattoo inked on my left calf.

Blood, Sweat & Tears
But this did not come without much thought and consideration.  Most of it done pre-Ironman.

During the course of those eleven months spent getting physically and mentally ready, I researched the idea of the tattoo.  Read countless accounts of why people get them done and why others choose not to and came to the conclusion that this would eternally be a sign and a stamp of something I did... that very few even attempt.

Through this research I found that those that chose to get a tattoo quietly expressed their opinion while the loudest voices came from those that frowned upon it.  Why?  I can't figure it out.  It is after all, as it should be, a matter of personal preference.

It's been a bit over two weeks since I got inked and it has been a conversation starter.  Folks that know that it means congratulate me and want to talk about the experience - not the tattoo. Folks that don't, ask... and I tell them.  With my head up high.  Proud to be an Ironman.