"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Deep Thoughts with RBR

Thoughts on Ironman:

This weekend was Ironman CdA, held in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, also known as the 'home of that stupid fucking lake.' I was joking with people about it being the 'anniversary of my failure.' I was joking, but it was not all that funny to them or me.

It feels remarkably stupid for me to mourn a failure of a race that I, had everything gone exactly according to plan, would have barely made the cut off for. It is a hobby. You do not dwell on a needlepoint that goes badly for a year. Get over it, RBR. I am not a professional athlete. I am not even a kind of good athlete. There are many out there that think people like me should not even be on the course of a race like Ironman (and to all of those people I give a hearty "Fuck you", "Get a life", and a resounding "Worry about your own fucking HOBBY. Ain't no one paying you to do this shit either.")

Despite my embarrassment of dwelling on something as trivial as a race, I have dwelt on it.

Don't get me wrong. I am proud of all the work I did to get ready for Ironman. And really, for a lot of it, I had a blast (the last month or two of IM training sucks ass, no matter how pretty a place you go or how cool the people you meet are, but I digress...) I met some AMAZING people, went to places I had never been. I suffered, I persevered, and had a lot of funny stories to tell of my journey.

Some of the races/events I did training for this that stick out in my mind:

Solvang century (first 100 miler)

Rage in the Sage 1/2 Iron Triathlon

Big Sur Marathon

Grizzly Peaks 74 mile ride

and of course the big event itself: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Though all of it, I learned I was physically and mentally capable of far more than I would have ever even dreamed of giving myself credit for. I went to races in strange towns alone and met new people. I made friends with creepy internet people (*smirk*) and then met them in real life and realized that I care as much for them as the people I see in my day to day life (in some cases more, we all have our 'assholes' to bear.)

But even with all of that, I still feel the shame of what other people must think about my DNF (stands for 'did not finish', for you fasties that have never had that happen to you)

Hypothetical judgey people that I have created in my mind: "Of course she DNF'd. Look at her. She is a 40 year old ex-smoker, ex-drug addict, that is overweight, and never worked out, EVER until 5 years ago. I mean, what was she thinking trying to do an Ironman?"

Anyhoo.. that is where my mind goes. My mind is not very nice to me a lot of the time.

You may be asking why are we talking about all of this? 1. My blog. I get to talk about whatever I want and 2. I had several of these bloggy friends racing at my nemesis (aka Home of the stupid, fucking lake) this weekend, so it brought up a lot of feelings about all of this. Plus, I had the esteemed honor of tracking them while they raced.

And track I did.

In true RBR style, I did so obsessively. My heart would race and I would feverishly calculate pace and times and swear compulsively as Ironman.com lagged and timed about and (For example, Sarah it had you in T2 for over 30 minutes. I was screaming at my computer. "What are you doing, girl?! Get out of transition!!" Once ironman.com finished juggling it n*ts@ck or whatever the hell it was doing, we found that she was only there for 7 minutes. So my apologies for that.)

My husband got to hear me scream "Form is flying on the bike!", "Ron hit the 90 mile bike split!", "Sarah crossed the half mary split!!" All. Day. Long. I would not leave the computer and felt the need to inform him of every pace calculation I made, and how much time they needed to get to the next timing mat. A patient man, that Mr. RBR, a patient man indeed.

Side note: Cool pace calculator if you ever find yourself in a similar, obsessive, online stalking situation

Team Dork Rocket Pace Calculator

I must admit, that I was concerned that watching others do what I could not would make me feel worse about the whole thing, but honestly, I was so proud to know people so strong and so brave that they we willing to put it all on the line and attempt what sounds impossible to most of the population. I was so excited for them to be out there celebrating all of their hard work.

And, frankly, it made me a little prouder of myself as well. How big of a deal would it have been if I knew at the start that I would make it? The last 900 yards of that swim was physically the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I still finished it knowing full well that my race day was mostly likely done anyway. I finished the bike course in the rain, even after they took my timing chip. I did not leave that course until they made me. I may not be an official Ironman, but in attempting the "impossible" I finally felt like an athlete.

You do not have to be fast to be an athlete, you do not have to do an Ironman (or even attempt one) to be an athlete, you just have to be brave enough to see what you are made of physically by taking a few risks, and stop caring what anyone will think of you for trying.
I always say. "if you do not want to see my fat ass run, run faster, then you won't see it anymore."

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."
~ Bill Cosby

Go tell Formulaic what a BEAST he is. He is a generous friend, loving husband and father (to the cutest baby in the free world, IMHO) and IRON 4 times over.

Once Ron (PunkRockRunner), gets over his post IRON glow and gets his race report up I will link to it. He is hilarious and promised to get revenge for me on that stupid fucking lake. I think a 1:25:30 Ironman swim is about as big a FUCK YOU as you can give to a lake. Thanks, man. I feel avenged.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


But ... too tired to comment. Be back tomorrow ...

Georgia Snail said...

Since I got here so early....

(in some cases more, we all have our 'assholes' to bear.)

...I hope very few people show there assholes in this comment section....

Once ironman.com finished juggling it n*ts@ck

...so you are saying Glaven was actually vacationing at CdA?

Kate Geisen said...

I've said it before. I think you rock, Ironman or not. I'm not a competitive athlete in the sense that I'm going to be winning even my age group, but as long as I'm kicking (what) my own ass (did in the past), I'm happy(ish).

More power to all those people who ARE kicking ass out there...I'm just happy to be on the field.

And I'm nowhere near even TRAINING for an IM.

Unknown said...

"you just have to be brave enough to see what you are made of physically by taking a few risks, and stop caring what anyone will think of you for trying"


and you are a rockstar for what you have accomplished out there, you do know that, right?

Regina said...

Success and athleticism is measured by more than completing an Ironman. If anyone believes otherwise, then they are seriously deluded.

The fact that you managed to overcome addiction, make a successful and happy life for yourself and continue to pursue athletic challenges, speaks volumes. It also doesn't hurt that you are f*cking funny!

Girl, you got it goin' on!

Anne said...

No matter the subject, you always put a smile on my face...thanks :)

Aka Alice said...

I cannot even imagine thinking that I could attempt an Ironman, but then I think, "RBR thinks she could, so I should too."

Now that doesn't mean that I actually would chose to do it, or am thinking about trying to do an Ironman anytime soon, but the fact that your experiences last year have me believing that thinking I could do it is even a remote possibility is pretty damn impressive.

I so totally cannot wait to meet one of my inspirations next month. How creepy is THAT?

Diana said...

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.

I'd have to say: "you're living!"

Now just tell everyone else to fuck off!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

@Teh P. Escargot:

...so you are saying Glaven was actually vacationing at CdA?

Teh Ladies don't call me "Ironman" because of any stoopid athletic competition! They're referring to the impressive (and perpetually-at-attention) mesial pipe I'm swinging.

Am I right, B*tch, or AM I RIGHT?!1!?*

That's something that a soft, squishy Escargot could never understand.

Hey, B*tch ... when I stopped by last night ... Did I leave my n*ts@ck moisturizer lying around here? I dunno about you, but in the summer? My n*ts@ck gets all dry and flaky, like a French pastry. Which is a fine condition for pastries. But n*ts@cks?

Not so much.
* Rhetorical question. No need to respond. We all know the answer is "yes".

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

O, also:


And now ...


Julie said...

I just have to say I love all your posts, but this one really hits home with me. Whatever distance it is the fact that we started is the most important thing. How many will never even start any kind of tri, let alone Ironman!?

You rock!

Christi said...

I love your blog. You speak to everything I want to say and you do so with such emotion. Thanks for the honesty and for letting me a part of your blog!

Jane said...

IMCDA was a doozy - that fuckin' stoopid lake and I know you woulda kicked ass on the run.

You are too hard on yourself. You are doing so many things that most people can't or won't do! Not to mention that you have been through so much this year personally and STILL doing races!

You know I'm gonna kick your ass every time you say something crappy about yourself.

Rocky Raccoon maybe? (yes I'm your endurance-sports-enabler)!

Katie A. said...

Great post! And I can see clearly how full circle you came with that ;) Funny how this FREE blog of ours ends up being way more effective than the $150 we could be paying to a therapist :)

I think you are a rockstar - and I'm not just saying that. You attempted something that I could only every dream of and you should be proud - and I know you are. Maybe one day you'll get that itch (a good one, not one of those that lingers for months, you know what I mean) to try it again...or not. We're all out there for ourselves and you prove that everyday amd everytime you lace up, suit up or ride. Can't wait to run with you again! Have a great Thursday girlie.

SteveQ said...

While you stalked CdA, I was stalking Western States in your backyard (well, sort of - and your backyard looks pretty good in bike shorts). I was originally supposed to be a stalker (er, I mean pacer), but wimped out, thinking I'd be slowing my runner down; so I guess we all doubt ourselves.

And now your post title has me going through Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts. Remember, we Minnesotans actually elected that guy (and don't get me started on Jesse Ventura).

SteveQ said...

And I'm all confused about these "creepy internet people *SMIRK*" you claim you've met in real life. I'm feeling left out, like the cool kid watching the dorky girl next door chatting to her loser friends online.

Made you look over your shoulder, didn't I?

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

You said it!!

IronSnoopy said...


I don't think of you as "RBR who didn't finish CDA". I think of you as a hilarious, hard working, dedicated athlete who had one bad day, but showed the world that she could do it.

Dude, yeah, the race is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but pulling yourself up and doing the work day in and day out -- that's what makes an Ironman, an athlete.

In my heart, you're both of those. I have the quote, "An Ironman will never quit" and you never quit, RBR.

You're amazing and don't you dare think otherwise.

Aron said...

i think you are AMAZING and i always have. most people won't even attempt something like an ironman, and i know A LOT of people who won't do something unless they KNOW they will do it well (which i think is ridiculous). we all have our limits and i think the most awesome people are the ones who really try to push them, and may fail a few times along the way, but its TRYING that matters the most.

and being petrified of the water makes me all that more in awe of what you did last year at CDA.

Es --- IRONMAN! said...

SOOOO many people are in awe of those of us brave (stupid) enough to toe the line. That is accomplishment enough. As my coach says, "Becoming an Ironman is earned during the journey. The race itself is the celebration of the fact that you already are one." - Ed Zerkle, 2008. So F that stupid DNF - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

A friend of mine just got F*ck@d over by that lake and missed the swim by 6 minutes (yes I was stalking as well and praying (if I prayed) that she lost her timing chip and was safely on the bike.

RBR - you are still a ROCKSTAR and I still look forward to reading your posts. I laugh, I cry, then I laugh some more.

Interested in IMAZ 2011?

S. Baboo said...

You are awesome! It doesn't take much to take on something, anything, you already know you can do; it takes real courage to take on something that you know has a real chance of totally kicking your ass. It takes even more courage than that to keep kicking back once you know your ass has been kicked. Again, you are awesome!

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

A big, clydesdale bird told me you were considering Rocky Racoon 50 miler. I will most probably be there, trying to top my time from last time (when I had to walk the entire course and had severe IT band issues). Shouldn't be too hard. But anyway, if that's a nudge, then that's a nudge.

SteveQ said...

I just went back over those old race reports. Some good stuff there! Now, off to check that training log, because I could use a smug sense of superiority.

Lindsay said...

personally i think very highly of you because i don't know if i will ever get the balls to do an OWS :) incomplete IM or not, you rock in my book.

these were great thoughts, less moody than i thought they might be ;)

also, you should totally start selling t-shirts with your slogan - "if you do not want to see my fat ass run, run faster, then you won't see it anymore." i'd buy one.

Sarah said...

we need to talk, I'm avoiding blogdom and I just want to hash it all out with you because I know you, more than anyone, will get it. the pissed off feelings combined with incredible pride over how much you've accomplished. phone date soon, mkay?