Monday, August 24, 2009

Wavering...

It's that time of year again. As Ironman races click by, I wonder if another one is in the cards. The internal debate rages on, pro and con lists are made, finances examined, locales researched and my desire to once again embrace that lifestyle is scrutinized. Do I have another 140.6 mile day in me?

True blue triathletes don't need to think about it. It's what they live and breath. Two and sometimes three (freaks!) Ironman races a season are standard. I don't know these people personally, but I've heard the myths. Their social lives are based on swim, bike and run - and maybe one beer before their heads hit the pillow. This is not me.

Completing two IM races in eight years (plus one DNF at mile 13 of the run) does not make me seasoned. (Photo is from IM-Florida in 2007.) I'm no poser, but the 140.6 sticker on my car is starting to mock me. It's been nearly two years and it either needs to be removed or I have to step it up.

How can my desire to race a year from now be determined today? Wait and see, one might say. The sad fact is, I can't. Ironman races fill up in a matter of hours - a year before the race date. People gladly pay $525 for race entry to exert themselves physically for up to 17 hours. And it's not even race day that's daunting. It's the training. The six hour rides, no Friday night happy hours, the painfully sore hamstrings and substantial investment in Bodyglide. (It's not as cool as it sounds. Promise.)

But there is a pay-off. The feeling of peace right before the cannon goes off. Looking around at 2,000 other athletes are in the same boat. Meeting some of the best people ever, especially on the run. Crossing the finish line - the only place where regular people feel like a rockstar. And the day after. Rehashing the small details with your friends while barely able to walk down stairs.

More internal debate to come. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sophie Day

I've been dogsitting for Sophie the last couple days, so dog thoughts are running through my mind...

Sophie was born on Christmas Eve 1998 in Richmond, Missouri, one of a litter of fourteen. By the time I first laid eyes on her two months later, it was just she and a sister pup left. “Pick me!” she seemed to say, paws propped up on the plywood divider. Her sister was more docile, which I thought might be a better choice. Never having owned a dog, I believed docile meant easy. But Mike convinced me otherwise.

The breeder was tired. Selling 12 golden retrievers would be enough to wear anyone out. She said she’d give us a hell of a deal if we took them both. But I was overwhelmed with just one puppy, so we declined. Instead, Sophie Day (named after Sophia Loren and her penchant for black eyeliner) boarded the SUV bound for Kansas City.

It has been over a decade since Sophie trotted into my life and to regale all the dog stories would require a novel instead of a blog entry.

She is still around, living with Mike and going to ‘work” everyday at the office. She is slower, as a ten year dog is apt to be. Her back paw never quite healed from a scuffle with the FedEx truck and the golden has turned to white. Golf course runs are now block walks. But she still begs furiously for your last bite of food, greets visitors with a wagging tail and loves a drive to Dairy Queen.

Someday, sooner rather than later, I’ll have to blog something much sadder. But for today, I am fortunate to see the dimming of an era before it’s totally gone. And be nudged by a wet nose for just one more peanut butter treat.