Some days, I look down at my M-dot and think "gee, I really dont deserve this". Usually it's when I'm sitting on the couch feeling guilty about deciding to stay in and watch an episode of CSI that I've already seen 5 times rather than go for a run. More often than not, if I'm looking at it while I'm in the process of trying to decide "CSI or run", it will motivate me to go out and run.
It's funny that 7 months (and 10, erh, 15 lbs) later I can still be motivated and pushed along by my Ironman experience even though I'm not really training for anything, and have no plans to train for any big races in the near future. While I was training, it was the thought of finishing that motivated me, and I guess it's still the same today. And I think now 140.6 miles seems longer than it did before I completed it.
Dawn had this posted on her blog, I found it pretty relevant:
Ironman It follows you everywhere. Like an ever-present shadow or an alter ego, and at times it can follow you like an annoying guilt-inducing time management stalker. But most often it follows you around as a confidence-inspiring best friend. Ironman is always with you.
You realize in this crazy and dynamic sport that Ironman is not just a logo on the products that appear everywhere around us---on supermarket shelves, in clothing stores and bike stores. Ironman is not just a race or a goal. Ironman is a life-changing experience that irrevocably gifts you with intense lessons about yourself and a fitness level that is often unsurpassed.
Whether you are training to race in your first Ironman, or you’ve finished nine World Championship Ironman races in Hawaii, this experience stays with you. When you mention the words of Ironman triathlon to other people, it changes things. It changes things in you, and it changes things in them. Telling someone you’re an Ironman or that you are going to do one commits you in a binding way. It has been said that when you fully commit to something or someone, you find it easier to tell other people. It’s also been said that once you are fully committed to something or someone, you are bound by your word and your internal commitment to yourself.
Wearing an Ironman T-shirt opens the door for people to talk to you in airports, on the street, or in restaurants. And like a club with a secret handshake, when you see other people who have finished an Ironman, there is a silent understanding. Most relationships are forged with a common experience, and the bond of experiencing an Ironman is one that breaks conventional relationship boundaries. Just go to Kona---or Lake Placid or France---to witness people from all over the world with ultra-diverse backgrounds becoming part of a very special and supportive family.
With the commitment to train and race in an Ironman, you’ve started along the yellow brick road that will present you with far more than the lions and tigers and bears of your own self-doubt and fear. Training gives you a strong heart, physiologically and emotionally. Racing will grant you courage. Finishing will give you dauntless confidence. This yellow brick road to Kona, Hawaii---or to any Ironman race worldwide---will be jammed with lessons. You’ll rapidly learn that biking shoes are like ice skates on the slippery floors of grocery stores and that a bike can seem just a few pounds lighter than your running shoes. You will also learn very difficult lessons that will shake and sort your priorities in life like a powerful earthquake, revealing the basic truths that support who is really important to you.
If you’re not myopically focused on the size of your chain ring, or your finishing time, then Ironman just may teach you what you honestly value in your life. You will learn the basic lessons of what to eat, how to train, and how to run a marathon after being glued to your bike seat for more than 112 miles. You will learn that the wind, the rain, the heat and the struggle are often overshadowed, even forgotten, when you reach the last few miles of an Ironman and find the courage to break through your own boundaries. It is inevitable that when you watch an Ironman, or when you do an Ironman, the words never or never again will pass through your mind as you click your running shoes together at mile 15 of the run and say, “I wish I was home, I wish I was home.” But then you’ll realize that it’s within the Ironman experience that you just may find yourself more at home than laying in your bed on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Ironman may follow you like a shadow, but like all kids, you’re destined to find out that your shadow is a mere representative image cast by an object blocking illuminating rays. And that object is you, rebuilt with the adventurous fortitude of the Ironman experience. Let your running shoes click together in your next stride and glance down at your shadow. You’re home.