August 30, 2008

Taste of Madison

My Ironman journey officially began at 6:00 this morning when I left New York for Madison, Wisconsin. I'll spend the next 9 days here visiting family before volunteering at this year's race next Sunday. My two shifts - assisting in the female bike-to-run changing tent and run course marshall - span 12 hours from noon to midnight, yet I won't be out there as long as some of the athletes. I am volunteering so I can get an up close and personal look at the Ironman experience before jumping in head first. It also feels really good to support the incredible people taking on this incredible challenge. I want to be part of the race rather than watching from the sidelines. Since I couldn't get a morning shift, I will go to Lake Monona bright and early to watch the race start on Sunday.

Even as I sit here on the plane, already on my way, I can't help but have some lingering doubts deep within my mind. Can I really do this? Am I a poor cyclist and likely to crash again during the many miles I'll ride in training? Will I burn out from the high volume of training and lose interest in the sport? If you know me or have read my profile, you know I've struggled with consistency and motivation throughout my athletic attempts. I've always managed to get through my marathons, with stress fractures, ilio tibial band syndrome and other ailments, but I always could have done better. Why do you think I call myself The Lazy Marathoner? That is why triathlon has been so good for me. It's the first thing I've taken seriously enough to follow through and not cut corners.

I arrived in Madison at 1:45pm and was at the Taste of Madison by 3:30. This is my annual gluttony fest where I eat things like fried cheese curds and brats and it's always worth it. This is my third year at the Taste, but my first here with a purpose. When I landed in Madison, there were international triathletes arriving for their IMWI experience. My family said the lake was full of swimmers this morning. So while still subtle, Ironman is in the air if you take the time to notice. I'm getting up early tomorrow to walk to Lake Monona to see who is out there swimming the course. If I can't join them, I might as well watch them. That's why I'm here after all, to have a full Ironman experience before I begin my own personal journey. And the time is now.

Taste of Madison
1 order fried cheese curds
1 pulled pork sandwich
2 crab rangoons (fried, of course)
1 slice key lime pie
2 small chardonnays

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