Today was a long one. I left the hotel at 8 a.m., had meetings all day, and landed back in New York at 9:30 p.m. I picked up the new Triathlete magazine to read on the plane and immediately skipped to the Kona coverage. While the tales of Chrissie Wellington winning even after a 10-minute flat, and Craig Alexander taking the men's title were exciting, the story that literally brought me to tears (no joke - you should see me watching the TV coverage) was that of 34-year old Joe Marinucci, Kona's final finisher at 16:58:17. This wasn't his first Ironman, he has a PR of 12:47, but October 11 just wasn't his day.
It is a stark reminder that you can only prepare for so much in the Ironman and the rest is left to luck. I'd like to think I don't care when I finish. I watched the final finisher at IMWI this year and she had even less time to spare. Seeing that filled me with a flood of emotion. On one hand, I think we all just want to finish the race. But on the other hand, many of us are battling ourselves and have very specific goals. Do I even have the right to have goals? I've only done three triathlons. Ever. Yet I find myself wondering if 16:58:17 is enough for me. This athlete, Joe, said he wanted to quit, but then saw a plane take off and wondered what it would be like to be on his plane just 2 days later looking at the place where he had quit. So he pushed on and was the final finisher in Kona.
Stories like this make me believe I can and will finish. I can't wait to have the Ironman experience.