As I begin writing this post, I'm at a crossroads. There is a decision that I need to make today. Within the next 30 minutes... And I am completely on the fence about the issue, although it is a decision that has potentially huge (well, relatively, I mean, it's not like we are withdrawing troops from Iraq based on me or anything...) ramifications.
I have 2 major hang-ups. Ok, I have a lot of hang ups but there are 2 that loom over all others and tend to create trouble for me repetitively. You see, I tend to jump into a game without thinking things through. I speak and write without realizing what exactly it is that I am saying, I commit myself to things that I really don't want to be committed to, and I start things without considering whether I can finish.
The biggest example of this is my relationship with my ex-wife. We met when we were freshmen in college. The first night I met her I told my roommate I was going to marry her. It only took a few months for me to realize that we weren't exactly the most compatible, or even a reasonably compatible, couple. But I was stubborn and felt that I said I was going to do it because I said it so I couldn't stop until I did it.
And that leads me to my second big problem.
I don't finish things. I can begin a million projects and get them to near completion and then walk away. I don't know why, but I don't need the satisfaction of the final destination to enjoy the journey. My marriage, my school science projects, entrepreneurial pursuits, books I've written... I take them to the point of no return, and then I return. I don't make the final efforts to realize the potential of what I start.
That's one of the primary reasons that I jumped into endurance sports. The only true measure of success in endurance sports is finishing the activity. Yea, you can argue that you can succeed by preparing even without finishing; but, while I respect this philosophy it just doesn't work for me. When my goal was to complete a marathon in December, I wouldn't have considered myself successful if I had only done a 20 mile training run without doing the actual 26.2 mile race. I think of Ironman the same way. I can train for years but if I never do it than I will never hear the dude say "DV You are an Ironman!" and I will not be successful. Some will disagree with this definition of success in endurance sport, but that's my definition. Finishing.
So endurance sport seemed the perfect way to battle this demon, in addition to a few others that I'll save for another day.
I planned on racing Ironman Wisconsin since last fall, and I added Ironman Switzerland to my schedule around the start of January. When I added IM Switz, the selling points were that it was a fun race with some new friends in a place I've never been. Sweet!
But I really didn't consider most of the things that a logical person should have considered prior to committing to 8000 miles of round trip travel and their first attempt at one of the most epic of endurance sports events. Money for travel and expenses (I now have learned that when you travel as an age grouper to an international race, you may as well make a vacation of it and include the race as the main activity but one of several activities...), childcare for a week, the loss of close friends and family presence at the event (my family could be at Wisconsin, but not in Switzerland), the inability to hold my kids' hands as I cross the finish line, the ramped up training schedule that would push me to and beyond the limits of my limited triathlon experience body and mind - all of these things I should have considered but didn't. Typical DV... Demons...
The last few weeks I've struggled a little meeting training demands. My long swims have gotten shorter and my long bikes; well, what long bikes? I have been running more than ever, and my run performance has been my sole confidence booster.
So, with my training not going as well as I hoped, and a million other things pulling at my time, and not getting finances to work out like I thought they might, my second demon started to show its ugly head. Why am I doing this? Why don't I just wait, be patient and let IM Wisconsin be my first IM as I had planned all along? More training time, family at the race, cheaper travelling....
I had already arranged childcare for the week of IM Switzerland, so then I started thinking of what I could do with a week off with no kids in mid June. How about a kick ass training week? Sweet, I could go to the mountains visit friends and ride and run until my legs were rubber. How about volunteering at a race? Hey, IM CDA is on the same day as IM Switz, so I could travel to Idaho and get some first hand IM experience before actually competing in IM. Sounds great!
And so the last week I've been struggling with this decision. Do I go to Switzerland under less than ideal conditions, ok in my opinion maybe even piss-poor conditions, suck up the pain from training that will probably be inadequate, and make the best of it? Or do I step back and be logical and take a more patient and calculated approach while letting my demons claim victory?
See the kind of crap I get myself into???
What if I get hurt between now and Wisconsin and can't race?
What if I push too hard to try and catch up with Switzerland training and I get hurt and can't race there?
What if I meet a lifer in the mountains or in CDA?
What if I still travel west and get some mountain training this summer on a different weekend?
What if my kids don't see me in Switzerland? It's me that want them to see me race, not them that want to see me race. And they could still see me in Wisconsin.
What if I am so burnt from being undertrained/injured in Switzerland that I can't recover enough to compete in Wisconsin?
What if? What if? What if?
Well, it's time that I have to make a decision.
Do I shoot down my second demon and go to Switzerland without the family presence that is so important to me and without the most appropriate financial situation and with the probability of inadequate training?
Do I back out of Switzerland and go train in the mountains with friends and volunteer/learn at CDA for the week I would have been overseas?
In the end, it's all about the Demons. If I drop out of Zurich, they win. Again. Like they have so many other times in my 31 years. And my epitaph may as well read "DV - never finishes what he starts."
Not this time.
I will finish what I started. I will toe the line in Zurich. I will finish Ironman Switzerland. And even if it is in French (or German, or whatever the hell language they use in Switzerland), dude will say "DV, You are an Ironman" on June 24, 2007.
I will win this battle.