I love the IM distance for so many reasons. It's truly unique from every other distance. There's a reason the IM club is difficult to gain access to. What makes it so unique? Why are IM athletes considered different than other triathletes? What does this grueling event captivate athletes and spectators alike?
The mere thought of doing an IM can be overwhelming. Waking up at the crack of dawn to be in a pool at a time when normal people are sleeping. Spending more time on a bike now then you did when you were a kid. Running, running and more running. Then there's the race. An entire day a moderate to severe physical exertion!
The thing I love most about all of this is that IM is like life. There are ups and downs through training and racing just like there are in life. We all have great days where we feel like we can topple the world. Training/racing is easy on these days. We feel as though we could go all day long. Those are the easy days. We have all had days when training was miserable. Unfortunately, we probably have had races that were just as miserable. This is life. Typically, those that can get through the bad days are the people that are most successful. Whenever I face a bad day or bad moment in training/racing, I tell myself that it will pass and I need to "put my nose to the grindstone." It soon passes and things get better. I apply this to my life every day.
Rough patches will pass. Don't let them get you down or feeling sorry for yourself. Remember what triathlon has taught you. Those that deal with adversity the best are usually most successful. Triathlon has taught me to suffer and endure. Others realize this and have a unique respect for IM athletes. There only a select few that are able to put themselves through that type of torture!
I've learned a lot about myself the last six years. I've learned that when the chips are down, that's when I'm the toughest. I've learned that I'm able to suffer more than I ever thought. I've learned that I will continue to push my body long after it's told my brain to stop. Most importantly, I've learned that triathlon is life!