Beyond Iron
Life … when the training is finished

Just Getting There

Brody and Grandma - February 2010

Training complete: 21 weeks, 3 days • Until race: 8 weeks, 4 days

There’s a saying among Ironman triathletes: just getting to the starting line is an accomplishment in itself.

In short, we can set goals for desired finishing times. We can boast about how awesome we’re going to do. But in the course of the nearly 1 year it takes to think about, prep and train for an Ironman – with the risk of injury, and more importantly, the variety of things life can throw your way – just standing at the starting line on race day is a major, major accomplishment in itself.

The 12 hour finishing time goal can suck me.

That’s not to say, that somewhere deep inside, I still harbor that goal. Or that on the surface, I don’t believe I can’t do it. I think I can. And I think there’s a good chance I might.

But there’s been many reasons that getting to this blog have not been anywhere near my top priority for much of the past two months, and it has very little to do with the intense amount of training I’ve been cramming into an increasingly dwindling time pool.

When I did the Ironman in 2008, I largely battled the results of Heidi being laid off and the struggling state of my company and the world economy in general.

In 2010, it’s been family crisis. My sister and her husband separated in July. There was plenty that came with that. And now, on Sunday, my grandmother, who was in Phoenix to visit her great grandchildren, suffered a fall in our home. She fractured her pelvis and is currently hospitalized.

Due to many complications, Heidi and I and my sister are currently her only family in Phoenix,and thus the primary contact for her care here in Phoenix. We’re the only people who can go to see her, to support her, to help her get well. She’s sad. She wants to be home, in New Jersey. But right now, she can’t even walk, let alone get on a commercial airliner.

The goal is to get grandma well enough, as soon as possible, and get her back to her vast support network on the Eastern seaboard.

At times like this, Ironman becomes pretty secondary in importance. I’m a freak, so I’ll find the time to train. Today, I woke up at 4:30. Worked from 4:30 to 4:30. Got home, so Heidi could get in her workout, and rode a stationary bike while Heidi went to her workout class. I rode the bike for an hour, in between getting off the bike to help the kids get what they needed. I decided that mowing the lawn could easily be construed as a 4-hour run (it needed it); then made dinner from 6:15 to 7:15. Ate with the family and kids and headed to the hospital from 7:45 to 9 p.m. Tomorrow will be similar, I’m planning to use my lunch break, the period after work (I’ll take the kids then, too) and then maybe some time after the kids go to bed to visit grandma.

She may be transferred to long term rehab care tomorrow, and I want to be around to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

Oh, and I do the half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13 mile run) this weekend, too. Needless to say, the days will be full.

So, if you don’t hear from me much as I make the final approach, don’t worry. The race will go on.

It’s just that there’s a few more important things than this blog that have popped up.


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