Friday, April 2, 2010

Where Does It End?

"Where does it END, Jeanne?" That's the question I was asked on Saturday night. The person asking me that question was someone I put on a pedestal, a musician with talent I could never even hope for. With eight million other interesting things to talk about, how did we get on the topic of my training and racing?

My husband loves it when I try to dodge these questions. He always points out to people how "crazy" I am. Not for wanting to DO Ironman but for wanting to RACE Ironman. He tells them how I ran through five stress fractures trying make the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials. His favorite injury story to tell (incredulously) is how "she read" it would be too painful to run with a stress fracture -- and because "she could" still run 20 milers, "she just assumed" it wasn't a stress fracture. He calls it obsessive compulsive disorder. I call it determination.

So, then, where DOES it end? Is this a rhetorical question? Have I gone way over the limits of normal goal-oriented behavior? Maybe the question(s) should be this: how does one know when determination progresses to an obsession/compulsion? and if it does, how do you undo it before it results in permanent damage (or, in my case, injury from overtraining)?

I've given this almost a week's worth of thought and my conclusion is that I haven't figured it out yet. I used to think it would "end" when I had the perfect race. Maybe that's MY way of not answering the question. Maybe races like Ironman exist as the direct result of people thinking and behaving the same way I do. Maybe the reason I do it, and will continue to do it, is because it's the only way I have ever been able to distinguish myself as an individual. Ironman is "what I do" because I'm useless at everything else. In that case, it may "end" when I find something that I'm good at. Or with the next disaster.

1 comment:

  1. The 'end' is defined individually and you'll know it when you get there. There is no time line, no expiration date, no rules to govern the decision. Injury would prove to be the 'end' for some but you've obviously proven otherwise !!

    Perhaps the answer is in the 'Why?'. Not the "Why do you do this?" question but the "Why would you stop?" question. Right now, your answer is "Why not?" !!

    You are gifted with a mix of athleticism and determination that most coaches would die for. The best part of that is, you are motivated from your heart !! There's no one out there telling you to do your workout or demanding that you do them better. You love a challenge - and this is the most challenging contest you can find.

    I can only speak to the parts of you I see and think I know. You are not useless. You are a distinguished athlete !! I see you pursuing a dream of personal betterment that, if the entire human race would embrace, this world would be a so much better place to live. No one should ever be satisfied enough to sit on their laurels of the past.

    Success is searching for your boundaries and not finding them !!!

    There are song lyrics out there that say "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end". Perhaps someday you will stop racing the Ironman. But, I don't believe for one minute that you will then have all sorts of free time !! You will fill that time with a new endeavor - another one that calls to you challenge another facet of who you are !!

    There are many who believe in you and support you and love you no matter what. You've got the Best Damn Support Crew out there (Team J being the cream of that crop ya know). Whatever path you choose to run, bike, ski, jump, rappel, dive, parachute, hike, or just plain walk on... you will be doing what you need to do and we will be right behind you.