Thought for the Day

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Am Not An Ironman

Well, the day of reckoning was almost two weeks ago, so I apologize for keeping you waiting for a report.
The race result was what I had been worried about since before I signed up. I did not make the time cutoff for the swim. I needed to swim 2.4 miles in under 2 hours, 20 minutes, and I only made it about 2.2 miles when time ran out.
I thought about writing something about biting off more than I could chew, but the truth is, I came close enough to finishing the swim to know that if I had started seriously working on my swim earlier, and worked harder on it once I started, I could have done it. And I didn't.
When we challenge ourselves, when we set out to do difficult things, we learn about ourselves. Sometimes not everything we learn is good. I told everyone that I would do whatever it took to finish the swim, and I didn't.
I was too cocky early on. I had some fun and impressed a few people with my craziness by running 5 marathon distance or longer races between January 18th and February 15th. But looking back, it was just silly. I had one specific goal I had to achieve, and I wasn't even getting started on it.
Then I went to Diabetes Training Camp with my teammates, but I had the Old Pueblo 50 Mile in the back of my mind the whole time. I should have had more respect for the really important task at hand. I should have been concentrating on what I needed to do to get to the point I could swim 2.4 miles.
I was too stubborn. If I had been working on my swim sooner, I would have realized earlier that I needed someone to teach me how to swim. I was not going to get from splashing across the pool to gliding smoothly through lakes just by reading and watching videos. But I wanted to try to do it myself. This was also cockiness.
I was too lazy and disorganized. Sure I got up at 4 AM lots of mornings to go to the pool, but that's what everyone training for Ironman does. I missed a lot of days, too, sometimes because I didn't prepare well, and sometimes because I was too lazy. When I say I was lazy, I am comparing myself to others who trained for and completed the race, not the general public.
I know no one is going to say it, but I let a lot of people down. I don't think anyone is more disappointed than I am, but all of the people who backed me and supported me expected more from me. I was given so much support from so many sources, I don't think I can list everyone here.
Thank you all so much.
I'm disappointed with my result from race day, but race day was an awesome experience from the sidelines, watching the rest of the team shine.
I'm glad I signed up. I'm glad I challenged myself and set out on this tremendous, life-changing journey. It was well outside my comfort zone.
It's not over.
I'm continuing with my swimming, and I'm buying a bike. I don't know where or when it will happen, but I will meet this Ironman challenge.
Congratulations to all of the Triabetes teammates out there who had a successful race. You guys are awesome!
Please remember that it's people like me that help make people like you look good. :-)


PJ said...

You didn't fail anyone, Jerry. Well perhaps youself and only because you are the type of person to put enormous demands on yourself. You did try and you DID put forth effort. And doing just that is much better than not trying at all.

Not only that, you continued to try on race day. I can't imagine how heart breaking it must have been to be cut off with so little left to swim. Kudos to you for being out there in the first place.

So, think of it as a lesson learned. Now you know what it takes and you know what you need to work on. You'll get it next time.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, I am impressed that you even signed up for the Ironman. If it would have been me, there would have been a drowning in the first 1/2 mile (me). You are awesome Jerry, keep up the good work. Clint

Sean said...

I can only realistically speak for myself, but you sure did not let me down Jerry! I think many on the outside may look at it as a bunch of us solely focused on completing an IM. You were there, you know firsthand it's about so much more than that. You helped change lives... so much more important than completing that race on Nov 22. Besides, whatever disappointment may linger, it'll make the next time that much sweeter.

If I'm not racing next to you on the next go at it, let me know when and where, because I will be there in person to support you, period!

Saci said...

Jerry - you inspired us throughout your training, on race day and in the way you wrote up your reflections of the experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts through this journey - it means so much to so many. I'm looking forward to possibly running with you at an event in 2010 - and reading more of your adventures with racing.

Marcus Grimm said...

Nothing left to say that hasn't been said. Kind of a bummer of an experience.

I will says this, though: I was inspired that you tried. After all, you're a great runner, yet running doesn't do much to help swimming.

I learned that at the first triathlon I did, which is still the ONLY triathlon I've done. While I expect to go back to it someday, I'm in no hurry. You impressed that you went after it.

Keep in mind - it took you a while to get to Boston. No reason to think that you won't get the IM on your second shot at it.

Well done.


denise said...

You will be an Ironman someday no doubt! You are an inspiration to all of us diabetics out there and I'm looking forward to following your adventures through your blog.

Jimmy Dodson said...

The first major step in the process is simply just stepping up to the challenge and showing up at the starting line. But in the process of getting there... you did learn more about yourself than you knew before you started the endeavor.

You were out "on the edge" where the learning curve is steepest, often though, not realized until it's retrospective. You've obviously had a positive influence on many people, so how can your effort be considered failure? If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth it. If we were always good and completed our goals/dreams on the first attempt, the journey would be pretty boring.

You now have the knowledge, so from here it's just a matter of application. You're didn't fail Jerry, you've grown from the experience. You now know what it means to be an IM... go get it!

Good luck and take care! --J

Jen said...

Jerry Nairn is no failure in my eyes. Everyone else has already said everything I could say.

Please know that you impress me with your ability to TRY. Lots of people don't. YOU did. I know you'll get to be an IM finisher. Whether I get to be there with you or simply following by you're blog, I very much look forward to that day.

Thanks for lifting me up and inspiring me.