Trek Women
November 15, 2007

"[Insert your name here] Are an Ironman!"

Tom_and_jen I listened and watched person after person cross the finish line and be declared an Ironman last week.  I was able to watch, on my computer, a feed of the Florida Ironman, waiting for Team Survivor triathlon coach, Tom Battaglia, to cross the finish line of his first Ironman race.  (Tom, notice I said "first," implying others).  The picture here is of Tom and I at the NJ State triathlon this summer - I raced sprint, he did Olympic distance.

There is something amazing and magical (not to mention gut wrenching) about completing an Ironman.  Swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then completing a full marathon  - how could you not respect and be inspired by that?  (Okay, so maybe you have to have a little triathlon crazy in you in the first place - Jeff's thoughts on an Ironman race "Your sport is just ridiculous!")  To me, even more honorable, is the ability for the everyman and everywoman to become an Ironman.  Now, of course, by that I don't really mean everyone - see, for example, Jeff's comment.  But, my deep respect for those who go the distance comes from seeing those men and women who have regular jobs, families and lives set this lofty goal and then meet it.   Quite a feat when you think about the months and hours of training that go into being able to race for up to 17 hours straight!

I saw men and women, of all shapes, sizes and ages cross that finish line and be declared an Ironman.  At first I thought, "I can't believe this announcer is really going to stay here for this long (well after it is dark) and announce the name of each finisher and declare them an Ironman."  But, the more finishers I watched, the more I respected the mountains they had climbed to be there and achieve that goal.  They deserved their moment at the finish line.  They were Ironmen.

So, after almost 14 hours of racing, I was able to see Tom cross the finish line and be declared an Ironman.  Tom, you ROCK.  I've seen and heard about your training since January. (You've gotta respect the dedication of a guy who shows up at a 5 am at a women's only triathlon to help coach 40 some Team Survivor women through a race only to say, "gotta go do a 6 hour bike ride" with a smile on his face).  Tom, you set the bar high and now I'm proud to say "You are an Ironman."  You amaze and inspire. Your bragging rights have been earned.

While I am not ready for an Ironman (yet!), I do know the thrill that comes from crossing that finish line and being able to say (no matter the race distance) "I am a triathlete."  Someday I hope to insert my name and hear "Jennifer Polo, you are an Ironman!

Be inspired!   -Jen

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