Thursday, April 9, 2009


The amount of pain people suffer to complete an Iron Man Triathlon is completely beyond me. I feel like this has to become a complete obsession. I don't feel the same way about the sprints and shorter triathlons, even though the training for even a half Iron Man must be tough. I don't just think people do it for the title. There is something inherently masochistic about the rigidity of the training and the massive endurance challenge the Iron Man represents.

I love sports, but I don't really love professional sports. I like playing sports, or watching people actually having fun playing. There doesn't seem to be any fun in an Iron Man Triathlon. I may be wrong - but the footage we saw in class would certainly make that argument. Like I mentioned in class, many of the female Iron Man triathletes looked to me like AIDS patients. The bones all poking out - it was ghastly. Especially watching these corpse-like figures struggling to get up and go on after their bodies give out time and time again.

Now - I am all for shaking it off and playing. I've been hit in the eye with a softball hard enough to see stitch marks, and I kept playing. But the kind of pain a body must experience after eight hours or more of hard labor is on another pain plane entirely. I also wonder what effect this kind of race must do to a person's psyche. Obviously it's intense enough to convince women (and men too, I suppose) that they have to emaciate themselves for the cause. But what about the other issues inherent in competition? To battle for twelve hours or something, just to see yourself passed by someone older, or seemingly less fit - this sport seems to be about almost nothing BUT pain.

To me, I guess, it really boils down to limits. Our own - psychological and physical. I have no desire to prove myself on the Iron Man course in Kona, Hawaii - but I do set some pretty intense goals for myself. My own perfectionism in some areas of my life could be considered masochistic, too.

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