Not just an Ironman

I’m a marathoner with a triathlon problem.  I admit it.  I’m a three-time Ironman; that’s not something many people can say.  To be honest, I expect to do another next year.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, lately I’ve found myself shying away from my Ironperson status.  Sure, I’m proud of my achievements and happy to talk about racing and races when asked, but there’s more to me and it’s not something I want to lead off a conversation with.  “Hi, I’m Becky, I’ve done three Ironmen.  It’s nice to meet you.”  In fact, I get embarrassed when my friends introduce me to people that way (“Becky just did her third Ironman.”)… I guess I’m glad they think it’s cool but at the end of the day it’s not that big of a deal.  I used to think it was.  It’s really not.  It doesn’t define me.  I don’t want it to.

 I’m also a female.  I realize that’s not much of a shocker… bear with me as I tie this up.  I’m a single female who certainly appreciates (and hopes to date) an attractive man.  But I met such a man this weekend and if I never see or speak to him again I’d be totally fine (although I am fairly sure we’ll meet again based on the circle we travel in).  Sound strange?  Let me clarify:  I am not a female who thinks hot men who know they’re hot and behave accordingly are attractive in the least.  Moreover, I don’t think hot male athletes who only talk about training, racing, and nutrition/their diets are attractive.  I think they’re one-dimensional, overrated, cocky, and terribly boring.  So, I guess I need to qualify my earlier statement.  I want to date a man who I find to be attractive.  I appreciate there is a huge difference.

 This season has been very strange for me.  I’ve trained very diligently coming back from injury but because of my early-season A race, I did a lot of training on my own.  Everyone else is in the thick of their seasons and I’m just sort of trying to maintain and have some fun until I settle into marathon mode so I continue to train alone.  I wonder if the fact that my schedule has been, and continues to be, out of sync with most of the people I know makes me feel a bit disjointed.  I think it’s more than that. 

 The people I’ve met and gotten to know this year through tri club and other events leave me feeling a bit cold and very isolated.  To many of them it’s all triathlon (or running or races) all the time.  That’s all we talk about:  training, racing, picking next year’s races, nutrition, etc, etc., etc. ad nauseum.  It just really doesn’t interest me much.  Sure, I love to race and enjoy it and do need to figure out my next year plan (since races open a year out), but I don’t want to live, eat, breathe, and sleep the stuff.  I’d like to know who these people really are.  What makes them tick? What their interests and hobbies, other than triathlon, are … do they have other interests and hobbies?  I hope so, I do!  I’d love to talk about those things some time… instead, we talk about honey stingers, wheel sets, arm coolers, and race venues… Enough already!    

 Maybe it’s because I’ve got a good few years if not a decade on some of these folks.  They’re all eager and chomping at the bit … they don’t know that there’s more to life than racing and training (and drinking after training and racing).  That sometimes it’s nice to do something other than go for 5 hour bike rides on a weekend morning.  That it’s nice to take a vacation that doesn’t involve a race.  That not everyone has to do an Ironman to be a triathlete (and correspondingly, not everyone is cut out to do an Ironman).  I’m just over it. 

 That reminds me, another annoying thing about Mr. Hot Guy this weekend was that he asked me about my most recent race and I kinda blew off the question with a quick “it was fine,” sort of response which seemed to annoy him.  As far as I’m concerned the race was 5 weeks ago (seems like ancient history) and I’ve moved on.  His response was like, but it was an Ironman, what do you mean you were bored, how could you not have been thrilled beyond belief?  I was bored.  I had nothing to prove.  This guy wasn’t going to get that so I let it drop.  Then he asked me about my times in each leg.  If this was someone I knew I think the question would have been fair but this wasn’t a friendly, how did you do sort of a question.  He was sizing me up, still incredulous that I was bored with the race. 

 Honestly, what difference do my times make?  I finished.  Hell, I’ve finished three Ironmen.  Does it matter if I was first or last?  Apparently it does to him (as he proceeded to tell us later he usually places in his age group and just got a new bike so his bike splits are even more awesome than they used to be… seriously.  What a stud.).  So not only is he one-dimensional and boring, he’s judgmental.  I suspect he’s determined that because I don’t podium I’m not worth his time.  Besides, I’m hot enough to date him anyway.  That’s certainly how he behaved.  The conversation had to be about him.  Did I mention that when he wasn’t working our table and talking about himself he would wander off for tens of minutes on end… apparently the task at hand and the company weren’t enough to hold his interest.  The male ego is such an entertaining thing to behold. 

 I recently read somewhere that, if given a choice, men would prefer to be respected than loved.  Interesting.  Women definitely do not trend that way and it’s very good to know and understand.  Thinking about it I realize that many of the men I’ve met in the past few years (some of whom I’ve dated or tried to date) fall into this category but I just didn’t appreciate how fragile the male ego was.  Having a strong personality and my own opinions I now appreciate that some men thought that I didn’t respect them… which isn’t necessarily the case.  I enjoy a good and lively conversation and respect very much the people who can hold my attention and I can learn from.  I feel that respect is earned.  In the case of these triathlete “boys” please know that I’m not going to respect you just because you’re fast.  I’m not going to respect you just because you’re cute.  I will respect you if you are smart, kind, humble, assertive, goal-oriented…   

 I think that many of the athletes I have come to know are very good people.  Please don’t take this to suggest otherwise.  I am merely suggesting that I would very much like to actually get to know these people for who they are, not for the races they’ve completed or the bikes they ride.  In the meantime I will continue to train and race and try to improve.  But, to be honest, I’d prefer to keep that to myself and let you get to know me for who I am.  I am more than an Ironman.