It is becoming more and more tangible every day. Tuesday night, Chris looks up from his computer:
I am number 1437.
It makes the race more real. You can see the number being painted on yourself. I tell him those numbers will look great burned into his arms for the next six months. I look up then to meet the empty, blank look in his eyes.
Oh no. I can see it. The Ironman training so close but still so far away hole. The have I done enough or am I about to fall off the edge of I’ve done too much. The vacant hole that sucks up about 90 percent of the fun loving part of his personality. The dark hole that still sucks him away from the house for hours on end. The one that makes him eat a steady diet of meat and bread. The in bed by 9:30 pm routine. The car full of goggles, water bottles and socks. The If I Have To Drink One More Bottle of Ifinit I will Barf look in his eyes.
This man needs help.
Hurry upstairs, close the bedroom door, the bathroom door, the closet door into the small corner by my laundry basket and make the call.
1 – 800 – IRONMAN
Ironman Hell Hotline, what’s your emergency?
What seems to be the problem?
I don’t know. He’s been doing things - lately been doing strange things that I can’t understand.
One moment while I connect your call to the Erratic Behavior department.
They answer. I explain. Strange, erratic behavior in these final weeks before Ironman. For example - the other night, heading up to the lake for a swim. Husband had finished his two-and-a-half hour run earlier. I knew we were in for trouble when he grabbed a piece of bread and half a piece of meat for his recovery. Driving north on 355, he misses a turn. A new road, a bit of traffic, then a left turn, a no entrance to the westbound 90 and…all of a sudden he stops the car, opens the door in the middle of the road, gets out and screams:
Your turn to drive.
See what I mean? That’s not normal behavior. Who abandons the driver’s seat in the middle of the road? What if he does this in the middle of I-90 next time? What can I do?
(the line goes dead)
Hello? Hello? HELP? (redial)
All operators are busy assisting other callers with Ironman emergencies. Please hold.
Looks like I’m on my own here. No help. It’s just me. And this crazy iron of a man running around the house. Wait, where is he? I look up, he’s not around but then there goes a naked flash walking around the house with a piece of kinesio tape stuck on his leg. Yes, yes that’s him. The naked one with the tape. He says it’s holding his knee cap on.
For being so close, our October 6th departure date is still very, very far away.
The days are ticking away and plans are coming together nicely for the trip. Last week I spoke with Sherpa Thomas about the training. Training? Yes, training. How else does one survive 8 days on an island with the entire in-law family? Oodles of training. And when said family calls athlete crazy for doing all the training she shall point to Sherpa Thomas and say it was his idea, he made me go. Then he will have the wrath of 3 Waterstraat women (one is 6 months pregnant with a girl so that is actually the wrath of 3.6 Waterstraat women) in front of him.
Sherpa duties, Thomas. Read the fine print.
And so, there will be swimming in the ocean. There will be runs along Alii Drive. There will be a ride out and back to Hawi on a little road called the Queen K. Does Thomas know what he is getting himself into? Chris asked the other day as I unveiled my training plans. Of course he knows. I have already warned him that he will be my windshield up to Hawi. It’s the price he has to pay for Sherpa status. Plus he knows I’m training for Ironman.
Yes, I made my final decision. I’m doing Arizona. If you had Facebook you would already know. In fact, if you had Facebook you would already be a member of the TriBlogger Chicks group and know about a little meeting at the pier Wednesday morning at 7 am to swim in the ocean followed by the ritualistic ogling of the hot guys while sitting outside Lava Java and then artfully locating Macca to ask (force) him to be the Token Hot Guy of our group. And if he doesn’t comply we have big plans to smother him in stickers that read You’ve Been TriBloggerChicked.
Anyways, there are a dozen reasons why I’ve decided to do Ironman but none that really matter because even if I explain them to you and actually make sense about it you’ll still bring this up:
Remember this photo? The one I called No More Ironman?
Never you mind about that photo. Besides I am sure there will be plenty more that we can name all kinds of things after November 23rd. Until then, I will maximize my time on the Big Island to prepare. And as one Waterstraat safely exits Ironman Hell, the other will walk right back in as husband holds the door with a sinister laugh.
In the meantime, it might help for husband to keep the Ironman Hell Hotline number at hand. Because things could get pretty erratic in the next few weeks. This weekend I have my first 100 mile ride in a long time. Part of me is excited. The other part of me knows better. This will be work. There will be baggies. And sports drink. I’ll even have to dig up my Ironman nutrition plan. Which means I’m going to need a trip to the store for bars.
And you know nothing spells fun on a Friday night like bar hopping around town.
So be warned - you are now entering Ironman Hell. My journey has just begun. Husband - save that kinesio tape will you? I might need it to hold myself together.