Alcoholism to Ironman: Part 2

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

I am not "less than" or "more than..."

I am officially signed up for Ironman 2020! Things became very real, very fast. Although it is obviously the end goal, I actually hesitated. I completed the online registration, entered my credit card information, and...hesitated. Fear and self-doubt crept in, as usual. However, it was the commitment that actually caused me to pause. I’ve never really committed to anything. I have already put myself out there to my friends, family, and of course you. What if I fail? How embarrassing. I’m simply not sure I can do it. We will see, we will all see.

I immediately contacted Vicki and said, “Well, I signed up. There no turning back now!” She of course replied, “I didn’t realize that was ever an option." She obviously doesn’t have my commitment issues - she’s all in, all the time.

As a person (and alcoholic), I have always compared myself to others. As a result, I have always seen myself as either "more than or less than" everyone else - never the same. Of course to do this, you have to be extremely judgmental, and unfairly decide everything you need to know about a complete stranger in about the first 3 seconds. It’s relatively easy. You can base it on just about anything - their car, their clothes, their job, their looks, their size, their laugh, their hair cut - really whatever you what (but remember, you don’t have much time). It's highly superficial and highly inaccurate. Although, my general default is that I’m "less than." On occasion, I may decide that I’m "more than" someone else.

In my recovery from addiction I am learning that everyone has a story of their own. That everyone is at their own individual spot in their life. And finally, that everyone has their own unique set of struggles. But at the core, we are all just people. I have begun looking for the similarities that I have with other people, not the just differences. I am finding that I’m not all that unique. Which is, of course, a less lonely existence.

These feelings of "less than" have no doubt filtered into my training - on the road, in the pool and especially at the gym. These can be intimidating situations. It’s easy to decide that everyone else knows exactly what to do and I’m the odd man out. But the fact is, I don’t know what they know. Maybe they have been training for years, maybe they are faking it, or maybe they are just like me - simply new.

The truth is, everyone has to start somewhere. It’s okay to simply not know what to do. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to be exactly where I am. The most important thing for me is to just show up to every workout mentally and physically. And guess what? It's working. Little by little, I’m learning new skills, getting stronger, and conquering my fears.

Also, I have discovered that the athletes and trainers at Tri Fitness are incredibly supportive and helpful. Many have gone out of their way to make me feel like I belong. It’s an amazing place and an amazing group of people.

I challenge you to commit to something new - anything. Pick a goal, a new skill. It can be anything - a 5k, a marathon, triathlon, book club, healthy lifestyle, foreign language, learn to paint, faster time, or better yet, join me for Ironman Wisconsin 2020. Either way, pick something you have always wanted to do but were too scared or overwhelmed to try. The only rule is that after deciding what it is, you have to tell someone. Once people know, it becomes real and it actually makes the journey begin.

I think you will find that you, like me, are not "less than" or "more than" anyone one else.

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