Getting In (Fifth Time’s the Charm)
The Hawaii Ironman. Even if only considering its history and sheer spectacle, this is the mother of all long distance triathlons—the Super-World-Series-Cup-Bowl-all-wrapped-into-one of long course racing—and as its title of World Championship would imply, there is a rather select group of athletes talented enough to qualify to compete on the big island. It goes without saying then, as an athlete of questionable pedigree and far more meager talents—not to mention a propensity towards bad decision making, worse habits and an insatiable hunger for ice cream—you would be hard pressed to mistake me for a member of this select group. Fortunately for “genetically challenged” athletes like myself, and owing to its roots as just a crazy challenge amongst a group of “normal” guys (what’s a 140.6 mile swim-bike-run race amongst friends, right?), the race’s founder deemed that the race should always have a way for other “normal” guys/gals to take part in the madness. This prompted the creation of a lottery system, and each year 200 lucky, everyday Janes and Joes from around the world are selected to compete. After four years of throwing my name into the hat (and coughing up the requisite $85), on April 15th, 2007, this everyday Joe’s name finally got pulled. So in this case, I guess the fifth time’s the charm. And so my story begins, sort of.