First, the ugly. I know a lot of bloggers who have had Internet "stalkers" and wild negative comments. As great as it is to blog and express opinions in our personal blogs - there are mean people in the world. It is a fact of life. I've started a policy on this blog that unless I can see a first and last name with a working email - I will no longer publish comments from those people and I am in the process of rejecting those comments throughout the history of my blog. Same with some of the forums on the Internet. Some forums have good information. According to how they read forums are full of 9 hour Ironman times and pros. Not really... but they are loaded with people who think numbers mean things. To quote Jack Welch, "We often measure everything and understand nothing." Negativity along with mean and crazy people do have Internet access too. Ask anyone with a blog older than two days and they can tell you stories.
I was telling one of my athletes (who is going through a hard time personally) that negative people are everywhere. If you have never trained for an Ironman, you have heard comments like these from everyone - including triathletes:
a) "I don't even like driving 26 miles let alone run 26 miles"
b) "I won't walk 2.4 miles and you're going to swim it"
c) "How long do you have? A week?"
d) "Do you get a motorcycle for the bike?"
e) "How long is the marathon portion of the race?"
f) **My favorites** "You are crazy", "You're a f**king lunatic", "You're insane", "You're an idiot" - get ready for all of these once a day minimum
On to the positive...
Through triathlon, I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people from every walk of life. I have had the opportunity to inspire people to do things in their life. Even more so, I have been inspired to do things in my own life by Bill Bell, Bob McKeague, Bob Scott, Madonna Buder, Rudy Garcia-Toloson, Jon Blais, Gordo Bryn, Dave Scott, Natasha Badmann, Mark Allen, Cherie Gruenfeld, Scott Rigsby, and many others.
Everyone of these spectacular people make experiences with the crazies and negative people worth it.
Hearing Bill Bell say that at 87 he still does sprint triathlons, "for the chicks and beer". Bob McKeague saying, "Boy you guys are too fast for me" right after he held 30 mph on a bike sprint... at 84 years young. Watching 79 year old Bob Scott do 10 x hill repeats in Warrenville when the high school cross country runners are puking after five. Having your bike blessed by Sister Madonna Buder at USAT Nationals "because that doesn't look like the bike you had last year". I'll take any blessing I can get! Running with Natasha Badmann in 2001 St. Croix on her second loop of the run (my first loop) and having repeated examples of good sportsmanship by her and me and having her turn to me and say in her accent, "Go, fight strong the whole run!" Gordo Bryn answering training questions when we have never met in person and I have not paid him for his advice. (One day Gordo... I hope to repay your kokua. Mahalo nui loa brother.) Cherie Gruenfeld just being Cherie. Scott Rigsby joking about taking BOTH LEGS OFF and putting them in the overhead compartment of a plane. Last, but not least, sitting with Jon Blais and his parents and learning about ALS at the medical tent in Kona at 2:05 AM on Sunday. A year later, spitting in the face of ALS as the end drew near for Jon but laughing together anyway. The difficulty of that personally is high as the moon. Miss talking to you Jon. I still hear your voice brother.
If you aren't inspired by that... well, perhaps nobody can help you. If you are a triathlete, just hearing some of that probably got your blood boiling and your own mind thinking of your own personal stories.
The "Average" Ironman
According to the data points from the WTC surveys in Kona, the average Ironman's typical training week:
(in miles per week)
Swim: 7 (11.3 km)
Cycling: 225 (373.2 km)
Running: 48 (77.2 km)
*All this from page 19 of the Ironman World Championship Media Guide 2008
Average Annual Income: $161,000
Average Age: 37
Gender Ratio: Male 70%, Female 30%
Education: (Post Secondary): 95%
Occupational: (Professional; Executive): 72%
Access to Internet: 97%
Daily Internet Use: 60%