Jul 6, 2007

mutual insanity


something occurred to me about a conversation i had the other day - i'm insane.

allow me to introduce you to courtney. courtney is a 25 (or so) year old, very intelligent, very ambitious, kind, generous, and fun-to-be-around skier friend of mine who has dealt with weight issues of her own in the past and has set a goal for herself to complete an ironman triathlon. an ironman tri, if you don't know, consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 miles on a bicycle, and then a standard 26.2 mile marathon. all in one day.

she is at least as insane as i am, probably more. a lot more.

so i thought you'd like to see how insanity manifests itself when two crazy people get to talking. red text is our conversation. green text is comments about our conversation.

11:25 AM Courtney: So i was thinking on my flight (layover in chitown)...
why don't you do a triathlon?
next year?
specifically, you should do an ironman
it would be a great culmination of your weight loss efforts :)

at this point, if i was sane, my response would be "why would i do that? i ran a marathon last fall, and that was crazy enough!" but i am not sane, so therefore i instead said this:

11:26 AM me: actually, what i was thinking about doing
was an ultramarathon
maybe a 50-miler with lots of elevation

now, if c was normal, her natural response to that would be "um, steve - an ultra? dude it's great that you're under 300 lbs, but you're still almost 300 lbs - you probably shouldn't even be running anything more than a 10k. the marathon was very hard on you. a 50 miler? on a forest trail? with lots of mountains? come on, man - be realistic." But she didn't say that, she said this:

Courtney: that would be cool too

but, of course, everything the sane person would said about the 50 miler, she could have said about the ironman had i said i was interested in that. instead, she persists:

do you swim?
you'd have the bike and the run downpat
me: not really
a swimmer
i've tried, i look like a walrus
and swim like a cat

ok, so i'm not completely insane.

11:27 AM Courtney: hmm
well an ultra would be cool too
let me know if you find a good one, i would do it with you if you wanted a buddy

you see, here's the deal - NOBODY should be doing an ultra. it's not fun, it's not glamorous - it's not even healthy - but she, of course, is naturally interested.

me: ok
the idea of an ironman intrigues me, i will admit
but i guess ultras intrigue me more

yeah, because "intrigue" is a great reason to run so far that your body's natural response is to literally shut down.

11:34 AM me: anyway, yes i'll definitley let you know when i decide to do an ultra.
i may do a flat one.. there's one in newport rhode island every year that's obviously flat
or I may do a gnarly mountain one..
Courtney: gnarly mountain one would be awesome.... maybe that one in VT?
me: we'll see how my fitness is this time next year

yeah, my fitness. that would be an important prerequisite to running 50 miles. one thing i do have on courtney - every now and then i get a glimpse of realism.

11:37 AM Courtney: cool :) i will keep my eyes out for a nice ultra as well :) i know for a fact that you could do an ironman though with the discipline that you've done with the marathons... you might love it
chew on it for a while :)

realism, as you see, is easily replaced by optimism. a little cajoling doesn't hurt either. (:

me: have a good flight
Courtney: later

so here's a good test of your own sanity. if you agreed with the green more than the red, then congratulations! you can officially consider yourself normal and able to ridicule crazy people. if, however, you found yourself liking the red, then i have some bad news - you're going to often find yourself the object of ridicule by the normal people - often insidiously behind your back. but then again, you will also have experiences and memories that they'll never have. you'll learn more about yourself than they'll ever know, and you'll meet some pretty cool people to boot.

and that makes it worth it.

have a nice weekend,


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