Tonight I had a chocolate malt at work. Probably doesn't seem like a very big deal, but oh, it is. A co-worker offered to buy everybody one and for once I couldn't refuse. My co-workers were so surprised they couldn't believe I was serious. They're used to me eating salad, fruit, zone bars, chicken (lots of chicken), but not chocolate malts. It was possibly the best thing I've ever tasted and I do not regret my decision one bit. But then it got me thinking about how much things have changed for me in less than a year.
It might seem weird that a chocolate malt can make me think about change, but it does. Since I started training for the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon in Feb. just about everything in my life has changed. It's not like I think about it all the time but some mornings I wake up and get ready for my swim, bike or run and think about how I never would have, or could have, done this before. I finish a 100 mile bike ride, or 2 mile swim or 16 mile run and occasionaly find myself amazed at how I got to this point. I wonder when I started looking at food as fuel instead of just as food. Sure, I still eat the occasional thing that's just good, especially after a big training, but it's not something I do often.
I think it's important to remember where we were before. After a really hard training or on the days when I don't think it's possible to climb one more hill, or run one more mile I try to be thankful that I can climb that hill or run that mile. The people who are also doing the full ironman on my team are all guys and I usually find myself about 5 or 10 minutes behind them on rides. I always start out right with them and then eventually watch them fade into the distance. It used to make me mad at myself and discouraged until I realized that I'm not competing with them. It's enough that I can ride 100 miles when had a hard time riding 10 before. Now I'm just happy that I catch up at all the stops.
In the end I like the person I've become or am becoming. I feel alive in a way I haven't felt for some time. While ironman training has changed me in numerous ways it has also sustained me through other, more personal changes. Some Saturday mornings when my alarm goes off at 4:15am and I've only had a few hours of sleep I seriously consider going back to sleep. But I never do. And I never regret it either. Once I get to where we're running that morning and head off down the trail as the sun rises I realize that this is exactly where I want to be. And all that from a chocolate malt.