I have to admit that when I first heard that Mark signed up 12 months ago, I thought he had made a huge mistake. Sure, he was a great cyclist and a pretty fair runner, but he couldn't swim. I don't mean he couldn't swim well. I mean he couldn't swim at all. We're talking about floaties and a kickboard in the kiddy pool. He was giving himself only about one year to learn to swim 2.4 miles in open water. Even knowing how determined he is, and even with the fact that he doesn't know how to quit, I thought he was nuts. I didn't tell him, because the $700 or so he paid to sign up was non-refundable, but I certainly thought it.
Then a funny thing happened. He refused to fail. He shook off the naysayers and his own fears and he started to learn. Along the way, he considered quitting, but he never gave in to the little voice that told him that he had bit off more than he could chew. Like a little kid, with an atomic jawbreaker, he kept on going, sure he would get there. And of course, he did.
As I watched him cross the finish line on my computer the other night, I found myself considering what this means for me. I have to admit that somewhere, not so far in the back of my mind, I'd like to do an Ironman one day, although I too can't swim a lick. He's tried the old “if I can do it, you can do it” approach with me, but I'm not so sure he's right. After all, he's younger and single and can afford to pay for lessons and the race fee and, and, and. How much of this is sound logic and how much is the pessimist in me, I'm not so sure. I often see the glass as completely empty and am amazed at the optimism of the guy who sees it as half empty. Yet, there is this little voice in the back of my head that says “maybe”.
For now, I've “liked” Ironman on Facebook and will be getting their little reminders from time to time. At the very least, in this time when there is a new James Bond in the theater, I'm reminded by Mark to never say never.