People tend to see my quest to become an Ironman as falling somewhere between madness and masochism. For example, I get asked things like "Wouldn't it be more fun if you did the Ironman wearing a crown of thorns and a cross on your back?" Given my track record over the last couple of years of injuries and pure bloodyminded grit, it's not altogether surprising that people have that impression. And I can't help thinking that saying "That's all behind me now" will only make me sound even more like a masochistic madman in denial. But that's all behind me now.
It's not about suffering, showing how much you can suffer or even overcoming suffering.
What it is about for me probably sounds childishly naïve (read "cheesey"):
The further that I am able to run, bike or swim comfortably, the wider my world feels to me.
The easiest way to understand this is to think of the opposite extreme. Imagine (or, in my case, remember) being limited to walking on crutches and how your world suddenly shrinks. It becomes an effort just thinking about walking 10 meters. Well, I feel exactly the opposite. Even if I have no intention of "doing a Forest Gump" and running out of my meeting to the hills I can see in the distance, just knowing that I could do it effortlessly makes me feel I have so much space, in every sense of the word. I've noticed that I have even started to feel that the forests that I run and cycle through on my way to work "belong" to me and so, by now, I must be one of the most wealthy land owners in Madrid.
I warned you that it was naïve but there is a good reason for that. Running is something we have done since we were children in the time line of evolution; it is only natural that the pleasure should be childlike.