Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hello, My Name is Fish and I'm an Addict

Jeff the interventionist on "Intervention" is found of saying that every addict needs to hit a bottom before they change. I may have hit my bottom on the Utah Half last week. You see, I theorize that participating in long distance events is an addiction. By long distance, I mean anything that takes more than five hours to do. My first long distance experiences came in 2006. My brother had talked me into doing the Honu Half Ironman in Hawai'i, even though my triathlon experience to that point included the American Fork Splash 'n Dash and the Turkey Tri. Those were both reverse order pool triathlons. To get warmed up for Hawai'i, we did the California 70.3 Oceanside race. And that was really my first hit. The novelty of the experience was invigorating, from the training, getting set-up through race day, and taking the line. It was all part of the rush that topped out with crossing the line. Running down the finishing chute was one of the most exhilirating things I've ever done. As I crossed the line, I was nearly overcome with emotion - pride that I'd done pushed through the pain and self-doubt and disbelief and relief that it was finally over. It was awesome. Ever since that, every long race I've done I've been chasing that high. And like with a drug addict, each long distance adventure seems to render a little less of a high at a higher cost. At every occasion, the question of what the hell I was thinking became a question I asked myself searchingly as I pushed through the pain rather than an ice-breaker comment made to fellow participants. Each time, the doubt and self-loathing increased. Yet each time, just like an a drug-addict, I found myself plotting my next score. At the Utah Half, there wasn't much of a rush in signing up. Even less in prepping. Doubt and self-loathing combined with heat exhaustion and dehydration led me to utter those words, "Never again Swanney. I'm off the skag." And I meant it. It sure felt like the bottom. Only time will tell if I'm on the road to recovery or whether that the Utah Half was just a bad trip.


Mr. Flynn said...

See ya in Oceanside next year, Junkie.

Thankfully, while I did feel pretty emotional after the Vikingman I don't have that exact bug. No desire to do too many long triathlons. I still have too much fear of open water to man up more than once per year.

No, I just want to do stupid stuff like Leadville or the Creampuff. I lose a little weight and I seem to think I am invincible or something.

It really is funny that you are addicted to this stuff. It could be worse.

Sabrosa Cycles said...

"nearly overcome with emotion"
Both leadville adventures for me have been just that. For absolutely no reason at all, at random places along the course, I found myself choking back tears. Figure that out. I think that it is the body's way of saying - "okay, you've had enough. Stop it already." I am glad to hear that I am not the only sissy.

Fish said...

That first year of RAWROD I definitely had one of those. I had finally gotten back on my bike toward the top of Schafer's and I was struggling just to turn the pedals but I was determined not to quit. In this suffering, "The Distance" by Cake came on my iPod. Tears ran down my face as I pushed on with renewed energy. Nope, you're not the only Sissy. Anyway, only someone who's been to those depths of suffering could call you one and those who've been there wouldn't.