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.