The real reasons people do IRONMAN

I know a lot about Ironman. After all, I've watched more of them than most people have done. So I have to kind of sit back and smile when I hear some of the answers to the age-old question, "Why do they do it?" They want to see what they're really made of. They want to find out if they have the right stuff. They want to push themselves to their limits. They want to break out of the ordinariness of everyday life and do something truly extraordinary. Yadda yadda yadda.

Please. It's all I can do to keep a straight face in the presence of so much psycho-falafel.

Well, I know why they do it. And it might surprise you to know that there is more than one reason. As a matter of fact, there are exactly five, and everybody who does Ironman does it for one — or, in extreme cases, maybe two — of these reason.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1) They're completely nuts. This is by far the largest category, and is so self-evidently obvious it begs the question of why any explanation is required. But here it is anyway.

What defines lunacy? The repetitive acting out of behaviors that have no rational basis and which are at the extreme ends of statistical normality. Let's take that last bit first.

There are 6.5 billion people on earth. About 30,000 of them do Ironman. That's less than one out of every two million people. By way of comparison, there are two thousand times more people who think they're Napoleon, and five thousand times as many who converse with cheese.

As for repetitive and irrational behaviors, well, let's see: They sit on a bike and pedal, pedal, pedal (yawn) for 112 miles for the sole purpose of arriving exactly where they started. And even this aberration wouldn't seem so dire were it confined to a single episode, say, every year or so, but these people actually train for this task.

'Nuff said.

2) They love the smell of neoprene in the morning.  It smells likes…victory!

3) They're from outer space. Remember the mathematician who proved that bumble bees couldn't fly? He was right; they can't. Why they apparently do is still a mystery but people are working on it and hope to have the answer soon.

Turns out that human beings can't do Ironman, either. Nobody can swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 and run 26.2. Can't be done. I know it can't, because I've tried. Gravity isn't just a good idea, it's the law, and the gravity here on earth makes Ironman a physical impossibility for humans.

But wait: What if Ironmen aren't human?

Okay, I know what you're thinking: There's still the matter of gravity, human or not.

Well, hold your horses, bub, and think about this: Gravity on the moon is about one-sixth what it is on Earth, because the Earth is six times bigger. So if you go to the moon, you effectively weigh one-sixth what you do here on Earth. Remember those pictures of astronauts jumping forty feet and hitting golf balls half a mile and lifting equipment weighing 600 pounds? It's because their muscles got built up in Earth's more powerful gravity so when they got to the moon they all suddenly became Schwarzeneggers on steroids. (Which is of course redundant, but you get the point.)

So what would happen if aliens from a bigger planet came down to Earth? Well, they'd be able to do incredible things they couldn't do back at home. Like Ironman.

Therefore (and this is so simple), we now have proof positive that the UFO wackos were right: There are aliens walking among us. Well, not so much walking as swimming, biking and running.

What's more, we know how many: about 30,000.

You know, it really bothers me that these things actually need explaining.

4) They have way too much leisure time. This is the true curse of the middle class. An excess of leisure time makes people do really odd things, like collect bottle caps, look for work, join Britney Spears fan clubs and enter Ironman races.

5) So they can eat more. This is a dark secret of endurance sports. Turns out that many thousands of triathletes are actually using the sport to neutralize the effects of compulsive eating. I myself am afflicted with this disorder, and choose to stare it right in the face by getting fat. Others, not as strong-willed as I, elect to work themselves half to death in order to burn off excess calories. The net results is that I am blessed with more leisure time than they, and can therefore devote my attention to collecting bottle caps and stalking Britney Spears.