The true motivation of an IRONMAN athlete
In my last column I wrote about why people do Ironman. That it was deadly accurate doesn't atone for the fact that I made it all up, so I decided that it might be a good idea to do a little actual research on the topic. Then I decided not to, because research is really annoying. I'm by nature a fiction writer, and I tend to write fiction even when I'm supposed to be writing non-fiction, and research just gets in the way because it means you have to get the facts right, and who needs that? But I'd already phoned the idea in to Kevin Mackinnon, and this turned out to be the one time per year when he gets carried away and thinks he's the editor of the New York Times and actually expects me to make good on something I've said, which is almost as annoying as doing research.
Stuck, I sent an e-mail to a triathlete, which is about as far as I care to take this "research" concept, and asked him to tell me why he does it. Here, in his own words, is what he said.
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It's so I can drink beer without getting fat and watch babes without anybody yelling at me.
A number of years ago, I was drinking a lot of beer and got fat. A friend of mine suggested that I could take off the weight by running. So I started running and you know what? It worked. I then discovered that if I ran fast enough and hard enough, I could knock back a few pints after the run as well as before and still not gain weight. I ended up running a lot, and even entered a few marathons.
I found out that women ran, too, which was pretty great, but the faster they ran, the skinnier they were, so the faster I ran, the skinnier the women I was running with, so I didn't pay much attention.
Before too long I started gaining weight again, but I was getting pretty bored with running so another friend told me about triathlon. When you get bored with running you can bike, and when you get bored with that you can swim. Even better, when you race there's this thing called "transition" in between them and you're allowed to lay aside your own stuff. I packed in a few pints and boy, was that great! Swim a bit, knock back a pint, bike a bit, knock back a few more, then run and spend the rest of the day and evening knocking back even more. And you don't get fat! How great is that?
But I haven't even gotten to the best part: Da babes! Ohmigod are they gorgeous!
I found myself trying to follow them in races, but they were just too fast. So I started training harder so I could keep up with them. The more I trained, the faster I could go. I got really good at it, too, and by the way, I could drink more beer without getting fat. Talk about your basic motivation. Pretty soon it got to the point where I could go fast enough to follow any babe I wanted. And you know what? The best looking ones go the fastest. So I trained even harder, until I got to the point that there wasn't a babe anywhere who could outrun me and I could drink as much beer as I could hold and never get fat.
And that's how I became Ironman champion of the world.