I was reading a book of accounts of Ironman Finishers and DNF'ers (Did Not Finishers) when I was struck by a comment of one of the authors. She said that we were privileged to be able to enjoy the level of fitness that training for an Ironman gives you. I had never thought of it like that; I had previously thought that my fitness was my right and what I got in return for the price I paid in training. I don't have to go so far as to compare myself to people with physical discapacities. Firstly, the "price" is not something only I am paying for, it is something that my family is also paying for. But not only that, the fact is that I have the room for maneouvre to be able to dedicate lot's of time (and money) to something which is for a purely selfish benefit - there are many people who are already under too much stress just to be able to make ends meet, to think of doing something like this on top of it all. Of course, there are some side benefits - I'm sure I am better able to handle stress at work, better at managing my time and generally more alert as a result of the training I am doing - but, let's not kid ourselves, I would have those benefits with a third of the training volume I am currently doing.
No, reading that comment has really made me think. I am very fortunate to be able to do this "experiment" of seeing what happens to my body if I subject it to all this training. Every week it seems like a new vein has popped up - even my weedy arms are starting to look a little bit more muscley - and, most importantly, it is a great feeling to be able to run fast and long almost effortlessly. Its a shame, of course, that as soon as I drop down to a reasonable amount of training, the veins will go back into hiding below a layer of subcutaneous fat, the muscles on my arms will drip off like melting wax and the long runs will go back to huffing and puffing. Although I am going to do everything in my power to not do another Ironman (for the time being), I would like to keep things ticking over so that when the kids are off to university I can take it up again, this time as a 50-something age grouper (with the best tri bike that money can buy in 2022!).