I'll give mine up right here: Kona. Hawaii. Ironman World Championships. 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, then a marathon to finish things up. (It's this Saturday. I won't be there.)
When I was growing up, I used to watch the Hawaii Ironman on ABC's Wide World of Sports on a rabbit-eared black and white television. At the time, the athletes just seemed insane to me. I remember watching a 23-year-old Julie Moss, about to win the race, collapse just feet from the finish line. Who pushes their body that hard? My athletic resume, at that point, consisted of a random dodgeball game in gym and left field in softball, and just watching her collapse, then get up again, then collapse again almost made me want to collapse.
I couldn't take my eyes off the screen--and this little bit of intrigue about the human body, and what it's capable of doing, crept into my still-forming brain. It remains there, and these days, when I can get past the grocery list, the e-mail inbox, the bill paying, it makes appearances, like a ray of sunshine poking through a cloud cover.
To me, an Ironman still feels ridiculously ambitious, but not totally impossible. Twenty years of being an endurance athlete has taught me that if I train smart and give myself enough time to get my body strong and stay injury-free (read: I start training now for a race in 2012), I could see an IM finish line. But in true Dimity fashion, I'd go to finish, not to read what number is on the clock when I do.
(And although I said I'll never run another road marathon, I won't eat those words entirely. I've heard that the running portion of Ironman is actually easier than an a straight-up marathon: you've already gone so far, another five or six hours of walking/running really doesn't feel that bad. I'm not sure if I really believe that, but I'll believe it for now.)
Kona is my dream race because it's the pinnacle of the sport, but I know I'll never race there. In order to pilot your wheels on the famed Queen K Highway, you either have to qualify by being a top age-grouper or enter a lottery, and given my luck lately, I think Ben would write me an apology note in cursive before I'd get in there. So if I entered Kona, that means I'd have to a) race really fast (not gonna happen) and b) do *two* Ironmans (definitely not gonna happen). One complete, kinda crazy test of my endurance will be plenty, and you'll be sure to hear about it when I sign on the dotted line. (I'm thinking 2012, but I've got a little time to mull it over and, um, get stronger.)
What's your dream race? It could be a dream that you can make come true--oh, that's sounding vaguely Disney-esque, no?--or one that truly just lives in your head for inspiration, like the Everest Marathon. (Which, btw, sounds like hell to me. Talk about dehydration-induced headaches.) Let us know and one random commenter will win a very sweet Ironman-flavored outfit from K-Swiss.
The shoes are the Blade-Light Run, neutral racing shoes that which weigh in at a waifish 9.3 ounces. (Julie Dibens, a pro British triathlete who has a shot at winning in Kona will be sporting an even svelter variation of them on Saturday. I love her blog since she gets flat "tyres" and calls a good race a "cracker.") Pairing with the blade runners is a awfully cute, but very functional running skirt and wicking, high-peformance raglan tee, both branded with the infamous MDot that signifies you go the distance. I doubt Julie will change into a skirt in transition two to finish in Kona, but we figured her skin-tight race suit probably wouldn't be your outfit of choice when you hit the neighborhood streets at 5:30 a.m.
So where do you run in your dreams? Any race, any distance, any reason.