This is a question that will undoubtedly come up sometime during everyone's ironman race and I remember Paula Newby-Fraser telling us at the IMFL Training Camp that we had better be able to answer it. There is no right or wrong. All that matters is that you have an answer.
Well, I certainly can't say that an ironman something that I've been working towards for a long time. With less than a year of training and only two tris completed to date, I know I haven't paid my dues to the sport. OTOH, it's not like I just got off a couch one day and decided I'd like to do an ironman. Training 15-25 hours a week for physically and mentally grueling endurance events is nothing new to me. I'd seen IMFL 2004 and 2005 in person and knew pretty much what to expect.
The truth of the matter is I chose to do an ironman because I know I LOVE doing activities at an (easy) aerobic pace for very long periods of time. Though I had no significant swimming experience since I was a small child, deep down, I WANTED something to motivate me to become a strong swimmer, not necessarily fast but able to go long. I WANTED to go on long bike rides with my husband who loves cycling and had done centuries. I WANTED to keep running marathons and also do more triathlons. To me, training for an ironman seemed logical.
So being that IMFL 2006 is a few days before my 45th birthday, I've made it my 45th birthday present to myself. It's a chance to celebrate my health and be thankful for all the things I can do. It's NOT a test of my limits but rather a test to see how far I've come. Whatever the race day brings, I will do my best. I have never felt completely ready for any karate test I've taken because each one could vary so much from a previous test. So it is with ironman.