It is kind of funny when you tell someone you are training for an Ironman. Now I realize that deciding to do an Ironman is completely insane and that yes I am crazy but it is funny to see people's reactions. They go through 3 stages-
Stage One: AWE- "Wow! That's amazing, they say. You must really be in great shape." "You must be training like crazy!" Most of them have no idea how far it is but they just know it is a lot and that they would never even attempt to do it and so they are in AWE...
AWE is a very short stage that quickly flows into Stage 2...
Stage two: DISBELIEF- "Wait, How far is it? Do you really do it all in just one day? That is so far!" Then they usually try to figure out the distance like they'll say, "That is like swimming, biking and running to San Diego from here!" Or they try to picture how long a 2.4 mile swim is, "So that is like you swimming from here to the grocery store. Wait how many laps is that in a pool?" When they are telling me how far it is, it is like they want to make sure I know what I got myself in to incase I didn't realize how far it is. "That is a long way to drive you know."
After a few minutes, this DISBELIEF transforms into the final stage, JUSTIFICATION:
Stage Three: JUSTIFICATION- "I guess it can be done", they realize. And after a bit of thought they continue... The bike is probably the easiest. I suppose the run wouldn't be so bad if you go slowly. But the swim. The swim would definitely be the hardest. This response depends on their background which they may also tell me about- "I was a swimmer in highschool so I think I could do the swim." I tend to just stand there quietly at this point. Not saying anything and letting the people wallow in their thoughts of how tough a 2.4 mile swim would be.
Then they'll usually say- "Well good luck with your marathon!"
I think the average person thinks a marathon is crazy and so anything beyond that they can't really comprehend so they automatically call everything a marathon. So many times I get cards that say, "Good luck with your Marathon!" I guess they are somewhat right, I mean if I don't finish the marathon part I won't be an Ironman and probably the marathon is where I need the most "luck." So, I just nod and say Thank you!
I read a great book right after I signed up for my Ironman last year that had people's Ironman stories. If you are looking for some inspiration this book is full of regular people who decide to do an Ironman. Check it out-