The first time finish line

This picture was snapped about 60 seconds after I crossed the line at Ironman Lake Placid - my first ironman. Maybe just a little bit excited?

I’m addicted to the first time.

You know: The first marathon. The first triathlon. The first 50k. The first ironman. And, this weekend, my first 50-miler: The Vermont 50.

Crossing the finish line of any race is exhilarating. The feeling of accomplishment, of achieving a goal that you’ve set and steadfastly worked toward. Only you made it happen for yourself. Of course, finishing feels wonderful no matter how many times you’ve done that race before.

But, hold up a minute. When you cross the finish line of your first attempt at a new event, the feeling is absolutely and overwhelmingly intoxicating. You can feel your epidermis, your hair, your fingernails.ย  You can feel your heart beating in your ear lobes. You are in sync with the collective rhythm and buzz of the other human bodies. You are connected to thousands of years of animal endurance.

The first time finish line is one of life’s rare moments of perfection. Months of anticipation, training, anxiety, hope, passion, disappointment, and focused zeal erupt in the flash of the finish line as your foot steps across the pad. You look up at the clock, thank the creator for this fantastic gift that is life, pump your fists, do your dance, give your high fives. You have arrived, and everyone is cheering for you.

Yup, I’m hooked. I’m chasing that first time finish line high.

John running through the finish line at the Vermont 50 last year.

In the beginning, I blamed the addiction on John. He was the one who convinced me to try my first triathlon (granted, I started the madness by pushing him into our first marathon.) Up until that point, I focused solely on running, and thought the 26.2 mile adventure was the pinnacle. Well, turns out, it’s just a gateway to the next level.

With triathlon I had a new first time high, and a series of them at that: sprint, olympic, half ironman, full ironman.

During this time, we also developed a love of trail running. More first time hits: the trail marathon, the trail 50k, the loop endurance trail run. And, in just a few days: the Vermont 50, almost 9,000 feet or so of vertical gain across 50 miles of paved roads, dirt pathways, double trail, and single track. Mmm-mmm.

The tips of my toes are tingling just thinking about how it’s going to feel when I come sailing down Ascutney Mountain to cross that finish line.


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