At some point in life, you reach a crossroads. While channel surfing on a lazy Saturday afternoon in the fall, you stumble across NBC's airing of the Ironman World Championships. The two-hour, pre-packaged event is perfect made-for-TV drama, delivered from the lava fields in Hawaii straight to your living room. Then, conscious of it or not, you make a decision.
You either watch triathletes suffer for upwards of 17 hours -- voluntarily, mind you -- pushing their bodies to their absolute limits (and sometimes beyond), and quickly decide that it is not the sport for you, concluding some people are just crazy.
Or, you realize that you are, in fact, an insane person, someone who not only wonders what their physical limits are, but actually sets out to find them. You decide you want to try to push yourself through the single most grueling and challenging activity imaginable, both mentally and physically -- you decide you want to race an Ironman.
Mike Polsky is part of this latter group.
Polsky, a Brooklyn native, is set to compete in Saturday's inaugural Ironman U.S. Championship. It marks the first time a race of the 140.6-mile Ironman distance will take place in an area as metropolitan as New York City. The course will take competitors on a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River, a 112-mile bike ride along the hills of the Palisades Parkway and then finally, a 26.2-mile run, ending in Riverside Park.
The race itself takes only one day, but the dedication and sacrifice just to toe the starting line takes months, sometimes even years. In this video, SB Nation follows Polsky as he trains for what will be his first Ironman, and gets a glimpse of the persistence required to train for a race of this magnitude. And the motivation needed to go from an everyman, to an Ironman.