We dragged ourselves out of the water and lay on our backs in the sun. Donnie and I had just swum across the lake and back.
Never swim without a buddy.
My shoulders were burning and my lungs had been turned inside out. I was ready to heave and I felt great.
Donnie flopped over onto his stomach on the warm, rough boards of the pier.
"I wanna go sub ten hours next summer. Can you help me, Clyde?"
I raised my head with my hands, feeling my abs about to cramp, opened one eye, keeping the other closed against the bright sun and said:
"I don't know so much about going sub-10 from personal experience, oh, the information is out there. You can find it easily - training schedules, periodization, nutrition.. but I know this:
you gotta love it.
You have to love it so much it lives in your gut, you gotta want it, want it so bad that it gnaws at you, that the goal becomes a need, a need that you would give anything for. You have to be willing to go out in appalling weather, to bike for four hours before dawn, to run on blistered feet with an aching back and pain in your lungs, to forego the beer with your non-tri friends because you have to be in bed by 8pm.
Going sub-10 is beyond most mortals. It means being willing to sacrifice pride, to mess yourself in front of God and everybody, to sweat and bleed and puke if necessary to get to that line before it hits 6 digits, 10:00:00. It means putting it all out there, everything you've got, being honest, being human - with all the weaknesses and frailties. You gotta want to wallow in the mud and the blood and the tears, to take your body where your will wants it to go.
If you want it that much, maybe you can go sub-10.
Then you can tell the rest of us how you did it."
Then I lay back down on the pier and thought about the race next month.
We hadn't done this year's sufferfest yet, and Donnie was already thinking about next year!
Ah, the ambitions of youth.