Where’s the love with the M-dot 70.3 tattoo

Posted: June 19, 2012 in MDot, Syracuse Ironman 70.3, tattoo, Triathlons, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

While nursing a sore calf, and in wind down mode of race week, I get to think about other things that interest me other than training. Obviously from the title, this would be about tattoos. More specifically: triathlon or ironman themed tattoos. After completing Ironaman Syracuse (it is the goal), I may commemorate it with one. Been thinking about it. All said and done it’s just a race, although a great one in my opinion. For me, it signifies a large body of work, commitment, a return to the sport, and on my home stomping grounds. The significance is an emotional one.

Generally speaking there seems to be two camps. Those that either have tattoos or admire them, and those that really dislike or look down at them. Very polarizing subject, not a lot of neutral or middle ground from what I see.

I most certainly fall into the first camp. I have a love of many forms of art, including skin art. In my younger days I sidelined as a freelance photographer. Although I liked tattoos, I waited until after I turned 50 to get my first one. That one is dedicated to my wife and our marriage. I got that on our 10 year wedding anniversary. We recently celebrated 15 years since we first met. Being the best 15 years of my time on the planet, I am very happy with what some would think is a risky subject to get inked.

By most standards I am heavily inked. I have an entire back piece dedicated to family and my grandchildren. Both upper arms, left rib cage, and a triathlon kokopelli 70.3 ankle band. I posted those pics in an earlier blog. The 70.3 piece commemorates having done the Firmman 70.3 in 1994. The kokopellis signify growth and joy. I certainly have gotten that from being a triathlete. Each of the tattoos I have were thought out over a significant period of time, and not spur of the moment or impulse decisions. No regretful choices made in a drunken stupor.

While researching ideas for artwork to possibly commemorate the milestone event, I came across quite a few discussions about triathlon tattoos and a derivative topic of M-Dot tattoos. There are very stark and divided opinions even among fellow triathletes. I find it a little odd, as the genre of triathlons has it ‘s roots from the big island, a cutting edge, techie sort of way of thinking. From the big island there is a long and rich history of Polynesian art & culture. Like the general public. Many hate them or like them. I do understand that. It is a personal choice and form of expression. There are some that cling to the old stereotypes. I do laugh at that, as when dressed in business casual attire you would not know I was inked. My decision to maintain that is based on being pragmatic. As an engineer, I work in a very conservative environment. Being that my skin art is very personal, I am ok with that. There are religious objections, most are related to interpretations of Leviticus 19:28. Scholarly insights focus more on the practice during that period of markings that worship the dead, and false gods.Very strong opinions on both sides of that.

Given my perspective, my discussion here is on the divide of the commemoration of a big “bucket list” item, whether it be a full or half ironman. On the side topic, there are very strong opinions that one should not get an M-Dot tattoo unless you have gone the 140.6 distance. Even if there is a 70.3 or some other way that distinguishes it as being 70.3. In my book, 4 to 8 hours of finishing something like an half ironman is not something to turn your nose up on. Have we gotten to the point that completing a 70.3 event is much the same as doing a 1 mile or 5K fun run? I think not. An observation of these forum discussions reveals in many cases that full ironman athletes exhibit a snobbery among some of them. This would be aside from whether or not they are cool with tattoos in general.

As much as I happen to like the skin art, I would separate the distinction between full and half distances. Not to diminish 70.3, but to somehow make the full ironman art work to be a more significant piece to represent the epic quality of it. Should I ever step up to a 140.6, that would be my perspective. As to go with the WTC M-Dot logo? Personal choice, as I think it is beyond just a corporate logo. It is so recognizable and synonymous with Kona, and the ironman triathlon race itself. Ironman Syracuse is a M-Dot branded event. Not sure if I would incorporate it or not.

Like I mentioned before, not everyone likes tattoos or wishes to commemorate in that way. I get that. Some folks are very private, others like myself want to have others enjoy it as we do, and are very social about it.

Last parting thought: Should you choose to commemorate your big day with a tattoo, go big, and get a great artist.

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