Why or Would You Tattoo?


M-Dot Tattoo integrated into tribal band

Being sick yesterday caused a lot of TV watching.  By the way there is nothing good on TV during the day.  I flipped on Real Housewives of New York to see if I could recognize areas of New York and before I knew it all I was watching was 6 (I believe it was hard to keep count) yelling and crying and being what seemed to be leading a life that I would think was not a happy one.

Fortunately for me because the TV was set to that channel I stumbled upon NY Ink.  This is a show about a tattoo shop in New York City that is owned by a guy (Ami) who used to own a shop in Miami and at the time has a show called Miami Ink (makes sense doesn’t it?)  As I’m watching the show there are people coming in for tattoos for different reasons.  One gentleman got a tattoo to commemorate his brother who died falling off the edge of a mountain in India.  A teacher got a tattoo of some graffiti that her late husband had done.  Another woman got 69 butterfly tattoos on her back to recognize that her father had passed when he was 69 and she had seen butterflies the day he passed.

These were all touching stories and got me thinking about why I want to get another tattoo.  I say another because I have two.  One on my right shoulder-blade that says Love, Life, Family, Happiness in Chinese characters.  The other I have is on my left calf and is a turtle with a star as half the shell and the numbers 26.2 and 70.3 in two of the fins.  After Ironman Texas I plan on filling in the other half of the shell with the numbers 140.6 and then after Ironman Arizona filling that in with the colors of red and yellow, which are the colors of the State Flag Of Arizona.

I do want another tattoo, and as a matter of fact I want to have a calf sleeve when all is said and done.  The thing about it is you can’t rush these things.  I believe that the tattoo has to mean something to you and not just the fad of the day.  We all saw the tribal tattoo arm bands that hit the scene and it makes me wonder if people got them because it was the cool thing to do or if it meant something to them.  How about the infamous M-Dot tattoo?  Are those that get the M-Dot tattoo doing it because it is the ‘thing’ to do after an Ironman or is it a reminder of the struggles and glory of the journey and finish line?

I do know that the bottom of the calf sleeve will be a band that says LIVE WITHOUT FEAR.  How that gets written has yet to hit me but I believe in the words.  It says to me that life is too short to not live everyday like its your last.  Take that chance and see what happens.  Do that one thing that scares you like bungee jumping or jumping out of an airplane.  It might be scary at first but it will certainly give you another perspective on life.

Do You Have Tattoos?  Why Did You Get It?

Would You Get A Tattoo?  It Not, Why?


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  1. Jen says:

    I have a small blue star on my ankle that I got with two friends a few years ago (we each got a star) and I love that little tattoo.

    I really would like to get a 26.2 type tattoo to commemorate my next marathon but I’m having a hard time deciding what it would be and where to place it.

    Besides it being a fun thing to do, I do want that reminder of how far I’ve come and the ability to achieve dreams thru hard work, believing in yourself and pushing yourself above and beyond.
    Jen recently posted..Lose weight and keep it off: Ten ways to weigh less in the New YearMy Profile

  2. As of now I have none, BUT if I ever did a full IM I think I would get a small one because geez to finish that distance, well it deserves it! :)
    Mamarunsbarefoot recently posted..What’s Your Story?My Profile

  3. Michel says:

    I have the glorious “tramp stamp” that is over 10 years old now so it wasn’t called that when I got it. I have a tribal piece that is half removed on my right shoulder. It’s faded enough that I can cover it up and will hopefully this year. I do want one on my left foot after I finish another marathon (when?)
    I do have a friend with the IM logo on her shoulder blade. After having 2 kids, dealing with running injuries tattoo pain is nothing. lol
    Michel recently posted..The year in review and the December PromiseMy Profile

  4. Molly says:

    I have a Celtic cross on my left ankle. I wanted one for years, and after my son was born, I almost added his name to my shoulder. I waited until after my marathon, because that was something I never thought I would do, but did. So I figured, why NOT get the tat? I want a second on my right wrist, with the names of my kids and husband. Then I’ll feel balanced tattoo wise :)
    Molly recently posted..Auld Lang SyneMy Profile

  5. Bob says:

    Probably not the right place to post this, but I always wondered how do you know the Chinese letters say what they are supposed to say?
    I have a vision of a young lady getting a tatoo in a very visible place thinking it says ” Love and Harmony” when it actually says ” I’m great in bed” and then wondering why all the guys at the Chinese laundry hit on her when she brings in her dry cleaning…
    That’s at about it for 2011….
    Bob recently posted..Measuring up the competitionMy Profile

  6. Christina says:

    My husband often jokes when he sees me watching shows like Miami Ink (haven’t really watched NY yet) that one day I’ll just show up at home with one. But I never have. He has said he isn’t too keen on the idea so I may never do it. I’ve thought about getting a small one before. I am a believer that they should be something I can cover up in appropriate business attire so it would never be terribly conspicuous. Have to admit that an iron distance race might be a tipping point though as a way to commemorate the accomplishment that I could then brag about in the nursing home when someone asks me what that blob on my hip is. LOL Maybe a shamrock with swim, bike, run on the leaves…hmmm…
    Christina recently posted..Kicking My ButtMy Profile

  7. Jeff Irvin says:

    My wife has three tats – 2 off them are marathon inspired the 3rd was 18yr old rebellion inspired (-:

    I have none. Probably never will, just doesn’t appeal to me.

    After IMTX a bunch of buddies got the M-Dot on the calf. I enjoy making fun of them because that is what guys do but in all honestly if it makes them happy then have at it!

    It is fun when they show the tats and people ask to see mine and my standard reply is: “There are two types of Ironman Triathletes, those with M-Dot Tattoos and those that do not need one.” …… always gets and “FU” eye roll from my buddies!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Thoughts on Advanced Marathoning …My Profile

  8. Many years ago I was stuck in Hamburg Germany for a week because my band had to cancel a week’s worth of dates in the UK because our work permits good screwed up. Bored out of my mind I got 2 of the dumbest tattoos known to man.

    I keep saying that I will get them covered up with half a sleeve. I want it to be endurance sport related but I’m not sure how to approach it. Suggestions welcome. A picture of the current state of my arm for visual reference upon request.
    Patrick Mahoney recently posted..2011 In ReviewMy Profile

  9. Kovas says:

    My first tattoo was purely to be cool by being uncool, as they were considered declasse amongst my crowd. I’m a contrarian. :)

    Second tattoo I got in Seattle after seeing an art show, complimenting the artist and mentioning thayt his work would make great tattoos. Turns out he was a tattoo artist.

    I would love to do a wrist to elbow sleeve, but my wife is balking. Still to be decided…

    Have a great New Year!
    Kovas recently posted..A Toast To Champagne (Infographic)My Profile

  10. kathy says:

    I cannot for the life of me imagine the allure of a tattoo. I suppose (the “you kids” is implied, right?) you’re creating a culture of kids with tats so it is a societal expectation? I dunno. I just can’t imagine the why.

    • CTER says:

      Same question could be applied to smoking and even rock n’ roll and the allure couldn’t it?

      I think it is the current way to express one’s self no different than other forms of art.

      I see tattoos and wonder the significance of them. What happened in that person’s life to lead them to the tattoo.

  11. Chuck says:

    Mine is on my side and says INRI… means more than anything to me
    Chuck recently posted..LeapMy Profile

  12. lindsay says:

    i don’t think i’d ever get a tattoo. mostly because i doubt i’d still like it in 10 years or something. who knows, maybe 2 years. i had drawn one 3-4 years ago that i thought i loved / would love for ever but now i’m glad i didn’t get it.
    lindsay recently posted..blog superlatives 2011My Profile

  13. Lisa says:

    No tattoos for me or my husband.

    I have nothing against tattoos, I just don’t want one.
    My husband watches the Ink shows because he enjoys the creativity – so he says and so I’ll leave it at that.

    I certainly see a few tattoos and think wow or even sleeves and am amazed.
    I’ve run 50 mile races and I don’t think it’s badass enough for a tattoo, but then again I have yet to bummer sticker my car with any of my race distances. But again, I have nothing against anyone doing it, it’s just not for me.

    • CTER says:

      I can respect that point of view. It’s similar to me being a vegetarian. I have nothing against meat it’s just not for me.

      Lisa – thank you for visiting and commenting. I hope you’ll come back and join the conversation again.

  14. Matthew Beal says:

    I don’t have any tattoos, but would get one if I did Ironman. That would be the only thing I would want on my body for the rest of my life.
    Matthew Beal recently posted..2011 Team Beal Year in ReviewMy Profile

  15. katie says:

    I have one tattoo and it means so much to me. It took me over 3 years after deciding that I wanted it to actually do it!
    katie recently posted..a year in racesMy Profile

  16. marlene says:

    I have 4 tattoos… a couple are meaningful and a couple aren’t.

    I have already been thinking that I’d consider getting another after completing an Ironman – something simple but meaningful. I kind fo like the tradition M-Dot tattoos that I have seen on calves, but is that too predictable?
    marlene recently posted..The Year I Let My Secret OutMy Profile

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