A week ago I had the pleasure of cheering on teammates, training partners, friends, people I coach and family at Ironman Canada in Whistler BC. If you haven’t heard already, let me tell you about the conditions. They were ridiculous. Despite unusually hot weather for this side of the universe, race day served up frigid temperatures, and wet WET riding. While prancing around like a drowned cheerleader, I learned some things.
- Starting – There are as many reasons to start as there are people on the start line. Proving yourself right, proving someone else wrong, to qualify, to get the girl, to wonder “if”. They’re all good reasons. What's yours?
- Finishing - Every time you finish an ironman is awesome. I saw people have the best race of their lives and worst. When they finished, they were all happy. Eventually their shoes will dry and the gels stains will come out of their kits, but being an ironman is forever.
- Being moved – If you ever want insight into what it’s like to complete something you never thought possible, watch an ironman finish line long enough to see a fully grown man, fighting back tears of relief, amazement and who knows what else as he sprints towards the finish line. It changes you.
- Qualifying - Qualifying for the Kona, the first time or the 10th is amazing. …Aloha, now hand over your credit card. The price is worth it.
- Getting wet - training for the conditions is important. All my Vancouver buddies had no idea that biking in the cold and wet of the wet coast all year was going to pay off so much!
- Dressing for success – I’ve never seen so many plastic bags work as jackets and wool socks work as arm warmers. Good job to everyone who macgyvered their ironman wardrobe.
- Putting differences aside - Politics can wriggle it’s ugly self into anything, but when I watched people cross the finish line after 8 hours and after 16, I realized it didn’t matter who’s not on who’s team.
- Watching – while my preference is always to race over watching, now and then, stepping back to see how much goes into putting on an ironman and spending time on the sidelines with the friends and family that make it possible is kind of great.
So much love to everyone who made this event possible and to all the athletes that left it all out there. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Towel off.