Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Keep Your Chin UP.

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2019 was my most recent Ironman race.  Notice I didn't say "last". 👀.  Anyway, I was cleaning up some files on my computer and I came across this write-up I did after the race.  I don't know that I ever posted it anywhere so I thought I would incorporate it into a blog post.  I have also met a ton of new friends since then and I thought someone might get something out of this. I have often said that if you could write down all the thoughts that go through my head on race day it would be interesting.  This is close. Enjoy! 😊

Thank you ALL for the kind words and encouragement regarding my Ironman finish on Sunday.  I was not as prepared for this one as I would have liked due to some nagging injuries, weight and other things such as life in general.  But are we EVER really where we want to be? Perfectly prepared?  Yeah, maybe sometimes.  But I had a choice, I could sit on the sidelines and mope or I could jump in and do it and see what happens.  I have never been afraid to fail and I truly believe you have to be willing to fail if you want to do something great.  Rather than bow out, I chose to try to focus on the positive and I found many positives along the race course and beyond.  I knew I could swim ok…. And I was pretty sure I could get through the bike ride with a respectable time even though I was showing up with ONE 100 mile ride in my holster.  The running? Well, I knew it would be a grind, or a walk… it was both.  I realized out on the trail when I was walking that my chin was on my chest…I pulled it up…. It went back down.  Pulled it up again and said to myself that I have nothing to be ashamed of.  Hey, you’re out here walking… this is what it’s like.  I realized that THESE are the tough people… the one’s out there doing what amounts to a death march.. and doing it late into the night.  I was walking and shuffling my second lap after managing a shuffle for the first 14 miles or so.  LOTS of those people were on their first loop!  How do you have anything but respect for these guys?  Amazing.  Chin went down again…. Pulled it up… looked straight ahead.  Walking… doing the math…. “ Good Lord, I’m gonna be out here forever”…How many miles is a kilometer..? OK… 9K = One 5k plus 4K… and a K is roughly .6… soooo…. how long IS this thing?  42K?… OK.. So… 21Kx2…divided by 4….  Just get me outta town , and then back… and then out … and back…And on and on….. Somebody tell my family I’m fine…I’m just gonna be awhile…Chin back down…. Back up again… Choked up… pissed off…I’m BETTER than THIS!!!  Then here comes a firefighter in full gear… walking…. Then a guy that had an 8 hour bike due to a mechanical…Saw Brian Brewer on the overpass… That guy is something.. he had friends on the bike and the run at the same time and found the ONE spot on the course that he could support both.  By my count he spent at LEAST 8 hours on that bridge.  I saw him a ways out… God, I can’t let BRIAN see me walking…. Shuffle shuffle shuffle…. Get under the bridge…(walk walk walk)…. Pop out from under bridge… shuffle shuffle shuffle “ Hey Brian”…. Could’t keep up the facade….had to walk… and he hollers at me “ Hey 207 in the HOUSE”…. Chin came up….Kept me moving.  And he was there both times I went by.  Thought about Sean Snow and how tough HE is…he kept moving in Ireland with hypothermia…I can do THIS,…Spent some time thinking about friends with challenges… whether it be cancer or some other illness that keeps them from competing… I bet they would LOVE to be out here… keep walking… faster if you can… shuffle… let’s try a shuffle again… shuffle….NOPE… walk walk walk… heel hurts… well, HOW BAD?  I mean.. CAN you RUN?  If so then RUN!…. But it hurts… It hurts so bad… What if I make it worse… how bad IS it?  Maybe it’s just the calf… ok, land flat footed, don’t flex… Damn… walk walk walk…. Where the hell is RICK?? I haven’t seen him all day!….Jesus, I know he was gonna go for it, I hope nothing happened….Chin on chest…. Pull it up Bob, Don’t want someone seeing you like that.  And on and on it went… like that… until I had about 4 to go… and I popped out of the trail onto the main road... I managed to shuffle the last three or so… and if you think you’re gonna WALK past the “shoulder to shoulder” crowd of people at the finish you’re crazy… I managed to ignore the pain, choosing to hear the cheers, see my family and friends, and get across that damn line.  Made it….   

You know, it’s awfully easy to say “respect the game”, “don’t quit”….”Never give up”….but when you actually have to DO IT it is a real moment of truth.  You find out a little bit more about yourself in those moments, that’s for sure.  Anyway, that’s kinda’ how it went on Sunday so I thought I would share.  Those of you that know me well know that it is not so much about the RACE for me as it is all the stuff in between… the stories, the challenges, the training rides/runs….the memories with friends and family that no one can ever take away. I don’t know how long I will do this crazy sport but when someone tells you that you “ inspire” them, well that’s pretty special.  Thanks again for all the messages, notes, comments and kind words.  I’m a lucky guy!

Chin UP guys. 😉


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