October 4, 2015

Triathlon

I’m not sure what was the specific trigger for me. It could have that my first triathlon nearly killed me being overweight and unprepared combined with my natural competitiveness. It could be my long-time admiration for those few that bore the title of Ironman, or it could have been this deep search for the endorphin-induced zen-like feeling on a long bike ride. It could be my desire to overcome my struggle with running or becoming a well rounded athlete. Whatever it was, I fell in love with it…I fell in love with the triathlon.

Of all the candidates that the sport would put a grasp on, I might have been an unlikely one. I certainly do not think I had the body for it with my weak knees, my bum ankle, poor shoulders and injured back. I most definitely didn’t have the time for it with 3 children, a wonderful wife and a demanding job requiring significant travel. Finally, I certainly didn’t have the background having never run more than 6 miles which was back during basic training nor taken any coaching in either of the 3 sports required to succeed. But all those things would be excuses.

There have been many before me that have competed despite countless excuses. But they didn’t focus on what they couldn’t do, instead, they set their mind to it and did whatever it took to not only get to the starting line but to finish proudly, often despite repeated failures. As you study the sport, one would be hard-pressed not to find inspiration at every corner, finding the stories of those who said “I Can” and lifted their spirits and ours.

Yet despite all the external inspiration one may find, only your personal commitment will push you through the training and lead you to the finish line. John Collins, founder of the Ironman said speaking of the race that it “has always been about finishing what you started. About being able to do what you’ve set out to do. Maybe not as fast as the person in front of you, but certainly faster than the person who never started”. Few words have sounded truer to me or resonated as much, but more importantly, it is that which drives me. It is the idea to complete something you’ve set out to do despite excuses or reasons and teaching my children the importance of setting goals and achieving them.

Fortuna Fortes, or “Fortune favors the brave” has resonated with me over the years in that only those who dare are rewarded. I’ve dared a lot in my life and it’s paid off more often than not. Daring to complete an Ironman was bold yet the challenge in seeking to reach the goal in my lifetime had to be one balanced with my other passions including my family, business and technology. These passions along with my chosen sport had to coexist together despite the certainty of numerous conflicts.

At some point in this quest, I reached my first Ironman but yet the thirst for more continued. It wasn’t a thirst for longer events or to prove that I could go longer, faster than others. Rather, it was the realization that balance is fleeting and only achieved temporarily. Life events always throw us off and require us to adapt. While passions are what make life worth living, balancing those passions is the journey to discovering ourselves.