“I’d like to do that someday” is a phrase both my wife and I have heard many times when talking about our races with friends. But more often than not they don’t change from their current path, there’s no inspiration to change. That was my situation a few years back. My wife was getting into triathlons and I would go watch and think “I could do that” or “maybe I need to run more” but I never did…I continued to sit on the couch with a beer in one hand and a video game controller in the other. I would occasionally go on a bike ride with her, which I always enjoyed, but never made it a priority. Plus the more she trained the faster she got and the harder it was to keep up…just another excuse in my arsenal to sleep in. I had no motivation, no inspiration.
“That was my inspiration. That was when I wanted to find out if I was capable…”
During Danielle’s first Ironman preparation it became very clear that most of her time was going to be spent eating, sleeping, working and training with not much free time. So I started riding bikes with her as a way to spend some time together. I must admit this was tough at first and there were definitely times when I didn’t want to go. At this point I wasn’t inspired yet, it was just a way to see her and the workout couldn’t hurt either. It wasn’t until she completed her Ironman when I was truly inspired to change my course from weekends spent sleeping in and playing video games, to weekends spent outside exploring local trails. I was sitting in the bleachers at the finish line waiting for her to cross watching one athlete after another cross that finish line. Watching the pure joy and relief that they had made it, that they had conquered the task at hand. The same held true watching Danielle cross the finish line. Surprisingly, it was a similar feeling for me in the stands. I hadn’t done anything, but yet I was filled with happiness that she had completed her goal. Knowing that all those early morning swims and bike rides racing the sunset were worth it for her. That was my inspiration. That was when I wanted to find out if I was capable of a daunting task like an Ironman, to push myself and my limits. A few months later that inspiration turned into reality when I signed up for a tough mountain bike race, the Park City Point 2 Point. I’ll save a discussion on that decision for another day.
For a lot of us, like myself, we need those moments of inspiration, events that make us look inward and re-evaluate the status quo. Those instances that inspire us to change our course. If you want some inspiration I encourage you to go watch the finish line of an endurance event, not the pros, but the people just making the cut-offs, the participants that can barely walk across the finish line. Go watch those folks. These folks don’t do it to win, they do it to finish. They know the challenge ahead won’t result in a podium finish, a sponsorship, or a following on Instagram, but yet they embrace the challenge as if it would. This weekend I have the opportunity to do just that. Sunday Danielle will compete in her second Ironman. This Ironman is a little different. All the first time anxieties are gone (or highly reduced). It’s a destination race so it feels more like a vacation at times than a race. And her team isn’t here in full force competing or cheering. But with all the differences one thing remains: there is an energy in the air that is contagious. Simply walking around Ironman Village today watching the athletes check-in and make last-minute preparations has gotten me anxious to watch another race, to watch these athletes overcome obstacles both physical and mental, for a chance to finish. I am sure this will be another inspirational event for not only my wife and the other athletes but for myself and the other spectators as well. Go find your inspiration this weekend, find something that inspires you to test your limits and you will be surprised at what you can do.