Mon, 16 July 2007
I sat in a hospital in 2003 with my father exactly four years ago to the day. He asked me a very simple question - "How is your Ironman Training going?"
That was the last question my father ever spoke to me. Ever. There were no other questions.
Ironman Wisconsin has always been special to me. It's in my home town so I guess it just seems right. This last weekend, Ironwil put on a great event called WIBA. At first she said there may be 30 people. That changed to 40, 50, 60.... The first night at dinner I stopped counting at 70. This is a special weekend. There was no charge for people to come. It was just the joy of Ironman.
With all that said, I set out on Saturday for an hour swim. It was warm already. Maybe 75. By the start of the ride it was easily in the 80's and soon it hit 90. It was also windy, so the heat did not feel all that bad, yet the heat and Stu do not mix. I try with all I have, but the heat got Stu. No question about it. I did 85 miles and came back and ran an hour. After that I was in a world of hurt. It has taken until Monday at lunch for me to finally feel better!
It was during that ride and the hours since that time that I had to dig down deep. It was time for me to put an important point back in the forefront. Never underestimate the power of Ironman. Ever! I feel that very few people in the world will ever attempt an Ironman. For those that do try - remember that sometimes the process, the education, the friendships, the team, the love of the sport make it all worth while.
During the ride, at the lowest point, something very important happened. Something unexpected. I have been having a great year. Everything has been working. That was until Saturday when I ran head on into the heat. I was in the middle of many riders all alone. I was moving forward, but not all that fast. It was one of those moments that you question everything. It was at that moment that I turned and saw Bolder. He knew. I didn't have to say a word. He stuck with me as a friend. He stayed with me while tossing his great day of riding out the window. He didn't say much. See, I was right last week when I said it was all about friends.
When I go back to the start, I got a call asking if I was ok. What a guy! I got up enough energy to do an hour run (that was not the smartest thing to do). When I came back I was in more hurt. I sat on the concrete next to my car. Some guys that I didn't even know sat with me and got me to drink and eat. They sat with me just to make sure.
So to all of you that go so far out of your way to help others I thank you!
So during this last week I was wanting SOMETHING to get me back in the game. I needed something, That "something" came today on a training run. I was still feeling the results of dehydration several days later, but was doing everything I could to get back in the game. I started on a simple run. I ran and just happened to end up on the Ironman route. I have run this 100's of times, but I started to notice freshly painted arrows. I started to follow them and noticed they must have marked the Ironman marathon route this last week. These arrows were not here last week. I saw one more arrow and smiled. I saw another. I started to run faster. I saw another and ran faster. Soon I was in a dream world. This is why I train. I train for the something as simple as this. I will be here following these arrows in 55 days. I have done the work. I have done what it takes to do this.
So I'm back. I'm back in the game because of a painted arrow on the ground. Ironman is about so many things, but when the day is over, Ironman comes from the heart. It comes from deep within. It's a journey. It 's about friendships. It's about life in general.