342 days: Ironman Inspiration

Quick recap: I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013. Tally so far: $925. And squeeze in some training for Ironman Lake Tahoe (and other events).

Ragnar Northwest Passage registration is open. Four commitments are in, 8 more to go…

Last Thursday we spent a little more time talking about STRESS. I need your help with a couple of things, so please make sure to participate in the poll and help me decide who needs a stress break.

One of the great inspirations for this entire effort is the big event, the big kahuna if you will: Ironman Kona. The 140.6 World Championships. The race is streamed online from beginning to end – the cannon for the pro start is 6:30am Hawaii time, with the age groupers starting at 7am. They have 17 hours to finish – midnight local time – and the race stream does not stop until the last official finisher is in.

Of course, the pros are inspirational. They are wicked fast. Ridiculously strong. What they do is amazing. But that is their job. While we are putting in the 60 hour workweeks, they are doing the same: in the pool, on the roads, in the gym, on the bike rollers. Of course they can swim 2.4 miles in 3-foot ocean swells in 55 minutes. Of course they can pedal 112 miles in swirling winds gusting up to 40mph with road surface temperatures near 115 degrees. Of course they can run a marathon in under 3 hours, on those same hot roads, after doing that swim and long ride. Because that is their job.

Though I find the pros to certainly be inspirational, it is the age groupers that I find particularly inspiring. The amateur athlete that finished the race with a sub-9 hour finish. That is amazing. The ~300 athletes that finished in under 10 hours. Most of these athletes had to do this ridiculous thing while fitting in a full time job and so many other responsibilities in life.

On Saturday I cheered loudly from the comforts of my home as Pete Jacobs crossed the line in 08:18:37 as the first pro finisher. I cheered loudly for Leanda Cave as she crossed the line in 09:15:54 as the first woman finisher. And I really cheered for many, many hours following as the nearly 2,000 age group finishers crossed the finish line, right up until the cutoff time – these are the stories of perseverance, sacrifice, and pain.

There is nobody in this world that can step up to the start line of an Ironman race – 140.6 or 70.3 – and finish the race without endless hours of training, focus, determination, and sacrifice.

And that is what we’re going to be talking about the rest of this week.

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