Completely nuts or totally inspiring... that's what watching an Ironman congers in my mind. I love my husband dearly but I have to say that it has crossed my mind a few times as to whether he might just be nuts. I mean, who puts themselves through the pain and suffering of an Ironman? All that said, it is one of the most inspiring and motivational thing I have ever witnessed.
Months of preparation, personal sacrifice, long hours, doubts that you keep at bay, excitement, expectation, anticipation, time away from your family, the juggle of work, life and training. There is incredible amounts of passion that goes into preparing and training for an Ironman.
As much as I often wish that my husband would give it all away at the same time I know that it is very much a part of who he is. To his core he is passionate and enduring where it comes to the sport of Triathlon.
Standing on the sideline and watching someone you love endure an event like this is agonizing. I couldn't care less if he came first or last so long as he is safe at the end. But the real agonizing part is the pressure and expectation that he puts on himself.
I have been around this sport with him for more than 20 years now and I have to confess that I believe that at the end of the day success comes to those who have the grit and determinate to master their mind. All the training and preparation only gets you so far. Then there is proper nutrition and fueling and ultimately, the mind determines the rest.
It is not just my husband who I find inspiring it is the men and women who race these events. People who are competing for the first time and are racing for a cause or the professional athletes who are racing to put food on the table. Each inspiring in their own way.
For triathletes, being "done" with IRONMAN is like being done with breathing. The sport becomes their lifeblood, fueling their drive in a way we can never imagine. Even the most devastating race leaves a triathlete wanting more - whether it’s for redemption, chasing a PB or the simple act of chasing another goal.
I would like to say that I have always been a supportive Tri Wife but honestly, I have also spent a lot of time thinking that if he just gave it up, things would be so much easier. Easier at home with Ashton and his needs, easier on our relationship, easier on our business commitments, easier on our finances. Just easier!
Unless you have a partner who trains for Ironman triathlon its hard to grasp the level of chaos that it causes in the house hold. Yes chaos! For instance, this morning Ryan went for a 140km cycle and left home just before 5am. As the gate to our property clicked shut our blue eyed boy came running into our room...WIDE AWAKE. Daddy had woken him up when he left. We now had approx 5hrs of countdown and worry until Daddy got home. You can imagine for a little boy with ASD, this change in the morning schedule did not go down well. The poor cat and I paid the price for Frog's unease.
Some would say Ryan is crazy and so are all the other athletes who train for such events but honestly, just like we embrace Frog's uniqueness, it is important to embrace Ryan's uniqueness. His ability to push his body to limits far beyond our reach. His self belief, his health values, his dreams, his passion, his determination for this sport.
So many of our family and friends often ask why he does it. They often tell me to put my foot down. Tell him to give it up. Every time he is questioned why he does it he simply can't explain it. He just loves it and it's his passion and life line. I guess you could liken it to starting a family. Why do we have children? There is never a right time, never the perfect situation, we just believe and love. We are passionate about connection and family.
Ryan's passion for the sport has flowed over into coaching. I think even more than the racing this is his greatest achievement. His experience and intimate knowledge of the sport serves his clients well. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Achieving far beyond what they thought was possible. How amazing that his passion has lead him to this. To the opportunity to help others fulfill their dreams and realize their true potential.
Whether its a sprint distance race to qualifying for the World Championships, each achievement is equally impressive and important. Each athlete gives a piece of themselves to the course they race, their sweat and determination etched into the ground, their belief and courage slowly growing.
The enormity of what they do each time they race is not lost on me. They are advocates and champions to the cause of healthy living and positive role models to our children.
Sitting on the sidelines, I have the best view. I get to witness the raw, the real and the remarkable. First or last even the ability to line up on the start-line is inspiring to me. Ordinary men and woman changing their lives one step at at time. The chance to start again, they were born for this.
Witnessing how this sport can change your life is an honor. You may think that it's just about the race and the medal at the end but its so much more. It's what it does for your confidence, your health, your relationships, your passion, your courage, your belief and mental clarity, your strength, your legacy. Doing an Ironman is being vulnerable and raw in the most challenging way. Putting a bet on yourself and hoping that all the months of sacrifice pay off.
There are no winners, no losers just inspiring ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
If you have never watched an Ironman live, its defiantly something to put on your bucket list. It is something that will stay with you long after the event is finished.
Safe training to all!