How I Survive an Ironman
It’s going to be a long day, no matter what. Every person racing in an Ironman ultimately has to find something to keep their head in the game, and to push through the pain. Over the years, my goals for a particular race may have changed, but I pretty much think of the same things every race and day-in/day-out of my training.
I view Ironman races as a reason to travel with my family and of course I brought all of them to Hawaii! I aim to make them proud, and its a hidden motivator to realize that the longer I take on the course, the longer they have to wait around for me. I also think about my parents and other family members who are at home following me through the computer
I don’t necessarily dream of my desk during a race, but everyone who works in a field such as mine has to have some way of dealing with all of the death and dying. I honestly view running, biking, and swimming as my own personal stress reliever. I created Ironcology as another level of using Ironman and endurance racing to benefit the cancer center, and I take a lot of pride in what I have been able to achieve in just 2 1/2 years – I’ve raised a little over $350,000 now, I’ve paid for new equipment including a fluoroscopy, an ultrasound unit, a prostate cancer treatment stepper, new treatment applicators, and the down-payment on a state of the art treatment suite. I’ve also created a race that generates north of $25k per year. In addition, I have had the opportunity to take care of some pretty amazing people who stick with me.
At this year’s Survive the Night Triathlon, we featured an special award that was given to any cancer survivor – the #ChristianStrong award. This was in honor of a young man named Christian Shadburne. Below is the image of the card that was given out to participants explaining it:
To sum up quickly – I took care of this man from start to finish. His treatments were ultimately unsuccessful. Rather than talk to me about his pain or suffering, or try to find ways I could help him in his last days, he would want to talk about my training and how things were going. I spent pretty much the first 3 months of 2016 not running because of an ankle injury, and 2 days before he passed away, we were talking about my training in his hospital room, and I told him it was slow and not going great. With the biggest grin on his face, his response was “Well, suck it up man!” I am still amazed at the courage and faith this young man displayed. Immediately after saying that to me, he told me he didn’t want me to miss him after he passes or feel sorry for him, and he invited me to his celebration of life after he passes. I will be racing with Christian in mind, and when I hit the late stages of the race, I’ll look down and read #ChristianStrong and be reminded to suck it up!
There are a lot of people believing in me
My group here in Kona is 12 deep! Plus all of the additional friends and family members who have supported me along the way and continue to send me texts, messages, and emails is unbelievable. I can’t let everyone down, right? Plus, the sponsors who have supported me through Ironcology – Big Ass Solutions, Audi of Lexington, Four Roses Distillery, KORT physical therapy, and the Markey Cancer Foundation. I also have supporters through Big Sexy Racing, Quintana Roo bikes, my coach Chris McDonald, and SWORD to make proud.
I first saw Ironman when I was 15. I was deep into the football, weight-lifting, & wrestling pathway, but I knew in my heart, that is not what I wanted. I caught a lot of criticism when I decided not to play football anymore, and I had a lot of people telling me I was never going to do an Ironman, or that it was silly (there were a lot of other words inserted there instead of silly), and then a specific coach whom at the time I regarded quite highly, told me my dream was ridiculous and that I was never going to amount to be anything in life cause I was quitting his team. I think about those words all the time, and it gives me great pride to know that he was wrong.
Lastly, I think about my past performances and my recent workouts and I know deep down that I can race this thing and place among the top. I know I am a good runner and my biggest goal tomorrow is to make sure I run to my ability, which should enable me to qualify to come back to this race sometime soon: