On Sunday we went to Mt Tremblant to watch our friend Stephane participate in his 3rd Ironman event. An Ironman is a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and then after all that a 42.2km run. I have to admit, I have gone on the record stating I WOULD never do one of these crazy things. Just like I said I would never run a half marathon (doing one in Sept) or a marathon (Oct 2013- Toronto). Well pass the ketchup because once again I am going to eat my words. I have decided my 50th birthday challenge would be one of these crazy things, god help me.
It was so inspiring to watch and see athletes of all sizes and shapes compete in this event. The swim starts at 7am and it was quite a sight to see 2300 Age Group athletes all attack the swim with enthusiastic gusto. It is quite the production with divers to make sure no one goes underwater, kayaks, boats and lifeguards on surf boards all making sure they stay safe and finish. The comes the long bike portion of the event. Around noon we settled in to wait for Stephane on his second loop. The elite athletes and faster age group athletes were finishing their second loop and there were still others starting their second loop. I have been there, watching others finish as you are just starting out, it must be hard but they all had a smile on their face. These athletes will not win, that is not their goal, its a race against themselves, will they survive and complete this enormous task. I stayed out until I saw the last of them start the second loop, cheering them on as loud as I could. I know one day, I will be there, slowly making my through the day, taking advantage of the 17 hours allotted for the event. Finally you get to the run portion, I have yet to run a marathon and I can hardly imagine running one after doing the other stuff. We saw Stephane as he started the run and he was smiling and looking good. Most of those who start finish, some due not...some do not make the cut-offs for the swim and bike legs, others have mechanical problems and for some it was just not their day and their bodies gave up. They all had the courage to dream, to train and to try their hardest,it is not something you start on a lark and figure you can do with little work. This is a hard core event and when you cross the finish line and they say "You are an Ironman" you know you truly are.
I was watching a You Tube video about the US Ironman Championship and the ending spoke to me...it went something like this. Life is like a dash and the dash is going to be on your headstone. It's going to be from the day you were born until the day that you die and that is what people are going to know about you. I was thinking to myself that you have such a limited time to go out and do as many amazing things as possible, so make the most out of that dash...it's your life.