Accepting My Challenge

By , Apr 1, 2015

For nearly 5 years I’ve been fighting myself with varying severity about competing in a triathlon. The last two more seriously. There is always an excuse to justify putting it off for later. I’m really busy right now, I have too many work trips this month, I don’t have time to train with a new born baby, I can’t swim. OK, the last one is a little more justified.
For the past 12 months I’ve had a goal to compete in a full Ironman with my brother before I turn 35. I’ve never actually completed a triathlon, I mountain bike far more than cycle, and I really didn’t swim when I set the goal. I like the water and can float, but using energy to propel instead of simply to survive is a bit novel for me. Anyone I mention my goal to I timidly caveat with “it’s a three year plan.” This little phrase is my out. Somehow it makes the plan more sane, more attainable, more realistic. The side effect is I get to save face with people filing me in the marginally crazy category as opposed to full nut bar, but mostly I don’t tell people. I keep my plan to myself.
Adam mtn bike copy
Even with this goal, finding excuses is too often just as easy as finding motivation. Instead of competing in a sprint triathlon last year as planned, I ran a marathon. A unique opportunity facilitated this, which I used to get ahead of my plan in one discipline but behind on another. For 2015 (year two of training), I was planning at least an Olympic distance but a planned relocation gave me my “out” to push that to 2016 now. After all, swimming is still behind schedule with all the running, and the idea of swimming 1.5km in a single shot is ridiculously overwhelming. Especially since in January I was struggling to put together more than 100m without a break.
img_0859 cape town
Recently all my mental posturing came to an abrupt end when I heard the story of Casey, Team Inspirations latest member at the time. Early thirties, brand new father, just diagnosed with cancer. With a three year old at home and my wife expecting, the story was too close to home. Way too close. When I was asked to compete in a half Ironman this summer to honour Casey, there was no way I could decline.
Of course it’s cliché to say all that, which is why it’s important that his story become so much more for me and the people in my life who I can influence. Although I have never met or even spoken to him, Casey has become my motivation. I think of him when I believe I’m too busy for a workout, when the alarm goes off at 5AM after a restless night, when I am on a road trip looking for an out, when I put my kid to bed and I am exhausted and the gym seems like too much effort. Casey didn’t pick the timing of his life’s challenge, and doesn’t get to procrastinate on his preparations, why should I get to? Even if by some twist of fate he could pick the timing of diagnosis, I’m sure it would not be in the first month of fatherhood. All I have to do is compete in a triathlon. If the opportunity his story brings makes that happen at a time I’m not mentally ready for it, I say it’s all too fitting. And if I can bring a glimmer of motivation back to him, why wouldn’t I?
I’m competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman on June 14. Over the next few months, I’ll share my journey as I prepare myself with the hope of encouraging Casey and the other TI team members to help them find motivation and strength in their journey. I don’t pretend that what I’m doing even compares to the challenges that our warriors face, but if they can see how inspirational they truly are then this journey for me will be worth it…and hopefully we share a laugh or two along the way!

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