I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been out of town. I went to Ironman Canada in beautiful Penticton, British Columbia. I did this race last year. This year, I went as a sherpa and a volunteer and had a wonderful week.
I am a bit of a junkie when it comes to heartfelt sporting events. I know most sporting events are about heart, but Ironman is and will always be particularly special to me. The event – swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles – is unthinkable on the one hand and utterly doable on the other…if you have enough heart.
Though I was not racing, this trip fed the Ironman addict in me. A number of things made it wonderful.
- The athlete I went to support had an amazing race, finishing in 13 hours and 33 minutes. It was her first Ironman. She spent months training diligently for this event. I wanted the experience to be perfect for her, and it was.
- The winner of the 2011 Subaru Ironman was a guy who about a year and half ago was hit by a car while cycling and left for dead. A passerby stopped to help him, apparently minutes before he bled out, and now he is back. Really back. You can read his speech from the closing banquet here.
- That winner articulated something utterly beautiful during his speech. He said, “No one in this room has a burning desire to be typical.” I could not agree more. That’s part of what makes Ironman so special.
- I got to see Sister Madonna Buder race at age 81. She just barely missed the bike cutoff – just barely – and that hurt my heart for her. But still, she swam 2.4 miles and biked 112 miles at age 81. That’s unbelievable!
- Did I mention that my athlete had an amazing race? I was and am so incredibly excited for her. She surprised herself. And that is, in my opinion, what Ironman is all about.