To The Soon To Be, IRONMAN
A letter to the triathlete about to step up to the IRONMAN starting line.
To the Soon To Be,
Months ago, you made a decision; you signed a piece of paper, and decided to commit yourself, to what I believe is the most grueling endurance race on the planet. You made the decision to challenge your body, and your mind, and see just what you are capable of. But that was then, and this is now.
There has been 1000’s of miles logged since that fateful day. Early mornings in the pool, late nights on the bike trainer, and runs during the hottest part of the day, and those are just the basic elements. There were the lifts, the yoga sessions, the doctors appointments, but even more important, there were the birthday parties, the weddings, the days and hours of work, and the events that could not be missed. It’s been a journey, and not an easy one.
You had to find a way to continue on in your daily life, but also commit your entire life to train for one moment, and one chance, to be something so much more than you thought could ever be possible. Well, it’s here. Months later, it is finally time.
It doesn’t matter how or why you got here, the point is, you did. You have now become a part of something so much bigger than yourself, and just by stepping up to that starting line today, you have come to a point where you can hold your head high and proud.
140.6 miles. That’s what separates you from what started as a dream and has now become a goal. It can’t be finished by skill alone but rather, your heart and your determination are what will take you the distance. It is the truest test of perserverance, because the honest truth is no matter how much you train, race day is its own beast.
It is an obstacle that will challenge you to your core being, and make you look within yourself and question if this is what you really want. But you know one thing that those roads don’t: this journey that you have been on, has made you stronger and tougher, than any obstacle you will face.
The journey for these past months has called in to question everything you knew about yourself. You had to decide what mattered most, and find a balance between your goals and your responsibilities. You committed on every plane, emotionally, financially, mentally and physically. You made sacrifices that few can understand, and many choose not to, and you worked through every sore muscle, injury, drop of blood, and tear that fell. The journey was not easy, but I hope after today, you will be able to say it was worth it.
As the sharpie marker writes a number on your arm, before the sun has even risen, I hope you take a moment to breathe it all in. As you drop off your extra gear bags, and begin to put on your wetsuit, I hope you see the amazing that surrounds you. And as you step on to the starting line, I hope you remember every step that got you to this point, because today, you will go after hearing those awe-inspiring words “you are an Ironman”.
I wish you fun. Because as grueling as this will be, it should be fun. You should be able to smile and embrace the challenge in front of you, and the person it has allowed you to become. No matter what the reason behind it, you have put yourself in the path of an obstacle, and just the pure chance at beating that obstacle should bring a smile to your face.
Remember you aren’t alone. You never were and you never will be, even on the most desert parts of the course. You have had people behind you from day one, and the journey has been one of a team. They are cheering you on, waiting for you at the various parts of the road, and they are supporting you no matter what the day brings.
Know you can do this. You have to believe. More than anything, that is what will make the difference. You have to believe you can make the impossible possible, and that you are meant to be on that course. You can do this, I believe it, but now you have to.
Today is a day where logic gets thrown out the window, and it becomes a day of pure guts. Today will be a day unlike any other. I hope that you get to experience some of the greatest highs and lows that a human can experience, but mostly I hope that you get to experience that feeling of crossing that finish line. While I don’t know what that feeling is like, I have felt it for the ones I love, and I can’t imagine there is anything like it.
Ironman inspires us all to be more, and today is your day to do that. It is your day to continue to ask more of yourself until you hear those fateful words. Today is the day that this journey comes full circle. And today is the day for you to be all that you never thought possible until you signed those papers just a few short months ago.
So, to the soon to be, I wish you a race day that makes you smile, cry and enjoy the ride, and I wish you the chance to embrace it all and enjoy it for what it is meant to be. I hope that you find a way to persevere and fight through every challenge that comes your way, and I hope that you know you have a cheering section that has your back, screaming their lungs out for you. They will be waiting for you with Mike Reilly, 140.6 miles down the road, to hear him say those four incredible words as you throw your hands up in accomplishment. Just for stepping on that starting line today, know how incredible you are, and I will see you at the finish line.
Today is your day, and it is a beautiful day to be amazing.
With endless love and support
Your Support Crew
GUEST BLOGGER: Erica Keil is an RTA club member, triathlete & collegiate soccer coach living and coaching in North Carolina. She has cheered her dad on to his numerous IRONMAN finishes. Link to original article.