Every so often someone will ask me “Why on earth would you do an Ironman? Seems like it is self induced punishment.”
There are as many different reasons to do an Ironman as there are people. There are some common threads that tie all the various reasons together.
Every person on earth is endowed with an unconquerable spirit from God. That spirit needs to be tested and strengthened. Testing the spirit in the form of tremendous dedication and training, pushing our bodies some days to their limit and asking it to recover so we can do it all over again the next day, is very rewarding and revealing. You can learn more about yourself from your challenges than perhaps any other way.
This dedication is no different for many of you. I’ve seen photographers to bakers study their craft and improve their skills and put it all on the line every day. The person who is fighting health challenges work to regain their health in the form of focus, will power and faith. How about a new entrepreneur that has risked everything with an independent spirit of faith and work ethic. For these people, their dedication is exactly the same for an Ironman triathlete.
Many Ironman triathletes love the endurance aspect of the sport. The long hours of being alone in your own thoughts. The peace of the quiet in an otherwise busy and noise world. It is comforting to know that you can stay focused for sometimes up to 8 hours in training and anywhere from 8 to the maximum allowed 17 hours in the actual event.
However, life for most of us is a test of endurance. Being a parent comes to mind as the ultimate test of endurance for once you become a parent, you’re always a parent. Your children will need you as long as you live. I miss my dad who died in 1999. I still to this day think about him almost every day. My love for him has endured because of his love for me.
There is an abundant amount of self confidence that overflows when you cross the finish line in an Ironman triathlon. You know that if you can accomplish that, with the help of the Lord, you can accomplish anything. The Lord’s plan is so awesome! All He asks of us in a broken heart and contrite spirit. Ironman is such an extension of the Lord’s plan of abundance with his eternal plan of truth of DESIRE > FAITH > MASSIVE ACTION. With out the Lord, you may never have true self confidence, because you’ll blame all your success and your failures on yourself.
Finally, for many Ironman triathletes they participate to serve others. Many, like myself, always dedicate their Ironman to someone or some charitable organization who may benefit from the effort. Perhaps someone who is fighting an illness or personal struggle. A worthy charitable cause to raise money. For me too, I believe that through my Ironman lifestyle and participation I may be able to reach more people about their health and well-being. Many of my close friends know that one of my lifetime goals is to help at least 50,000 people achieve their potential of happiness, peace of mind and freedom. Freedom in the form of peace, time, health and financial freedom. It was revealed to me that I could reach more people to serve by my participation in Ironman.
I guess too we do it because we can. It’s there in front of us. While it may be 140.6 miles to some, to all of us who have been so fortunate to make it across the finish line, its really about 3,000 miles of training our swim, bike and run. As Sir Edmund Hillary said about scaling Mt. Everest, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” For us in Ironman “It’s not the distance we conquer, but ourselves!”
I love Ironman. I’ve had so many personal witnesses of the Lord’s truth in my participation. The people of Ironman, from the athletes to the spectators and volunteers, are all so energetic, kind and enthusiastic. Name another sport that amateurs (called age groupers) and pros line up together? The professionals, often after their race is finished, come back to the finish line to cheer on their fellow tri-geeks!
I have a favorite scripture that is Ironman found in Isaiah 40:31
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Finally, my question for you:
“Is there an Ironman inside of you?”
I’ll be participating in my 7th Ironman this Sunday, September 12th in Madison, Wisconsin. On race day you may follow mine or any other athletes’ progress by clicking on the IRONMAN link and going to the athlete tracker. My bib number is 2072.
You can learn more about Ironman Wisconsin by clicking this link.