Ironman Kona was this weekend. This is the big daddy of triathlon. There are several Ironman length races held around the world, but this is the one with all the street cred. It’s a 2.4 mile swim in the ocean, 112 mile bicycle ride, and a full marathon distance 26.2 mile run at the end. Throw in wind and heat and that’s more fun than 99+% of the world can endure.
This year the course record was broken by Craig Alexander. He finished the sufferfest in the 8 hour, 3 minute range. Reflect on the distance and the time. Yeah, I can’t get my head around it either. And as impressive as that finish is, it’s not the most impressive finish.
I’m told that three of the finishers are over 80 years old! Plus, another one of the finishers, Rajesh Durbal, is a triple amputee. My brain goes all slack jawed when I try to think about those four people. I need to go rethink my life.
It reminds me of the scene in “Dodgeball” (easily one of the greatest comedy movies ever made) where Joe (Vince Vaughn’s character) has quit the dodgeball tournament. He’s sitting in the airport bar when Lance Armstrong steps beside him and orders a bottle of water. Lance says that he’s a big fan and tells Joe that he once felt like quitting when he was diagnosed with brain, lung, and testicular cancer all at the same time, before he overcame it to win the Tour de France five times. Then he says: “But I’m sure you have a good reason for quitting. What are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?” Joe responds: “Right now it feels a little bit like… shame.”
We’re not all Lance Armstrong and I’m comfortable using that as an excuse. But when I think of those four finishers, I have no more excuses. It’s not about finishing a premier triathlon, it’s about becoming the person I want to be and doing the things I need to do before dying.
What was it you wanted to accomplish again? What was the “reason” (read as: lame excuse) you tell yourself you can’t? Now that all excuses have been removed by those finishers, what’s stopping you?