It’s 6:00am in Europe and I am half naked on the rocky pebbled beach of Nice, France, ready to begin the greatest athletic journey I have ever undertaken. Surrounded by 2,500 wetsuit clad Ironman competitors, I am a blob on the crowded beach line with excitement pumping through my veins as I survey the calm Mediterranean waters in front of me.
The words of Mitch Thrower, 20x Ironman triathlete, ring through my head and I know my purpose here:
“Every day, we are given 24 hours, complete with a beginning, middle and an end. And the real question is not only how far how fast we can go daily or throughout a life, but in this race, on this day, were you smiling? ”
I have been given 24 hours. Actually, for the Ironman cut-off I have been given 17 hours; and while it is a race, what matters the most is whether or not I will be smiling the whole way. My purpose here is to live life at full volume, to be a kid excited to play again, and to discover insurmountable iron will that will drive me through the unimaginable highs and lows that this day of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running will bring me.