Training for a full Ironman takes on a life of its own.
40 miles of running, 200 miles of biking, and 10,000 meters of swimming every week—it’s not easy to fit all that in, especially while still trying to be a good husband and dad for my family and maintain a full-time job. I quickly learned that my days needed to start earlier, much earlier. It wasn’t uncommon for me to jump on the bike at 4am in order to get the miles in that I needed. Our masters swim class started at 5am sharp and it was a 25 minute drive from my house. I ran on treadmills in hotels on business trips, and I ran from one appointment to the next.
Andrea was a rock star during this special time of our lives. I always knew that she believed in me. I am thankful that she allowed me the autonomy to truly prepare for what was going to be the most difficult physical task of my life.
After months of this regimen, it came time to choose which Ironman race I would be doing. There are dozens of these races all over the world to pick from, and what most people don’t realize is that pretty much anyone can sign up for any of them—with one exception. The race in Kona, Hawaii is special, not only because it’s the original Ironman race, the one that started it all, but because you have to qualify just to be allowed to start. Anyone who has ever toed the start line of an Ironman has dreamed of racing in Kona, but only the best triathletes in the world actually get to.
Then I got a phone call from a gentlemen by the name of Rob Wight.
Rob told me that we have a lot in common. He, too, is an Ironman finisher. And he, too, is a father of a son who has Down syndrome. He then said something that forever changed my life; he was the CEO of that year’s presenting sponsor of the Ironman World Championship, and he asked if I would come to Kona and race, so they could feature my story on the nationally televised Ironman NBC broadcast. He knew I planned to race to raise the money and awareness necessary to get institutionalized special-needs children adoptive homes. He wanted to give me the opportunity to tell the world about these kids.
I hung up the phone in tears. Because of the exposure this man was offering, many children would get real, loving homes who might not have otherwise. I knew I was witnessing a miracle. It was time to double down on my training. I had three months to prepare for the race of my life, a race that was literally going to save these children’s lives.
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