It’s Ironman Texas week here in The Woodlands, TX, which, to me, is the most amazing time of year to be in The Woodlands, TX. For those who don’t know an Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run to finish, all under 17 hours!!
There are professional athletes who finish the event in under 9 hours, but most of the nearly 2500 competitors will take much longer than that to complete this ultra endurance event.
I’ve done it. Twice! I plan on doing it again, and again, and again.
There is a saying among Ironman competitors: “Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles, brag for the rest of your life.”
I don’t do it to brag, though sometimes that is kinda nice (not gonna lie). In fact, many days I even forget what it took to get me across that line, twice. I do Ironman to remind my self that I can do hard things. I can finish what I started. You can too!
Completing an Ironman is INCREDIBLE!! That finish line is one of the most amazing, intoxicating, and addicting spots on Earth as far as I’m concerned. I am definitely chasing that high for as long as I can.
There is nothing quite like running the last 200 meters of a 140.6 mile race, the music is blaring, the crowds are screaming like crazy, high fives are coming from all over the place, the lights shine on you and Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, calls your name: “Lauri Mazeikas. You. Are. An. Ironman!” Your picture is taken a thousand times over and as you cross the finish line, you’re handed a medal, a shirt, and a hat that tell the world you are a finisher. It’s incredible and this description does not do it justice.
The crowds see you finish, see the culmination of your long journey and they are more than happy to cheer you on in that moment. However, it’s what the crowd doesn’t see that truly makes an Ironman.
We forget sometimes. I forget.
The things that are unseen are what truly makes a finisher. In the course of training for any event, or preparing for any success, or aiming for any dream in life there are a million hours that are never, EVER seen. If they are seen, they can be scoffed at, ignored, or criticized. After all, the only person that truly understands your dream is, well, you. In order to complete that dream the only person you can really count on, or blame is, well, you.
You have to take a real hard look in the mirror sometimes and learn to be your best cheerleader, your biggest believer, your own best friend. You have to know you can get through the days that just suck. You have to know that the finish line is bigger than any bad day or bad news. Your measure of success is not in the stumbling blocks along the way. Your measure of success is in getting up and continuing on despite whoever tells you that you’re crazy. Your measure of success has to mean more to you than criticism, than failure, than hard times, than depression, than heartache. It has to be bigger than anything that hurts, physically or mentally! You have to fight to get to that finish line and it will NOT be easy.
Yes people say that all the time, but there really is no way to explain how tough it is to do. The bigger the dream, the bigger the fight that better be in you.
So get up. Do some work. No. Do A LOT OF WORK behind the scenes, behind closed doors, in the dark. Some days you will get it all right. Some days will feel all kinds of wrong. You will question, you will doubt, you will fear, but if you keep doing the work, you will also FINISH!
Who knows, maybe someday, someone will call you an Ironman.
Anything is possible!