- Don Fink, Be Iron Fit
It’s 2 weeks after my first half Ironman, and I can’t shake the thoughts. The realization that I’m capable of so much more than I imagined. The hunger now for something more. The belief that Anything is Possible.
I begin searching. Criteria: A late season race; A flat course; A drivable distance. The best option is clearly Maryland, but I know there have been weather issues in the past. Then again, so many races this year have had weather issues and Maryland was great. I remember I can’t control the weather but I can control how I respond to it, as I proved in Atlantic City.
But this search is different than any other one I’ve done. I didn’t even believe it was possible 4 months ago when I chose a triathlon watch with a maximum battery life for a half Ironman because, surely, that is all I would need. After all, I thought I may only have one half Ironman in me. It turns out I think I have a lot more.
I check out what people have said about Maryland. A great race director, a welcoming town, a rescheduled race 2 weeks after a hurricane….great weather, a hard swim….a cancelled swim…an easy swim…jellyfish, tough head wind….a good bike course. As always, there are contradictions depending on the year. But mostly they said, decide now because lodging sells out quickly.
I register Mike and me for Eagleman, MD 70.3 in June so I can familiarize myself with the course. Then, with shaky fingers, I hit submit and just like that I register for IMMD, my first full Ironman next September. And, I rent an expensive but great AirBnb right on the race course and near transition. Yikes, what did I just do!
In the morning, I’m in disbelief. I’ve never swum 2.4 miles, ridden 112 miles, or run a marathon let alone done all 3 in the same day. A week later, I see my friends struggle through a tough Ironman Louisville course in the cold rain. But I also see their strength and determination. And, I see amazing stories like 85 year old Hiromu Inada who just set a world record being the oldest person to complete the Kona Ironman World Championship. I see a Ted Talk by Minda Dentler, who is the first female wheelchair athlete to complete Kona. It took each of them two attempts before they were successful in their record breaking attempts – they were not afraid to fail, readjust and come back.
My biggest birthday gift this year is not my tri bike. It is the confidence to be fearless.