Saturdays are a slow day at work. Generally, early in the afternoon I will turn on the TV, find the least boring show on network broadcast, and settle in to finish prep work for the night. Yesterday, I turned on NBC thinking I would find figure skating, gymnastics, or another equally girly sport. Instead, I found that I had tuned in to the Ironman World Championship from Kona, HI.
As I listened to Mike Rowe narrate the coverage, it became apparent that the athletes they were focusing on weren’t the leaders of the pack. As a matter of fact, many of them were closer to the rear than the front. After watching a bit about Scott Rigsby, a double amputee hoping to complete the race, I took a break and thought how amazing it was that even though he has no lower legs, he was determined to finish the race.
For a brief moment, I thought what it would be like to set a goal like that for myself. Immediately, my head filled with all of the reasons it would never happen. Even if I lose 60+ pounds, I’ll probably still have a bad back and bad knees. I don’t have time. I can’t afford to join a gym to train. The list went on and on.
When the show came back from commercials, they showed the story of Charles Plaskon, a blind man who was competing with assistance from his guide. As he crossed the finish line, I started to cry. His grandchildren grabbed on to the guide rope and ran to the finish with him. Even typing these words, I find myself welling up. He was competing on behalf of the C Different Foundation.
I missed the segment on Brian Boyle (dang work!) but to read what he has overcome is amazing. His website tells the story very well, but long story short, in 2004, he was hit by a dump truck and was in a coma for two months.
These men were resolute in their choice to be Ironmen. They overcame obstacles that most of us can’t imagine. By the end of the program, I was convinced that we can all be our own worst enemy. These are men who proved it starts with the mind. When the mind is determined and refuses to quit, we can succeed.
Will I ever be an Ironman? Probably not. But I hope to carry these stories in my mind as I go through life.