It has been a few weeks now since the Ultraman in Kona….
I have thoroughly enjoyed some family time and am back at home adjusting back to the demands of work.
Monday morning after the race, I woke up in the hotel and Darren and I went down for the breakfast buffet. There was a small group of athletes that met at the pier at 7am for a little swim… but with my ‘open wound’ toes and underneath regions, I didn’t want to risk infection, so no ocean for me.
I actually slept ok considering, and being in an AC hotel really helped a LOT! (Thanks Uncle D!!). The buffet was perfect, because it gave me options to try and see what my stomach would allow. Seemed to be more towards simple things…. Fruit, breads, but not too much for proteins or fat. That makes sense, more complex digestion would seem unattractive to a tender system. I listened to my body and ate what felt ok.
Back in the room I worked on getting back up to date with the race reports and really enjoyed the quiet AC hotel room. Darren worked for a bit on the phone, and then went off to fulfill a dream he had – golfing in Kona, on the water’s edge at a spectacular course. Awesome!! I really enjoyed the quiet, peaceful room and time to write, think and absorb the previous events.
Awards night was pretty awesome as usual, and it is always bitter sweet. I am pretty socially awkward in groups, I never really know what to say and always feel odd…. Still, it is a gathering of amazing people and the bittersweet part for me is that it is all ending. People started heading home that night even. The party is over. Kaden found a few friends his age and they roared around exploring everything at the outdoor venue on the edge of the ocean. Hilary and I took turns watching him, but I was a little tippy, so she had to do most of it. The food was great, and I sat with my crew of course, and really enjoyed the conversations. It was really great to chat with so many of the athletes and friends. Bob Babbitt gave me a signed copy of his new Ironman Book – that was amazing! If you don’t know, Bob is a major deal in the Ironman world! He has been to every single one since he was an athlete in the 3rd ever Ironman. He helped start the Challenged Athlete Foundation and hosts a podcast talk show that is extremely famous. I was quite humbled by the gift, and he asked to interview me on his show coming up. #mindblown
*My friend Melissa Urie at the Awards.*
The awards start at the slowest folks and move to the first spot and this year, with the super hard bike course, there were 14 ‘Participants’ (athletes who missed the cutoff, mostly on Day 2, and one who was pulled from the swim on Day 1). Like I said, it was a REALLY tough race this year!! Soon it was my turn, 25th place of 40. My speech was a blur and I am not even sure what I said. I wanted to say so much. I had waited over 3 years for this moment, and I wanted it to never end, I had thought about what to say over and over again in the past 3 years of training, and my mind was blank. We each get 3 minutes, and even at that, with introductions applause and athletes waddling on and off stage, it takes 3 hours. We got it on film, and someday I will watch to see what I said. I hope it sounded ok.
Thinking about 3 years ago…
The guys from 2015 that were first on scene: Peter, Adam, Vern, Gary, Rebecca, Sherri, and so many more…. Plus people I was not aware of. To be honest, I am still not fully aware of what exactly happened, or who arrived when. Lyle and Doug and Drew came up on the scene…. A mess. Lyle stayed with me in the ambulance, and in the hospital for 3 days. What my Wife went through, the Race Director, the support crews, the volunteers, all of the people back home…… Lyn Beckwith who had been taking the text messages from my crew and posting them as updates…. Suddenly all went quiet….. Then a brief message that I had crashed and was headed to emergency with unknown injuries…. But that it was bad.
How do you sum that all up and thank everyone? 3 years of surgeries, Hyperbaric Oxygen, MRI’s, CT scans, Physio, Chiropractic, Naturopathic, Massage, Vegetative Training, Neurological coaching to rebuild my broken brain.
The gym members, staff and friends that pitched in, drove me places, shoveled our driveway without hesitation, brought food to Hilary, helped us unpack (we had just moved into a rental duplex prior to leaving and never even unpacked) and on and on. I won’t name names, for fear of missing someone…..
Facebook has been reminding me for the past few weeks by posting ‘3 years ago today’ stuff, and it is humbling to re-read the comments from so many amazing people! It is also humbling to realize how far I have come since then, and how lucky I am.
And then there is THIS year’s race! All the amazing athletes that have become new friends, and reacquainting with old friends…. Jochen for joining our crew this year and adding SO much richness and expertise. Darren providing not only leadership, but his company helping finance the extreme costs in many cases. Drew for filming everything on the tightest of shoestring budgets, doing everything possible to capture hundreds of hours of footage to make a documentary.
How do you cover that in 3 minutes?
Even here in writing, with no limits it is a daunting task.
Awards night came and went. Me and my family finally got the week vacation we had waited 3 years for. It was amazing!!! We played, we hung out, we went on a submarine ride, Hilary and I went SCUBA diving (magic!! We saw a Turtle ‘cleaning station’ where they were lined up to get cleaned by a bunch of fish!), and we splurged our Christmas budget on a helicopter ride to see the volcano (so cool!). In order to get a great deal for all those activities, we got to sit through a 2.5 hour time share spiel, but it was pretty easy to say NO. lol! Our budget for the next long time is fried!
White Tip Reef Shark.
Hilary and Kaden’s first time in a Helicopter!!
Back at the condo, we spent some time in the pool at the complex, checked out the ocean a few times and did a little shopping and even went for a movie. It was truly relaxing and wonderful. I only wished there was more time to stay and just be a family.
Soon it was time to fly home. We had a 5 hour layover in Vancouver, and some family came to meet us for breakfast in the airport. It was nice in spite of how tired we were, and fascinating all the same to observe the conversation, but I won’t get in to that exactly.
OK, that’s the technical stuff….. “How do you feel?” Seems to be the main question from most folks.
I FEEL AWESOME!!!
In ways I could never describe. I feel whole again. Complete. At ease. Peaceful. Relaxed.
Like something major is DONE and a chapter closed. I no longer feel like ‘the broken guy, trying to be whole again’. I feel lighter. Obviously, the fact that I am no longer training 25+ hours a week helps too! Work has been happy to fill that up as we prepare for January at the gym in hopes that we can help some people.
Reflecting back, one of the major things that was different this race, was that I was not out to prove anything. I knew in advance that nobody would care about this like I did, and people that I used to want to impress, or prove that I was ‘good enough’ to, well…… I no longer care. That approval will never come anyway, and I am good enough now, without any major feat to prove it. I raced this year WITHOUT the need to hurt myself and suffer to prove something or show how strong I am. I enjoyed the race. (ok, not all the moments…. well…actually…. even when it was soul destroyingly hard… I was still proud to be there…. In that moment…. actively _not_ quitting.) This year I looked around at the scenery a lot, I soaked in where I was, what I was doing, who I was with and the feeling being able…. Able to swim, bike and run with the best of the best again. I was never a threat to the leaders, but again, I didn’t really care about that. I stopped and hugged my family every time I saw them instead of zooming by. This was my race, for me and the people that the crash affected. This was a celebration and a completion for all of us. Mission Accomplished.
So what’s next?
Well.. we need to find a way to fundraise to get the film done. We have all the footage, now comes 5 months of putting it together and then submitting it. That requires money I do not possess…. So we need investors. The film needs to be completed by July, so we can submit it to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. I also want to have a World Premier screening here in Sylvan Lake in the summer. Stay tuned!!
Personally, I am back to 2 main elements in my life: Family and Work. Both need me now, more than ever. Yes, I need to take care of my health too, and get back to a routine of fitness now that I have indulged in some much needed rest. I taught spin class Saturday and we watched a film called ‘We are Triathlon’. It was awesome, and I was already starting to imagine racing again. Nothing big this year though, unless work changes a LOT.
I am happy….. Thanks for all the support.
A few final parting shots….
Some fun shots with Lyle out on the Queen K Highway….
I had been thinking about Stitch as my spirit animal for a long time. He’s impossible to kill, doesn’t understand how to get along with people, and has a small but broken family that he sort of inherited. I relate to him….. It’s bigger than I expected, and I had second thoughts but he’s growing on me…..
Sunsets in Sylvan… different… but good. And always….. my amazing family.
A run with Lego the Dog and an AMAZING gift from my friend Chuck!!!
And the folks on this list…. they either sponsor me (Performa, Hammer, Care Chiropractic, TKN Nutrition, Sylvan Lake Physio, Altra and Entrix) or it is stuff I use and recommend. I am extremely grateful!!!
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