If you ask me, you need to be slightly insane to complete an Ironman. The quintessential triathlon on steroids, an Ironman is certainly not for the faint of heart… or endurance.
As the child of an Ironman, I grew up on the sidelines of these day-long events. The raw physical strength required to finish this gruelling feat is matched by an equally important mental component. Plainly, I’m in awe of these people.That being said, I never quite understood why they did it. My dad just has this raw drive, but he’s never quite been able to vocalize why he became a runner, a triathlete, and what has driven him to complete and incredible 13 ironman competitions.
This week, he sent me a link to a speech by Jordan Rapp. The Ironman champ sums up quite beautifully why one might want to compete:
“Even though we are responsible for getting ourselves from start to finish by swimming, biking, running (and WALKING some stairs), we do not race Ironman alone. And THAT is what makes Ironman truly special. We are given the chance by others to see what we ourselves are capable of; sometimes it ends with a finisher’s medal and sometimes, unfortunately, it does not. But however it ends, it always begins the same way – with a single athlete – surrounded by 2500 of their closest totally insane friends – getting ready to do something remarkable by standing on the shoulders of giants…
We all need to be proud of what we’ve done. And we need to be proud to have had so much help along the way. Because the memories we have may be our own. But it’s the memories we share that I think make us human. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything that makes me more human than doing an Ironman. It makes me feel alive. And it makes me feel – more than anything else I’ve found – like I’m part of something larger. Because I shared what I’m lucky enough to do for a living with all of you. And you are kind enough to share what you do with me. And we all share it with the people in our lives that our most special to us. We share it with the giants who are kind enough to let us stand on their shoulders, so that we might see farther than we could on our own. Far enough, perhaps, to see the limits of what is truly possible.”
Nothing’s quite as powerful as those simple moments in life where one just feels connected though how, where and what varies from person to person. While Rapp talks about his experiences, his message relates to whatever it is you are passionate about.
So, whether or not you want to do the Ironman (I’m content just to cheer) we should all remember to embrace our passions and open our minds.
You can read the entire article here: Jordan Rapp; On the Shoulders of Giants