I gotta tell you, when my husband asked me to volunteer at Station 9 with the Football Team for Ironman, I was less than thrilled. I was already too tired and the last thing I wanted to do was hand water to people with zero-per-cent body fat. But boy, am I glad I did it. I had tears in my eyes several times that day. Not because of the first athletes that zoomed down Highway 99 towards the Rutherford at a speeds that should only be possible with jet propulsion, or the many magnificent looking men and women who followed gracefully behind them, but because of the people who were struggling up the hill that had the breath to say thank you for volunteering. We appreciate you. I was shocked. If I were them I wouldn’t be able to breath, let alone thank someone.
They were not professional athletes. Many of them were even smiling, though their hands and legs were shaking. “Why are they doing this?” I asked myself, as I tried not to snack on those fancy gummy bear things.
I was especially moved by the 58 year old grandma who stopped at our station. She stopped because she knew she would not make the 5:30 cut off for cyclists. She said she would have continued but she had minimal training due to a broken finger. She was still pleased with her accomplishment and so were we. “I used to be an overweight couch potato. I didn’t even start serious fitness until I was 45,” the amazing lady told us. “Just stay mobile”, she said repeatedly.
Wow! I moved here from Texas. Our idea of staying mobile is moving to another restaurant when the all-you-can-eat buffet line is too long on a Friday night!
As the day was coming to a close for our station, the final courageous ones were coming up the hill. I would say to them, “Keep going, you can do it. Don’t give up! I have to admit, I felt a little ridiculous saying it. I have never tried such a difficult physical feat. Who was I to tell them what to do?
Well, Monday rolled around, like it always does, and it was back to work. I found myself hit with challenges that felt like I was pedalling uphill with no end in sight. And then I remembered my own words, “Keep going, you can do it. Don’t give up!”
The fact is, life can feel like the Ironman challenge some days and it can be painful. You might not be sure if you can make it to the finish line. I hope you will be reminded of the Iron People, on and off the track. Those people who won’t settle for mediocre and give it their best, even though it appears impossible. I know I will. Heck, I might even go to the gym this week!