Last night was one of the staple DC Tri Club events. The So You Think You Want To Be An Ironman seminar. It's a panel of 6-7 Ironmen with lots of different backgrounds and perspectives. I was lucky enough to be on the panel in 2008 after my Ironman to represent the back of the pack participant. It was one of my favorite events I have ever done with the club.
This year I helped facilitate the questions and my goal was to let each panelist talk and share their unique experiences. We had a newly turned pro, a Kona qualifier, a 57 year old top 3 in her age group finisher (and Kona qualifier), a coach, a few others, and my pick for the panel - a 14 hour and 59 minute first time finisher. There was a lot of great information shared, and I was happy to be part of that side of the event.
To close the evening, I asked everyone to share one of their 'moments'. So much of an Ironman story can sound so daunting, scary, hard, painful - lots of negatives. I wanted people to leave on a high note, something that makes the Ironman, all its training and ups and downs worthwhile. There were a lot of great answers, but I am going to try and type out the story from one person, told from her perspective. Hopefully I don't screw it up too badly.
"I was on the beach at Kona before the race and next to me was this man who had this look of terror on his face. We started talking and I learned his name was Roy, he was a white man from Nigeria who now lived in Dubai, and this was his first Ironman - he was a lottery spot winner. We were chatting and started talking about how you say 'good luck'. Not in other languages, but other forms; like 'break a leg'. He was saying in Africa, there are the "chased" and the "predators". The chased run as fast as they can, but at some point they have to decide to stop, turn around to face the predator, and get their horns into it to fight. So go and get your horns into it."
She wasn't sure what happened to Roy, if he finished or not, but that wasn't the point of the story.
At some moment, you have to stop, turn around, get your horns into the Ironman, and fight.