It’s been almost four weeks since Ironman but it seems like much longer. I’ve gone to start this post several times but for some reason it’s been tough to find a way to wrap the race report up, which is ironic, because Monday after the race was arguably the most fulfilling days of the of the weekend.
I’ve been drawn to using athletic events to raise money since I did my very first triathlon six years ago (has it only been seven years?!). I’ve said here before that triathlon is an inherently selfish sport, especially given the training demands of the longer distance races. I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to participate and I think this is what has driven me to give back in some way.
In the case of Ironman, there is a very sophisticated program set up in the form of the Janus Charity Challenge. I participated in the program during my first Ironman and helped to raise over $115,000 for a local Habitat for Humanity chapter. This year my cause was Bretton Woods Adaptive and we raised $41,500, which earned an additional $4,000 donation from Janus Investments.
A side benefit to participating in this program, especially if you are one of the top fundraisers (we were 4th this year) is that you and your family receive VIP treatment during the Monday award ceremony. Besides being recognized on stage with the other Janus Charity Challenge participants in front of a couple of thousand athletes and guests, my family and myself were in the VIP seating area and had the opportunity to sit with such pros as Michael Lovato, Hillary Biscay and Paula Newby Fraser. Though one of the best parts was being able to sit with and catch up with Carol.
Carol is a fellow Janus athlete and has participated in the program for several years. She does an incredible job fundraising (this year she raised over $400k for her organization) and is one of the kindest and most genuine people I’ve met. She won this year’s Janus Charity Challenge, as she also did in 2006, the first year I participated. One of the thing’s that draws me to triathlon is the people. Carol is a perfect example of that and it was great to be able to see and catch up with her again this year.
This year’s Ironman was an incredible ride. A friend sent me an e-mail after the race with some incredibly inspiring words. She wrote “…this destination that you’ve come to has meaning and adds more depth and experience to your life, and allows you to reflect on so many things you might not have if the out come were different.”
A DNF was never an option that day, it just wasn’t something that I thought about. However, just as my friend wrote, since it happened there are so many things that have I have gained a deeper about. In the end they are all reasons for me to continue to be grateful for the opportunity I have to participate in endurance sports.
What’s next? The mind is swirling with ideas! Stay tuned…