Coach Slayer: Kona Qualifier When He Least Expected It
Ironman triathlon is a tough game to win even with the best of support. You always face hurdles and limiters be they time demands, swim form, mechanical foul ups, injuries, and/or fatigue.
Some hurdles and limiters are harder to overcome than others and some pile up on you. In my case, apart from obesity, the armadillo who started my wreck was the biggest problem I ever had to overcome in my triathlon career.
However, I have to admit, going into Ironman Maryland 2015, I had given up the dream of ever qualifying for the World Championships at the Ironman distance. Even though I had made it to the Half Ironman World Championship in 2014 in Mont Tremblant, Canada, I knew that you could fool a Half Ironman. What I mean by fooling it, I meant that you could develop your fitness such that you could still have a good day even with mistakes.
Ironman is No Joke
Ironman, on the other hand, could not be fooled. No amount of fitness could help guarantee a good day. With my middling swim and stronger bike and, oftentimes, bumbled run, everything needed to come together on the day for me to even get a whiff of qualifying. After several failed attempts and then a major injury six months out of the race, that Kona qualifying dream died for good. There was absolutely zero chance that I would ever sniff the big island air in Hawaii.
Moreover, there is a certain amount of luck involved when racing that long of a distance. Sometimes, based on your training times and practice efforts, you think you are ready to knock it out of the park and you strike out. Other times, which are much more rarer for the vast majority, you are afraid you will strike out and you knock it out of the park.
Great Local Writer Pens a Feature Magazine Article
Here, Ryne Dennis, wonderful Sports Journalist and endurance athlete in the making, of the Oconee Enterprise, interviewed me and found the theme of not quitting and overcoming obstacles along the way to my big day.
He took my story of qualifying and highlighted the many years of toiling and hard work, my never ending fight to overcome obstacles, the support of many, and the luck of the day. When I could have quit, I didn’t and his article shows that we have to struggle to keep dreams alive because you never know what might happen if you quit. I hope this will inspire you to continue your fight, whatever it may be.
Read this article, #DoYourJob, and you too may #ReapWhatYouSow! Thanks to everyone who helped along this long journey to the promised land. Coach BigBad Ryan Wolfe of TriCoachGeorgia said in jest that I can now die a happy man. In many ways, he is absolutely correct. Not just because of my Kona Qualifying effort, but for the sum of everything and everybody I am a part of.