My father was a great man.
His love for life and respect for others was contagious for all around him. He loved many things but the couple of things he was passionate about – Dubonnet, a sweet after dinner liquor, golf and his son – in no particular order – took a priority most days.
I cherished my time as his son. I watched his routine everyday, early to rise to start his day with a cup of coffee and the newspaper; when he returned home from work, the way he carefully returned his clothes to the hangers they came from – he loved the process of life.
My life was changed after he passed away at the young age of 84, much to my heavy heart. As much as he loved watching me play basketball in high school and college, his appreciation for how I approached the sport of triathlon made him happy. I would stop by his house and tell him about my new goals and adventures, as he listened intently.
He never did witness me complete one of my now, 13 Ironman races. From races in Lake Placid to Florida to now my second trip to Kona, I’ve always carried his spirit with me – and his dedication to life’s journey.
As I continue my build for the prestigious Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 11, I take time between long bike rides and countless miles of trail running, to think about my journey through this sport. My parents taught me that no success is achieved without failures, however, the great ones learn from each obstacle and use it as strength for the next challenge.
I won’t lie to you that feeling the cross winds on the famous Queen K and the final curtain call of running down the home stretch of Ali’i Drive to the finish in Hawaii, is something special. Those experiences are priceless; BUT I know it wouldn’t be without the support of my lovely wife, family and friends and groups of people who race life for a different finish line. Most importantly of these to me is Ballou Skies, a group that raises awareness and research funds for Muscular Dystrophy.
I tell my wife all the time, that I might cross the finish line by myself but I will never cross that line without everyone who has supported my journey to that point, in spirit.
Regardless of my finish time, the opportunity to wear the Ballou Skies colors, and the opportunity to test the life lessons my parents taught me, will keep me going to get to that sacred finish line on Oct. 11.
Hipa-hipa, hulo – (Cheers!)