Right now I am sitting on the couch at my homestay the day before my first Ironman race in Louisville. While sitting here I am watching the Ironman World Championships coverage in Kona and thinking about what my race may entail tomorrow. While I am very confident in my abilities, there are over 40 male Pros racing tomorrow who all have their own stories to tell and motivations for doing what they do.
Like in all long distance races, I know I will have an abundance of time during tomorrow’s race during which my mind will wander to why I do what I do and what motivates me to keep going. While many of you know me as being “that super fast guy”, I am not one of the guys competing in Kona and I do not expect to be able to make a living off of this sport now or in the immediate future. I am not saying this in a self-deprecating manner and I am not lacking in my desire to compete and win. Rather it is an assessment of my current abilities and where my priorities as a human being lie.
So that brings up the question, where do my priorities lie? I try to make that evident as one of the first things you may see on this blog. Number one being my faith in Christianity and my family, number two being my work as a nurse, and lastly my pursuit of sport in triathlon. This may not be as evident as shown by my frequent posting of my athletic endeavors, but these are the priorities of my life with each affecting the others in countless ways.
This past week leading into my first Ironman has been a great reminder of these priorities. As many of you know, my wife Rebekah is currently pregnant with our first child and is at about the 12 week mark. If you have had a child before, I’m sure you are aware of the anxiety that comes with that first trimester where many complications can occur in the development of the baby. I admittedly have been nervous about this time and worried that we may have told people too early in fears of something going wrong. It was very helpful and calming to have a special blessing from our church just last week at our morning service. It was also helpful when everything came back looking positive after our second prenatal appointment this past Tuesday. There is nothing stronger to remind me of my connection to God and family than the ever growing presence of our first child.
This week has also provided me with many reminders of the tremendous role I play as a nurse. Since I started working at my new job at Palmetto Health Parkridge I have had more satisfaction in my work than I thought possible. I have formed a number of great friendships already with my fellow coworkers and learned countless new things about working in the operating room. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to work with such great surgeons including the physicians that Rebekah sees for her prenatal care. Nursing is not the least stressful of jobs as we often work with populations who are not in ideal health, but I have no doubt that I am in one of the best professions out there.
With all of this in mind, I enter my race tomorrow knowing that my friends and family will support me regardless of the outcome. The triathlon community in South Carolina is fantastic and is always supportive of my goals in this sport and want to see me succeed. Today marks the day that I will have won the South Carolina Triathlon Series for the 4th consecutive year put on by SetUp Events. This combines many of the best put on races in South Carolina and offers a $1,000 prize purse for winning. This year I have decided to donate these winnings to an organization known as Girls Rock Columbia. This is a fantastic organization that Rebekah works hard for and you can find more information about them here. I will continue to promote their work as I train and race and hope that I can continue to earn a bit of money in my racing so that I can support them further.
This post doesn’t come close to all of the thoughts that will be going through my head tonight and tomorrow, but I hope it gives an idea of who I am and what motivates me as a person and an athlete. I will hopefully be able to follow up this post with happy news on Monday about how everything went beautifully and nothing hurt, but I think we all know there will be more to report than that.
Also, huge shout out to Ilia Owens for offering to be my support person for this race and travelling all the way to Louisville and making sure I don’t mess anything up! You’re the bomb!