Showcase: Becoming Ironman
When life takes an unexpected turn, face it one step at a time
Learning that the best way to face life’s challenges is to take them one step at a time.
RUNNING THE JOURNEY This is not the way it was supposed to go.
That was me, after my divorce. I felt so completely lost and alone and figured that I had to do something drastic to put my life back together again.
A 3.8-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre bike ride and 42.2- kilometre marathon run, all within 17 hours, would make me an Ironman and would be my ticket to wholeness.
It has been a fiveyear adventure— two years of training and writing, followed by three years of editing. I came up with the idea to train for and participate in an Ironman because the word “Ironman” itself sounded like it would give me the strength and sense of wholeness that I had so desperately been seeking. At the same time, I thought I would write a book documenting my journey. Most importantly, I felt that becoming an Ironman would give me the perfect body and that would be it. Perfect body = perfect life.
Or so I thought.
I have always admired runners. I would wave at them from my car and long to be one of them. I dabbled in running here and there, but only started running more seriously about 20 years ago. I ran my first half marathon in three hours and 30 minutes. A year later, I shaved half an hour off of my time and ran the half in 3:00. One year after that, I ran the half in about 2:30. In 2009, I lost 60 pounds and ran my first full marathon in 3:45:33. This qual- ified me for the Boston Marathon. At the “Around the Bay” road race in Hamilton in 2009, I earned a silver medal by running the 30K race in 2:27.
Today, I am nowhere near the runner that I used to be, but I am busy promoting my book ONE, The Power of One Step, and my long-term goal is to truly enjoy life every step of the way, no matter where life takes me.
I set five goals for myself: 1. Complete an Ironman triathlon. 2. Write a book about it. 3. Find a publisher. 4. Be on Ellen. 5. Have my book made into a movie.
Goals one through three have been completed. I have not been on Ellen yet, but I have the shoes! They are colourful and fun and the heels look like chocolate/strawberry/vanilla ice-cream cones. They are perched proudly on a ledge in the closet as a symbol of the day that I’ll wear them on Ellen. There is something about having a tangible reminder of your goals that makes it much more real. I believe that goals four and five are on the way.
ONE, THE POWER OF ONE STEP
My book is divided into three chapters: Swim, Bike and Run. In the first chapter, I am adjusting to being divorced. Divorce changed everything, and I really didn’t know which way was up. In the second chapter, I begin working with the homeless. And in the third chapter, I am gearing up for my big race. The themes of dieting and dating come up a lot, and swimming 3.8K, biking 180K and running 42.2K is nothing compared to dating in your 40s! I was inspired by the books Eat, Pray, Love and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Although I wanted to write a swim, bike, run version of Eat, Pray, Love, my book is more of a Basket Case’s Guide to Completing an Ironman.
On my journey to becoming an Ironman, I had the blessed opportunity to begin working with the homeless. It was only when I started thinking outside of my own head and focusing on others instead of on myself that things really began to change. It is a process and does not happen overnight. It starts with a wish—to help others and focus on others— and then slowly it builds.
THE NEXT STEP
I have learned to truly trust life and trust that when things do not work out the way I had planned, that’s great! I try to focus on others more than on myself. This is really hard to do. I dare you to give it a try! I have given up on the idea of having things go my way, because life has a much greater plan for me than any small plan that I could have come up with on my own. I have surrendered completely, and I relax and enjoy the ride! ■