I am usually asked to write a race report after an amazing race about how hard I worked and how the stars aligned for a PR. Yes, there are anecdotal obstacles that always occur before, during, and after the race that makes victory even sweeter.
Today we are taking a different route.
Ironman Louisville was supposed to be a culmination of a two-year arc from Ironman Cozumel 11:04. Publicly I was happy with a 36-minute PR. Privately, I knew I was a lot faster than the chip time. I committed myself improving every aspect of the sport - swim, bike, run and nutrition. Success was evident when measured in PR’s while building for the BIG show.
Along the way I realized that I fell in love with the person I became to put myself in position to succeed. Training brought me more satisfaction than racing. It brought more structure and balance to my life. It made me a better father, a better husband, and a better CEO.
Success truly became more about the journey than the destination.
So, the first question everyone asked was “What happened in Louisville?”
Very simple. The temperature dropped to 45 degrees and it was raining. I didn’t adjust and bring rain/winter gear for the bike. Lesson learned…
A lot of people asked/commented to me:
Are you okay with a DNF?
It must suck because you trained so hard.
When is the next one?
I beat you 😊
I made the decision, before the decision was made for me.
Can’t control the weather. Can control my attitude.
Will see. It takes a village for me to race.
Yes you did and BE PROUD!!!!
I was smiling and in good spirits after the race. Risking your health or your bike 😊 is not worth a PR/finish when you are exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia.
This sport has taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of. That far outweighs any PR.
Dr. Phil moment - There is nothing to learn from success.
It is through our “perceived” failures that we grow. Blowing up IMCZ taught me I needed to focus on improving my nutrition strategy. Melting in Ironman AC a few years ago – taught me how to race in the heat and the following year in IM Eagleman (4:51) – I qualified for IM 70.3 Worlds.
Running a 3:05 NYC marathon taught me about the importance of course strategy and pace management. Resulting in two sub 3-hour marathons – one in NYC only a month after an IMAC 70.3 with a 4:43 PR.
I’ll end this report with a quote I keep with me on my phone.
I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory and life doesn’t work that way.
Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for.
People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.
This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.” This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So, choose your struggles wisely, my friend – Mark Manson.
Ari Baum, CFP®