The Big Dance
So here we go. One more sleep. No more training. No more waiting. The cannon’s locked and loaded. Nothing can be done now.
Which usually signals trepidation, excitement, focus, performance obsession… finding out adrenaline comes in brown! 10 hours before the off and none of these feelings are currently on my radar. Weird. Almost as if there is no race. My ‘performance’ got me here. I’m not racing anywhere near the front of the pack so now the performance is secondary. The experience seems to have taken centre stage. So it should do. I like to think (although Maria might justifiably disagree!) that I manage to retain a sense of perspective most of the time. It’s swim, bike and run. That’s all. If I had the perfect day would I be a better man? Who would even care? 99% of the planet don’t know this race exists. 99% of those that do have no idea what a finishing time means.
Today I met Bob Babbitt. A man who did the Ironman back in 1980. I asked for a photo. He looked genuinely pleased I’d asked. Gave his time so willingly. Looked me in the eye and took an interest. Hell, he even thanked me after the photo. Thanked me! For what? In between interviews on what must be a pretty hectic week for him he gave me far more time than I expected or deserved. The guy even fished around in his rucksack and gave me a book as a gift for Christ’s sake. Then when I mentioned to the kids he’d done the Ironman back in the day he got a couple of books out and started explaining to my kids what it was like back then. I’d heard he was a really nice guy. That seems one hell of an understatement. The guy’s helped raised over $50,000,000 via the Challenged Athletes Foundation he co-founded. I got home and saw him interviewing Andrew Messick Ironman CEO. He’s probably raised a lot more money… but not for the benefit of the many or the disadvantaged. I have no beef with Mr Messick – he has a tough job to do and on the whole he appears to do it pretty well. I was just struck by the contrast before me. It’s not about what you’ve got, it’s about what you choose to do with it. Mr Babbitt, I salute you.
Right, where was I? Not sure where that came from. Oh yes; there’s a little race tomorrow. My goal? Enjoy it and finish feeling I’ve done myself justice… the time on the clock and the respective position in relation to Gary will take care of themselves and in reality be very much incidental and of zero consequence. Given the fact tomorrow will be the first steps I’ve run since returning from Canada I suppose that’s just as well! If tomorrow brings as much as every other day since I arrived then I’m going home a very happy camper.
Don’t let the time you take define your worth; that will be done by the time you choose to give. So says the law of Babbitt.