A MULTISPORT PILGRIMAGE
140.6? Count Me In.
The Race Before Us | Oklahoma Sports & Fitness, July / August 2015 Issue
It was the summer of 2001. I had traveled with a group of friends into upstate New York on the road trip of a lifetime. After hundreds of miles on the road, and some random stops along the way, we found ourselves in a beautiful village in the Adirondack Mountains known as Lake Placid. Little did we know, we were in for two major highlights of the trip: some downhill mountain biking on Whiteface Mountain, and some serious inspiration at the Ironman Triathlon.
As we arrived into town, the beautiful countryside and the crisp air begged us to venture out on a hike, do some cliff jumping, and hop on our bikes. However, our first interest was the local Ironman Triathlon, an American classic held every year there, with the Adirondacks serving as a breathtaking backdrop. For me, I had never been up close to the sport of triathlon, and I was curious to see the competition unfold.
Our first vantage point was from a small hill perched nearby a portion of the bike course. I remember watching athlete after athlete speed past us, portraying well-oiled machines pumping steadily towards the horizon and out of sight. And after moving to watch several riders transition from the bike to the run, we soon found our place at the finish line. We were anxious to watch the conclusion of the race, but we could never have anticipated the size of the goose bumps we were about to experience.
The first few finishers were impressive. They came speeding around the corner with their arms waving in the air, their fancy sunglasses glistening in the fading sunlight, and their wide smiles acknowledging the spectators. But they weren’t the main feature of the evening. As nighttime took over, and stadium lights illuminated the path to the finisher chute, we witnessed a different kind of finisher. These were the “everyday” athletes who reached beyond their limits to arrive at that special moment in time: their appointment with the finish line of the Ironman Triathlon.
It was the full-time accountant and the stay-at-home mom that caught my attention; those that pushed way beyond their limits and normal life routines to reach this unforgettable achievement. And though many of them rounded the final corner holding their hamstring, or grimacing in pain, it just made the words, “you are an Ironman,” all the more sweeter.
Now fourteen years later, I’ve set out on a path to personally complete 140.6 in 2016. With each day, with each new benchmark, and with every new bit of knowledge, I grow more enthusiastic about the challenge ahead. And with a great deal of dedication, time in the water, time in the saddle, time on the trails, and undoubtedly, the relentless support of my family, I’ll be one to reach the Ironman finish line -- exhausted, overwhelmed with joy, and grateful for the journey.
Sean M. Call, Publisher/Editor
Oklahoma Sports & Fitness