“YOU’RE AN IRONMAN!”
The photo above was snapped just moments before Dusty crossed the finish line of his first Ironman competition. It was also immediately before he noticed that his family was waiting for him. If you look in Dusty’s eyes it’s not hard to tell what this moment meant, and perhaps it was just the look of a hard day’s work. Regardless, we already knew that he was an Iron Man, but what was unique about this experience is that Dusty came up with a crazy idea, an excellent idea, and saw it through. I’ll never forget the YouTube video that he showed me months ago in which a man is sarcastically taunted about everything he will give up while training for an Ironman competition.
This was a story seen through my perspective, and it would obviously have a different feel if was solely about the individual events and analysis. Once I arrived in Madison I knew there was nothing to analyze or track, but plenty to experience and think about in the faces of each competitor. I wanted Dusty to have an account of what his family was thinking about while he was off doin’ work. There are little things in life that go a long distance. There is an always an excuse to be made, a reason why you can’t or why you don’t have time. There are ways to push yourself mentally and physically, especially when you feel defeated. An Ironman is a finisher, and understands the importance of perseverance.
We were all quite happy to be in Madison for Dusty’s first Ironman competition. He certainly didn’t need to have us there, but we would be. Two weeks prior, he made the eight-hour drive to Madison just to get a feel for the course. It’s the little things. There is a fine line that separates the good from the great. The most honest experience for all of us was minutes after the competition when Dusty took a moment to process whatever it was that he was thinking about. It was more than just the work of that day; it was the conception of a goal and the completion, fueled by the joys and pains of life.
We all have hopes and fears, but ultimately want to reach our goals, regardless of how crazy they may appear to others. Ironman Wisconsin 2013 is an experience that I will never forget, and Dusty has shown me, once again, the importance of enduring hard work, commitment and focus. Congratulations, Dusty.