Yesterday I posted about believing in yourself. In that post I had an article by Susan Lacke about going from Couch Potato to Ironman. Within that article was another article written by her titled Anybody Can Do An Ironman.
I agree with Susan’s point of view that anybody can do one, but the rationale for doing it is going to be different for everybody. Some get into triathlon to lose weight, others to relive the glory days of high school football. Others pursue the sport because they want to go beyond their perceived limits. Whatever the reason you compete in triathlon you are part of an elite society of people. It is not everyday that the masses wake up saying they are going to race triathlon.
I have my reasons for being in the sport. I started out as a runner and thought I wanted to cross triathlon off my bucket list. A sprint was how I was going to cross that item off the list, but something happened along the way. I became enamored with the sport. I grew passionate about the ins and outs of triathlon. I could talk for hours on end about training, racing, nutrition and hydration. I became an ambassador of one, and will even go so far as to goading people into doing an event because I believe in the power of the sport to transform.
I used to weigh 175 lbs and through endurance sports I have knocked 35 lbs off of my frame. I am down to 140 and have never felt better, never looked better or had the energy I had as a teenager. This sport has created a life loving positive as can be person and I will need that mentality when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2012. That day will be the first day of what is going to be an epic year. A year where all the reasons I have for competing in triathlon and registering for Ironman will come true.
My triathlon racing year will begin in March with 70.3 Puerto Rico and then Ironman Texas in May. A few short months later I will be racing 70.3 Rev3 OOB Maine in August, 70.3 Austin in October and Ironman Arizona in November. I am prepared mentally to compete at each of these events and know that each event will carry a new and different meaning to it. The sense of accomplishment will be tremendous for sure but it will also be the ability to prove to others that they too can do this sport.
Yesterday I was reading 3GO Triathlon Magazine’s website when I came across another reason to compete in triathlon and endurance sports in general. It was an article on the voice or Ironman, Mike Reilly. It dawned on me then that in May I will hear Jason Bahamundi You Are An Ironman. That one statement will be like crossing the stage on graduation day in 2004 when I got my MBA from Iona College. it will be just like adding those letters to the end of my last name. As a matter of fact I am changing my resume and Linked In account to read: Jason Bahamundi, MBA, IM.
I was there when Claudia Spooner, Juan Aguirre and Shannon Spann crossed the finish line of Ironman Texas and heard Mr Reilly announce each of them as they finished (not sure how I missed Jeff Irvin but I managed to miss him…..sorry bud!) I was streaming Ironman Wisconsin live when Kevin Neumann crossed the finish line. I interjected Matt and Heather’s names when they crossed the line at Rev3 as I was streaming it even though Mike Reilly wasn’t there. Each name and the word Ironman made me smile and fist pump their accomplishments. Maybe it is not the name being yelled that is the icing on the cake, maybe it is the knowledge of the journey but I can tell you this: I would not have it any other way.
I had never thought of hearing those words as a reason to do an Ironman, and it probably shouldn’t be the only reason you do one, but it makes sense that it is a reason. When you are digging deep around mile 18 of the marathon you will need all the motivation in the world to get to that finish line and this can be another one to hang onto. The same person/voice that says ‘Chrissie Wellington You Are An Ironman’ will be saying your name as well. It is not everyday that Vin Scully says your name.
If you are interested in reading the article click [HERE] Following are some of the highlights for me:
Seventeen hours of endurance at arguably the most grueling event in the world, his carefully planned race day strategy involves throwing back gels and Powerbars throughout the day to keep fueled. He keeps his body hydrated like the rest of the athletes out there. But, he’s not swimming, cycling or running. His day is spent holding a microphone, standing above the race course and bringing his athletes home, one by one. Mike Reilly just might have the best job in the world.
Mike has a unique job in the sense that he shares a very powerful moment in time with each and every athlete that crosses the finish line. He is the first to confirm that you have accomplished that incredible goal of completing an Ironman. You did it … and he is the one to confirm that incredible life-changing moment. He has the unique opportunity to share your joy and exhilaration in that very moment. But usually his relationship and experience with you stops as you cross the finish line. But for athletes, our relationship to Mike, and to that powerful moment that we just experienced, is something that we will have for the rest of our lives. As athletes, his words are profound, unforgettable and timeless.
When asked if his 17-hour days of announcing year after year ever get old, Mike pauses, and with a piercing conviction, answers back with, “Passion never gets tired. It can’t tire out. When I tell someone that they are an Ironman, it’s so individualistic. It is my first time every time I say those words. It’s my first connection with that person. There are people in the crowd, their friends and family, and they are hearing it for the first time. It’s always my first time. It’s like making love for the first time … over and over again. If at any time I discount that because I’m bored or it’s redundant, I’m out of the game. It would be an injustice to the number one aspect in the sport—the age group athlete.” It’s that commitment to those around him and to our sport that makes Mike such an unbelievably special man.
So what’s next for the man with the voice? He doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, in fact he may just pick up the pace one of these days and jump in to an Ironman race himself. His son Andy just completed his first half Ironman race and Mike says if his son does a full it might just be his time to give it a shot. And who knows, maybe his daughter, Erin, an accomplished marathoner, might be there with them, too.
When asked who he would most want to announce crossing the finish line at his first Ironman, he’s quick to say, “It would have to be someone in my family. I think the rest of the guys might give me a hard time. Who knows what they would say. At least if it was someone in my family I’d know just how sincere it was. It would mean a lot to me.” So it’s possible that we may see Mike out there racing Kona one day. And I have the feeling that there would be a ton of athletes, friends and family cheering him on and greeting him at the finish line to chant with the passion they have learned from him, “Mike, you are an Ironman”.
To date my last name has been pronounced correctly once at any finish line but whether or not Mike Reilly pronounces it correctly come May 19th I won’t care because I will have become an Ironman.
By the way, Mr Reilly, if you are reading this post it is prounounced: Baha-Moon-D