Jumping in the cold dark waters of Lake Zell at Zell am See with 2.600 other athletes, has a way of changing your life perspective.
I could be at home watching a movie or having a night out with my friends – but here I am, fighting with my legs and arms to stay on track, while the water becomes white from splashes of people swimming next to me.
I have to survive this for another 1900 meters and it seems it will never end.
And this is just the beginning of a long day ahead of my first Ironman 70.3 race.
Why do we do it? Why do we get so much out of our daily life and comfort zone and pay expensive tickets to participate at those kinds of events?
The answer is probably different for every person in the race.
For me it is for the moments of feeling fully alive. Where it is only you who can pull this off. I cannot blame anybody. It all depends on me.
We got so comfortable in our modern society that we forgot moments like that. Moments where there is no thinking and analysing.
We forgot moments that simply are what they are – and life is rushing through our veins full power.
This time around I got disqualified and had to quit at 60th km of the bike course, as I was 10 minutes late for the official cut off time.
It was hard to accept the decision from the judges at the course – but those are the rules we have to follow
People may call it a failure as I didn’t get to the finish line after 9 months of preparations. But this would only say something about them and their ability to judge others.
My take on this race was totally different and I want to share my insights here with you, through lessons learned.
1) It’s about the training. It’s not about the race.
9 months of continuous training made me into a better and stronger person. What we really want in life is energy and vitality – and training will help you go a long way with this.
2) Train harder
Due to my busy professional life, I didn’t follow all my training to the letter. There were days when I skipped the planned session as a normal day turned into a very long day and I was too tired when I got home.
Real challenge is to prepare and organize one’s time when going on a race like this.
3) Team is everything
My support crew was beyond amazing. Participating in a challenge like the Ironman race, requires help and in those situations you can see who is really supporting you.
4) Becoming instead of being
Standing at the start line of the race, I stood up to the challenge. Me who started the race and me who ended the race, are not the same person anymore. Something intrinsically shifted and changed and life will never be the same.
5) No complains
We tend to complain about this and that.
When you jump in the water and start to swim, other athletes are hitting you left and right, trying to get ahead or in the right direction.
There is no time to complain. There is only time to remember your training, trust your ability to get to the end of the swim and keep pushing forward
6) Have fun
As you are passing by the race course, people are cheering. You get to help other athletes in distress and lift them up as they want to give up. It all brings a huge smile on your face and you remember that we came to this Earth to have fun as well.
And the most important thing – my daughter was supporting me as she always does. There is no material thing or any amount of money that could replace this. Our connection grows deeper with every experience like this one.
So, in my mind I won much more than I hoped for.
Thank you Ironman.
See you again!