Several of my pals and triathlon acquaintances joined thousands of other athletes at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St. George, Utah on Saturday, May 7, 2022. Their personal reasons, goals, and objectives for the race may differ but they all shared one Big Dream: to cross the finish line!
But this very tough, hilly race would prove especially challenging on a hot, gusty, sunny day. While watching the pro race via IRONMAN’S live stream, I learned athletes faced cold, rough water in their 2.2-mile swim at Sand Hollow State Park. I recognized crucial points along the bike route including the two steep climbs near Veyo and the canyon in Snow Canyon State Park. The marathon also featured numerous grades along its technical urban course.
Adding to the drama (a.k.a. mental anguish) for competitors was having to make time cutoffs along the swim, bike, and run courses. Failure to do so meant the end of one’s race and chance to reach the finish line.
So how did my pals do?
- Tamera finished in 12 hours, 27 minutes, 36 seconds
- Joyce finished in 14 hours, 19 minutes, 3 seconds
- Stefani finished in 15 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds
- Diane T. finished 1st place in F70-74 in 16 hours, 33 minutes, 1 second
Unfortunately, Diane A., Sandy, and John did not finish their races. Illness kept Melodie from competing.
I read one Facebook comment today stating some 20 percent of all who started the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship did not finish. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that rate wasn’t higher. Dealing with heat, wind, and crazy course terrain is bad enough. Add in precious time that’s lost to fixing a flat tire, missing water bottle handoff at an aid station, stopping for much-needed visits to the porta-potties, or a myriad of other reasons including the “nothing-you-can-freaking-do-about-it” off day and simple bad luck.
A DNF (a.k.a. did not finish) is nothing to be ashamed about in this or any other race. In my opinion it can be a badge of honor. Here’s why:
- You dreamed.
- You planned.
- You trained.
- You prepared.
- You showed up.
- You started your race.
- You tried your best.
- You didn’t give up.
The next step is to recover — physically and mentally — from your hard effort, learn from the experience, and try again.
Your Big Dream is waiting. Go get it!