Many people who are on the outside and looking in at the ironman are asking people who are training for the race, why the Ironman? They don’t fully understand the force behind the Ironman that compels some people to strive for the finish line.

I’ve lost track of how many times over the years I’ve been asked why I committed so much of my time to preparing for yet another Ironman.

For a long time I found it difficult to come up with a reasonable response, because often I wasn’t sure myself. I think what makes it difficult, is goals change as the years pass and so would the answer to the question.

At first like so many others I was “Ironstruck”.

When I first saw this event I was drawn toward it and made the decision that I just had to cross that finish line.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t swim a stroke and had never been on a racing bike I was compelled by some unseen force to do this race and I never remember asking my self why the ironman? I just knew I had to do it.

why the Ironman

The path to the Ironman finish line

Once I consciously made the decision, there was no turning back and my life took on a new direction. It was easily the most important and life-changing decision I have ever made. It touched every single aspect of my life.

At 60 years old I don’t know if I will be racing in another Ironman race. Since it’s creation, Ironstruck has taken on a life of it’s own and demands quite a lot of time. This is especially true since publishing three books on the subject.

However, I think I have learned from the Ironman that fitness is something we can always maintain if we just put a little effort into it.

I think it is essential to maintain one’s physical strength and conditioning at a top level regardless if one competes or not. I never ask anyone triathletes I meet why the ironman has captivated them. I already know.

I strongly believe that how successful or rich a person is doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference when a twist of fate strips it all away and makes people from all walks of life materially equal and dependent on their own physical strength, courage, and adaptability in order to survive.

The world is changing and events like 9-11 and hurricane Katrina are examples of catastrophic events that knew no boundaries and in an instant left individuals with nothing but the ability they possessed within themselves to at least provide a fighting chance to survive.

Of course it doesn’t mean everyone has to begin training for the Ironman Triathlon–one of the most challenging events in the world.

However, to meet the unexpected circumstance of an ever-changing world, it behooves all of us to take care of our physical well-being to the best of our ability. At any age and yes, even as we settle into the retirement years.

Perhaps the best way to explain what I mean is an example I used in a previous article.

Twenty years ago, had I found myself in the middle of a lake, 5 miles from shore with no life jacket–I would have drowned in about minute. Now it would be an opportunity for a long training swim.

The Ironman has given me that ability and that confidence. I owe this amazing event so much I have no confusion in my mind why the ironman has changed my life in so many ways.

You might also enjoy this article on THE IRONMAN FINISH LINE.

Looking for an Ironman race near you? Visit Ironman.com for information on upcoming Ironman races.

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