I’m a firm believer that any experience in life, whether good or bad, is something we can learn from. When Dad and I did the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii last year we learned so much. Last week, I posted several “take-aways” from the race and applied them to life. This week and next will be a continuation of that.
If you missed Part 1 you can read it here: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn – Part 1.
5. The right equipment is essential for the Ironman World Championships. I remember when Dad pulled out his beginner triathlon bike and had our Honorary Coach, Fred Bunn, take a look at it to help us decide what it needed to be race-ready. Mr. Bunn jokingly said, “Well, for starters, you might wanna take those cute little reflectors off the wheels so you can look like a real cyclist!” Thanks to a whole team of wonderful bike sponsors, like Zipp, Giant, Shimano, and ISM, Dad was better-equipped with a bike built for Kona and pulling me. Just like the right equipment keeps you cruising through the course, so does the right attitude in life. You can face anything with the right mental “gear”. That huge mountain you’re climbing is conquerable with the right frame of mind.
Lesson Learned: Being equipped with the right mindset can help you cruise through life easier.
6. When you are coming in from the swim, don’t stand up too fast. Swim until you feel the sand touch your fingers. Keep swimming because it is faster to swim than it is to walk through hip-deep water. Isn’t life like that? Sometimes you take the harder route because its familiar even though there may be an easier, better way?
Lesson learned: Keep your mind open to change because it could provide you with great opportunities.
7. The Hawaiian sun can be daunting and being out under it for most of the day during the race can be excruciating on your skin. Fortunately, we had sunscreen to protect us. As long as we kept reapplying it, we knew we were safe. Friends are like sunscreen. Cover yourself with them. Lesson Learned: You need friends who will be there to protect you from the potential burns of life.
8. In an Ironman race, you can be out on the course for as long as 17 hours. Because of this, Ironman allows you to have a couple of “special needs” bags. They are bags that you can put anything in that you think you may need halfway through each leg of the race. Some people pack them with snacks, first aid kits, dry clothing, or pictures of family to inspire them. We all need “special needs” bags in life. Something that can help us get through rough spots in our lives. For me, it is my faith and my family and friends. To know that they will be there for me is a great feeling.
Lesson Learned: Make sure you have a “special-needs bag” ready if you experience hard times in your life.
9. During an Ironman, you can be sitting on your bike for upwards of 9 hours. People were not built to ride on a little seat for that long…especially men. It is imperative that the hair in that “down south” region gets shaved off or you will be in a lot of pain later. Now, I know what you are thinking, “Johnny, how could this possibly apply to a life lesson?” My answer is-we all have things that bother us. Maybe it’s a nasty habit we can’t seem to shake, a pessimistic attitude about your career path or a promise you never kept to someone you love. Anything that is constantly nagging at your subconscious to change, you should. Don’t let these things get in the way of you being happy and truly enjoying life. Lesson Learned: Get rid of the things that annoy you in life so you can enjoy the ride.
9. The mantra you hear all the time from the athletes at an Ironman is to “keep moving, don’t ever stop.” They say, even though you may want to stop, you can slow down, but just keep moving your body forward! We had the amazing opportunity to watch athletes at the Ironman World Championships crossing the finish line in the final hour of the race. Some were wobbly-legged, some were leaning to the side, some were holding their stomachs, but there was something amazing that almost all of them did…they would keep going even after they crossed the finish line. Sometimes so much so that the Ironman volunteers had to get in front of them and literally stop them from continuing! This is what we all have to do in our lives.
Lesson Learned: Keep moving forward and don’t ever quit!
Like the quote at the beginning of this post says, there is no failure in what you experience as long as your goal is to learn from it. Thomas Edison is famous for saying that he didn’t fail 10,000 times before creating the lightbulb, he learned 10,000 ways how NOT to do it!
Never give up!
Taking On Life One Step at a Time,