This has been no ordinary year. Not as much for the 12 races run and personal records set in my most active racing season, yet. Yes, it included running the Boston Marathon, riding all of the MS 150 in a single day, and racing the Wildflower Half Ironman triathlon within 18 days. Yes, I set a personal record in the 5k, Olympic, and half-Ironman distances. Yes, I exceeded my fundraising goal to fight blood cancers. And, yes I carried the names of 540 cancer fighters, survivors, and souls with me for the 140.6 miles of Ironman Wisconsin. Those things on their own, let alone their entirety, would, for me, be monumental and well enough to make the year extraordinary. But those things, weighed on the scales of endeavor, can not match what I have gained in friends, supporters, and most importantly, an amazing love.
Take away the races, the personal records, the thousands of miles on the bike, hundreds of miles run and fewer swam. Toss the dozen finisher medals in a heap with the tshirts. Remove all of these things from the year past but allow me to keep just two parts and I had an extraordinary year. Leave me the friendships, new and old, and the love revealed, then I can truly say my gains far exceed the mileage passed under my feet. To all of you shown in the video below, and to those not, I am greatly thankful.
It is no exaggeration to say that without this love and these friends I would not have toed the starting lines let alone have completed the races. Because, on my own, with my limitations and modest abilities, long void of validation, I dare not include myself in the same company of these amazing athletes. Pushing my warts aside, they took a leap of faith and included me their alliance, invited me into their homes, campsites, and arms. They swam, rode, and ran beside me (although usually in front of me) and pushed and pulled me beyond my expectations. But, most importantly, they shown on me their good light.
Because of all of this; because off all of them, I am a richer man. They continue to remind me: there are few things more worthwhile than a noble pursuit with friends at your side.
Here's wishing you a Happy New Year filled with friends, good health, prosperity and noble pursuits. I look forward to meeting you at the finish line.
The song, "Finish Line," is by Steve Parsons. Check him out at SteveParsons.net