When people see my tattoo, or when they find out that I did 18 ironmans, I always get the same reaction: “oh but you are an ironman!”. Does not matter what I am doing, the minute the word ironman comes up people automatically think that you are super strong or something like that. However, the reality is different.
Let me explain. When I decided to follow my dream and become a pro athlete, I was literally 260 pounds, smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, drinking a 6 pack every night, depressed, and working on a job that I hated (I was a manager at Wendy’s, by the way don’t ever eat there LOL). All I had was a dream, and I did not even knew where to start.
My first Ironman sucked. Everything went wrong, I threw up 12 times in almost 14 hours of racing but I crossed the finish line, and instead of putting the head down I used my “failure” to motivate me and embrace the challenge. I end up completing 18 ironmans including winning the hits triathlon 140.6 series in Naples right before Luke was born.
During my ironman training and racing years I learned how to face my demons (limitations). Facing my demons, was the only way I could overcome them and become the athlete I was wanted to be. The same can be applied to life.
Life, for me, is a sequence of ironmans (like a championship), each phase of your life is a different race that you are running with different challenges. We must embrace the challenge because they are part of who we are. I always say, “its not about waiting to the storm to pass, neither about learning how to dance in the rain. Life is about realizing that you are the storm.”
I never had a natural talent, neither was I an athlete as a kid. However, I embraced my challenges, dedicated myself and became an ironman. So embrace your challenges/crisis, be grateful because they are here to make an Ironman.
Richard Wygand – A Dad on a mission!