Person of the Week
I have a higher purpose than the exercise of ego, biking, running, or swimming. I have a vital, unique, interconnected purpose to live a beautiful life with others. This is my real triathlon and what I was put here to do.
1. What led you to the mission of running triathlons?
Fellowship and fun. A close friend and I were work-out partners. He invited me to join him with a new adventure called “triathlon”. The sport and I proved to be a perfect match. I recently completed my 171st race twenty three years later!
2. What does this mission mean to you and to others?
Triathlon is one grand brother/sisterhood. Thousands of strangers are all united with a common goal: to finish the challenge. Here I find people who are upbeat, motivated, approachable, generous, encouraging, helpful, and kind.
3. What was your best day as a triathlete?
Taking second place at the 2011 World Championships in Beijing, China is certainly the best day ever.
4. What was your worst day as a triathlete and how did you survive?
I was racing in the World Championships, and my bike plowed into a car entering the race route. The next thing I remember was waking up on a body board and being rushed to a hospital in Hawaii.
The hospital was chaotic like the accident site. Given the medical demands related to the World Championships, the hospital was busy and triage dictated waiting for an available emergency room doctor. I had to be a patient, patient.
The hustle and bustle distracted me from my physical trauma and shock of leaving the race. As I pondered my plight, the whole mess started looking funny. My focus changed from self-pity, pain and disappointment to a higher outlook: How did I want people to see me on that gurney? Broken? Discouraged? Beaten? Ruined? What was the real race?
I believe in a Supreme Being and I started to pray. I knew I could not be separated from God. Even in the face of adversity, there was good, vibrancy, joy, and love. A battery of tests and exams were performed. The doctors could find no serious breakage, dislocation, or life threatening injuries. Far from home, friends, and family, I found this universal love and the brother/sisterhood of everyone around me.
After the accident, I had great difficultly moving and breathing and was even tempted to imagine that I might never race again. Even so, I continued a positive outlook knowing God would continue to lead me in the right direction. I had a purpose beyond the race – to express God’s glory, freedom, generosity, joy, and strength.
Within a few months my swimming came back. Then came biking and running. Within a year, I made the National Team again.
Most important, since this “bad” day I’ve realized that I have a higher purpose than the exercise of ego, biking, running, or swimming. I have a vital, unique, interconnected purpose to live a beautiful life with others. This is my real triathlon and what I was put here to do.
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