We have just returned from New Zealand after the Ironman event. This was the culmination of a few years dream that Hami had to complete this monster event. It took a lot of planning on our part – taking that first step to pay for his registration followed by searching for air tickets that were on sale and then accommodation that was both affordable and comfortable.It required buying equipment and clothing and then of course all the weeks and months of training that went into preparing for this event.When I look back and add up all the time and money required for this event it is astounding (and we did it on the budget triathlete scale – pros would spend thousands more!) – it required Hami to take a week of unpaid leave to follow his dream – something that impacts us all as a family. All this sounds admirable really, but in one moment every dream we pursue can to tossed on its head. For us this happened the weekend of the triathlon event. Hami was physically and mentally prepared for the day – excited and really nervous at the same time. The day before the event we received the news that the Ironman New Zealand event would be postponed till the Sunday and then cut in half to be a 70.3 Ironman. The reason? – extreme weather conditions blowing in over Lake Taupo on event day. Oh the disappointment I felt for my man – all his hard work over the last year crushed with one weather front blowing in. He was gutted – but he is an amazing man and overcame the disappointment like a champion. Aaron even drew a picture on our wet window to show what had happened – dad has a sad face and there are big clouds and rain.
We decided to take a drive to Huka Falls to get our minds off the disappointment. These falls always amaze me – the sheer volume of water and the force is incredible – the water can fill 10 Olympic sized pools in 1 minute – that’s a lot of water!!
The decision turned out to be a good one – foul weather with extreme winds and pelting rain. The lake looked like an angry sea – people were even surfing on the lake in the late afternoon as the storm tapered off – boats were tossed all over and some even beached. Sunday morning was beautiful but freezing – the temperature was 5 degrees and the thought of my poor man swimming in that weather made me cold.
The event began at 7:55 am and 1500 swimmers hit the water. There were quite big swells that Hami says made it difficult to swim and left him feeling quite seasick. The water was icy and we saw many people being pulled out of the water onto kayaks and boats as they had cramp. I always pray really hard when Hami does his swim as this is not his favourite part of a triathlon. He did us proud and completed his swim in 47 minutes. He looked a combination of icy blue and seasick green when he left the water but he gave us a cheerful smile as he passed us nonetheless. The children love cheering for him and Michaela particularly is his most vocal supporter. His bike leg went well for the first half but there was quite a headwind on the return leg which was tricky.
The run went okay – he has ITB problems and this gave him some serious pain at 7km into the run. A few pain relief pills was the solution to that and just a case of managing the pain. He came into the stadium and completed the event in 6:45:05 – bettering his previous time. We all were so proud of him. He feels proud of his achievement but it is bittersweet as although they still classified it as the Ironman event and he has the medal to show for it, it wasn’t the actual Ironman distance.
Even Aaron and Zoe had a run down the Ironman carpet.
We realized this week that sometimes achieving your dream doesn’t always look the way you imagine it to look and we have also settled in our hearts that it is okay if it looks different to how you imagined it. It is the dreaming that is important and the running the race that counts – the cost we incurred getting there is not important in retrospect – what we have gained and learned is far more valuable – he had the option to opt out when they shortened it, but he chose to run it anyway and to enjoy it regardless. The children enjoyed catching up with friends too – Michaela was spoiled by her two good friends and taken out a few times.Aaron caught up with his mate too and it was as though they were never apart. Zoe too had fun catching up with friends again.
We wish to apply this to every area in our lives – dream big, have fun living life, make a difference! Technically I am married to an Ironman, but to me he has always been a champion and my best friend – this event just reinforced what I always knew. We have no regrets.