Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Promises to keep.

Doyle & Mary
Steve & Sarah
Debbie & Marlyn
Matt & Amber, Shadai, & Shia
Pat & Mike
Michael, Alicia & Connor
Dave & Linda
Chad, Krista & Addison
Sara & Ben, Megan, & Emmy
Laura & Sam

You come here in honor of, in support of, in memory of your son. Your husband. Your uncle, your grandfather, your family. Your brother. Your Dad. You are here in memory of a friend, in honor of a child, in support of a team.

You give in honor of family members who have battles to win.

You support The Lionhearted among us.

You stand up, and you brush off, and you wipe your forehead and swallow hard and look back up the road in support of sure and certain hope.

Whatever your reason for donating - because I asked, because you could, because you wanted to, because you somehow felt you had to; I am grateful. Whoever you are - a friend, a family member, a stranger, somebody who knew my Dad, somebody how knows my Dad through me, even someone indifferent about my experience but who gave because of your own - I thank you. Together we have raised nearly $4500 for the American Heart Association. We more than quadrupled the original goal. You did this. You chose to. I thank you.

There are a lot of things in life bigger than the Ironman. There are a lot of things in the Ironman that are bigger than the Ironman. This is one of them. This is bigger than any miles I spent on snowy roads or stormy highways or sunshiney paths or lap after lap after lap in the pool. Those things, like a lot of things in Ironman, are really just a means to this end; the privilege to carry with me, in the culmination of all that effort, your heart. The things inside you that compelled you to give a donation to this cause. That's what I'm making my day about. I will race because of, and on behalf of you, and your uncle and your Dad and Grandpa and son. Your brother. Your grandmother, your friend's sweet baby daughter. Your friend, your family members, your memories, your sadness and certainly your hope. Because this - however small or large it is in the grand scheme - this union, this commonality of fighters who are represented in the smiles of State Street in the evening, of the cheering crowds of Verona after 50 miles, in the waterside Monona Terrace, packed with so many versions of you for so many versions of me out there in the water - this is ultimately a day a of celebration and reward and joy, of hard work and achievement, of potential and possibility. And that stands in absolute opposition to falling on one's knees screaming into the December winter wind in utter abandonment.

Where heart disease has devastated, let us in this gesture choose something powerful and good against it - each other. That is what this means to me, and what I hope to represent.

It is a tall order. I have no illusions that I am particularly cut out for it. But I promise to try. To do my very, very best for you. To keep these things that are important to you, important to me. Because - the best part - is I don't go it alone. We're in this together.

I've been thinking - and maybe it's audacious to even think it, much less say it aloud, but maybe however this $4420.35 gets used in researching, in treating, in educating and informing - maybe in some small way, through some butterfly effect, maybe something we've done here will mean that somebody's Dad, or grandma, or friend or child won't die. And wouldn't that be something.

With all my heart,


This is the necklace I'll be wearing at Ironman; each donor is represented with a single red garnet. I found this interesting information about the garnet: According to legend, Noah used a finely cut, glowing garnet to illuminate the ark during those dark wet days and nights. Hebrew writers include the garnet as one of the twelve gems in Aaron’s breastplate. Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. The Koran holds that the garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven of the Moslems. The Greeks said it guarded children from drowning. Moreover, Garnet is symbolic of a quick return and separated love, since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return. Therefore, Garnet may be given to a beloved before embarking on a trip. It has been said that a garnet engraved with the figure of a lion is an all around effective charm that will protect and preserve health, bring him honors, and guard him from all the possible perils in traveling.


Alili said...

Pregnant lady is still crying. Thank you - I am honored to know you.

Trisaratops said...

Okay. Crying now.

Proud to say I swam those waves, rode those hills, and ran those roads with you, Iron Bro. With you every step of the way on Sunday.