40 days until I’m at the start line of the Kona IRONMAN World Championships.
10 days until the 7-year anniversary of my spinal cord injury.
I haven’t written much at all this year. I’ve been caught up in the doing and struggle to keep doing. I’ve found myself to be my own cliche of someone training for IRONMAN who can’t do anything without thinking / talking about / bringing up IRONMAN.
I found it very true that for the average person it takes A LOT of focus to train for something like this.
I set this goal in 2017.
I qualified for Kona in 2019.
I strategically decided to go to the half IRONMAN World Championships that year because we didn’t believe I was ready.
In 2020, all races were canceled.
Here we are in 2022 and in the final stretch.
It’s been an exceptionally long road. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had to deal with exhausted feelings of giving up since last year when Kona was postponed and then my ‘substitute’ race that same month – IRONMAN California in Sacramento – was canceled the morning of the race due to a ‘Bomb Cyclone’ storm throwing down cold and rain. Oh and then I got a shoulder injury the following winter.
I constantly have to take it back to my ‘why’.
Why did I want to do this?
1 – I want to be a man who does what he says he is going to do. Especially when the doing is hard.
2 – When my accident happened, I knew there were two buckets I could fall in. One is the victim bucket of despair where no one will argue. Living from a wheelchair is hard. The second bucket is one of perseverance. Where people choose to make the best of what they’re given, no matter the circumstances.
That second bucket contains a secret in plain sight about joie de vivre (enjoyment of life).
That secret is this: sussing out the joie de vivre in every circumstance has a momentum, a reciprocity to it. The more you seek, the more you find. And the easier it is to find more.
AND, you do in fact, attract other people who seek the same.
So (insert grin) this is going somewhere, follow with me:
In 2019, I went to the half IRONMAN World Championships in Nice, France and didn’t finish the race. I still haven’t told the complete story, but in short, I missed the bike cut-off because of a technicality.
I was incredibly pissed, disappointed, and angry.
When I got back to town and Erika handed me my phone, the first message I saw was from a college friend, Arik Housley. He basically said something to the effect of, ‘you inspire us in turning your circumstances into something positive.’
Hearing that from him completely changed my perspective in that instant.
You see Arik and his wife, Hannah, lost their daughter in a mass shooting during her first semester away at the same college where Arik, Hannah and I had graduated decades earlier. A man walked into a popular country line dancing venue and opened fire.
From that immense loss, Arik and Hannah have created a foundation that supports mental health. They ask an incredibly powerful question: what if we were just more kind to one another? Could that change a stranger’s path?
My feelings of anger changed in that instant to gratitude. From, ‘I DIDN’T GET TO finish the race’ to ‘I GET TO race this triathlon; in the French Riviera; supported by my partner, Erika, and whole host of friends and family.’
This is what I mean by the perseverance bucket’s reciprocity. At a moment when I was low, others in this bucket lifted me right up.
This is where wine comes in.
You read that right.
So Arik and Hannah’s family are in the wine business in the Napa Valley. They are supporting #teambalucas with a special edition label of Housley’s Century Oak Wine. (2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, for those who are wondering)
To assist in raising the last minute funds to race the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona and beyond, we are offering the special edition bottle shipped to your door for a minimum $200 contribution.
If you are in Southern California and we’ll most likely see each other soon, you can subtract $20 in shipping costs or leave it in for on-going training and coaching expenses.
The label is being designed and finalized by yours truly. With 41 days left, we need to start the campaign before it’s finished!
If you don’t want wine or want to contribute less or more – that’s perfectly fine too. Just send me a message/email/text if you don’t want the wine.
Thanks once again. I couldn’t do it without you!
Last logistic note: after the production run, we may still wait until favorable wine shipping weather (read: not so hot). But expect it before Halloween.