Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You Can't Test Courage Cautiously

As we were leaving Sunday's ADPi-athlon in Murfreesboro, TN, a sprint triathlon which my wife and daughter raced, we saw two triathletes walking their way to the finish line. As it turns out, they had been out there for over two hours (well over an hour after the first person finished) and yet they were still plugging along. Other than the gentleman manning the finish line, there was no one else awaiting their arrival. Everyone had found their way to the "awards" ceremony; we had just left there ourselves, and those not waiting for the awards, had long left the site.

The jeers and cheers for everyone else that had finished long before, were since silenced. So I've been thinking...

All day long on Sunday and Monday, which prompted this post, I read congratulatory comments in various Social Media outlets and the grand majority of them directed towards those few that found their way to the podium. Not all of them, mind you, but the grand majority of them.

These folks deserve a huge high five. They work hard, long, tough hours to get were they are. Their efforts are not to be taken for granted or lightly. They earn each and every second they shave off their times. So, I join the choir in singing my praises to them. You guys and gals rock. One day when I grow up...

However, the two folks I mentioned earlier have been on my mind all day long. And each and everyone else in between them and those that placed.

These are the folks with the stories we don't know. What have they gone through? What demons have they fought to get here today? During the race, how many times did they think they couldn't finish this, yet did?

The sleepless nights leading to the race, the many questions that were still unanswered before the swim got started. The many more, that came up during the swim, bike or the run... and yet, no one was there waiting for them. No one! Was their effort any less valuable than those that came in first, second, tenth or one hundredth? These are the folks that threw caution to the wind and tested their courage. These are the folks that finished to the sound of silence.

There were 212 finishers yesterday. Each and everyone of them deserving equal recognition and honorable mention.  So here's to you...

Tony, Jason, Brad, Tommy, Tim, Jon, Mike, Ben, Mark and Curtis. Todd, Jason, Scott, Emily, Chris, Erik, Jason, Louie, Nicholas and Seth. Russ, Tony, Mark, Connor, Brian, Mike, James, Kellie, Miles and Racheal. Glen, Isaac, Gracie, Eric, John, Brian, James, Lauren, Jason and Joana. Pat, Todd, Jim, Chip, Mark, Steve, Cole, Cindy, Josh and Martinem. Jodie, Peter, Cloyd, Tilton, Molly, Justin, Lindsay, Amanda, Jackson and Evan. Barry, Scott, Mathew, Kyle, Scott, Craig, Garrison, Sandy, Brian and Cheyenne. Sean, Bryan, Gabe, Chad, Jerome, Laura, Abel, Erin, Kelly and Rebekah. Scott, Judy, Juliana, Randall, Ron, Mary, Joel, Daniel, Norman and Cody. John, Michael, Chase, John, Emily, Joe, Hunter, Michelle Nettie and Jordan. Michelle, Kevin, Cory, Brandon, Tom, Sarah, Kayla, Roy, Austin and Janet. Scott, Richard, Hulette, Britni, Jordan, John, Kirk, Bob, Amber and Karen. Renee, Jamie, Hank, David, Brett, Spencer, Cindy, Adam, Mike and Christy. Matthew, Matt, Travis, Murphy, Leiott, Duane, Newton, Katie, Vergie and Rick. Jonathan, Paul, Cannon, Charlie, David, Jennifer, Jimmy, Patrick, Suzanne and James.
Carl, Wayne, Karakot, Sheryl, Marlee, Shaun, Nicole, Lena, Alicia and Matt. Jennifer, Chuck, Adam, Nathan, Dara, Keaton, Kristin, Jenny, Alicia and Cody. Meg, Todd, Justin, Chris, Amanda, Angela, Victoria, Ashley, Teresa and Eliza. Laura, John, Kate, Julia, Melanie, Paul, David, Keith, Mark and Kamela, Tim, Jennifer, Monica, Andrea, Jill, Tracy, Carey, Amy and Rob. Jodi, Pam, Holly, Megan, Dena, Daniel, Chelsea, Emily, Rachel, Kristina, Laura and Paul.

Most of these 212 stories we'll never know, read or continue to follow. Some, the top few, we'll hear from over and over again. We'll run into them at this race or that one, somewhere along the way. We'll train together, race together and most likely not finish together, however hard we try. The rest of these folks probably went home and began bragging about their day to anyone that would listen, for in their mind they just accomplished something they never thought they could. Most of them are probably already making plans, searching the web, for their next race. Most of these folks, I hope I run into at a future event.

To all of you that push yourself beyond your limits, to those that test the waters... I salute you! Some of you I may know, most of you I don't, but nonetheless, I am proud, very proud of you!