The next ten days of my Ironman training are dedicated to my Dad.
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The funny thing about my Dad… [well, wait, there are many funny things about Dad]… but the main funny thing is that he’s a tornado.
A tornado? Yes. He can blow through a project and before you know what happened—it’s complete—he does everything fast and furiously, and with more accuracy than you can shake a stick at.
For example, when I was young, I would randomly say something like, “Someday, I would really like to get a shelf with pegs to hang my weightlifting medals on.”
I would go in my room, pick up up a book and read for thirty minutes, and suddenly—there was Dad—standing in my doorway, holding a shelf with pegs. A shelf that he had just built. In thirty minutes.
Or, I would say, “I think I want to try out for the basketball team.”
Zooooooom! There went the tornado. One trip to Wal-mart and a bucket of concrete later…I was watching a new VHS on how to play basketball and peering out the kitchen window at the basketball goal…the concrete couldn’t set fast enough.
“I think I want to try out for volleyball…”
“…learn to dive off a diving board…”
“…catch a fish…”
“…play the trumpet… the saxophone… the guitar…”
“…become a photographer…”
Zoom! There he went, and I became a girl who could wear a whole bunch of different hats (er, visors…)
Sound completely spoiled? Well, I wasn’t. [Okay, that’s a lie. I was completely spoiled stinking rotten, as we say in the South.]
And I was a Daddy’s girl to the max. Duh.
But here’s the thing about my Dad. He spoiled me less with things… and more with things that mattered. He spoiled me with life lessons and opportunities. If I wanted to take on a new experience — he was right there. “Where do we sign up? What do you need?” The tornado would zoom through the area… and I was learning how to serve a volleyball before dinnertime.
Dad gave me the opportunity in life to become who I wanted to be.
The gift of opportunity is priceless.
And I thoroughly believe that Dad’s reaction to my interests is what shaped me into the completely delusional adult that I am today. Heh heh. I mean, I woke up one day in 2010 and decided: I think I will try triathlon… and look what has happened? If I had been living at home and said, “I think I will try triathlon,” Dad would have said, “Well, we’re gonna need to get a bike…and you’ll need shoes…and…and…”
Now, instead of Dad getting this stuff for me… I just go after it myself.
Much in the same way he went after his dreams.
He gave me the foundation for dreaming big and going after what I want. If he had ever said, “I don’t think you can do that,” then I have no idea what would have happened to me, to my dreams…
Even as an adult, I have him right here, cheering me on….encouraging all my crazy, big ideas.
And he’ll be at Coeur d’Alene too. And I can’t wait to cross the finish line and give my Tornado Dad a disgustingly sweaty hug…because Ironman and triathlon is not just about the individual… it takes a village to make these kinds of dreams come true. And I am so thankful I have Dad on my team.
I am one lucky girl.
Over the next ten days, I will carry you in my heart during:
8 miles (13,200 meters) of swimming
210 miles of biking
36 miles of running.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to believe that I can do this race.
I love you.