Breaking Human Limitations – Lessons from the Iron Man Triathalon – Kona 2012

Chad and Darin at the finish line

When I first heard about the wildly popular Iron Man World Championship Triathalon in Kona Hawaii,  a 2.4 mile swim in the high seas of the Pacific followed by a 112 mile bike ride down a lonely, hot dry freeway followed by a marathon down the lava baked Kona Coast of 26.2 miles, I thought “what for?”  So you can slowly kill yourself?  Are all these people crazy? But after experiencing it close up with my brother competing I realized there was a lot more going on and good reason why it was so incredibly popular.

People come from all over the world to compete, in fact over 60 countries were represented as well as people from all 50 US states.   This was an unparalleled global event  similar to the Olympics, but on a whole new level.  More than just another competition, the Athletes had come  to challenge and overcome their own limitations, to see what they were really made of and the crowd, their friends and families had come to support them on this quest.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this world, it’s that true happiness comes not from settling for less, but from expanding your capacity to see what you can really do, give and create in this lifetime, which is what makes Iron Man Triathalon such an invaluable experience.  2,000 people all pressing the limits of human boundaries created an infectious virus of inspiration that ran through every fan and competitor the entire week i was there.

Twin Power - Chad & Darin

The start of the race was absolutely awesome.  We awoke in pitch black at 5am and chanted the timeless mantra of the universe “Nam myoho renge kyo”  for 1 hour in order to connect to infinite wisdom and strength for my brothers race ahead.  When we arrived there were 20,000 people gathered in Kailua on the waterfront with an announcer speaking to the 2,000 swimmers treading water getting ready to challenge every fiber of their being.  Then began the tribal war drums that made your blood boil, and the hair stand on your back (not that I have hair, but it felt like it).  Next I heard the sound of a conch shell being blown, as if 10,000 warriors were being summoned to charge ahead and fight for their lives.  I told my Dad, “Ok I’m pumped, I’m ready to go jump in the water and compete!”  It was the magical effect of music that pumped my blood into a fierce competitive warrior, which once upon a time had moved me to great heights on the football field and perhaps even previous lifetimes where I may have charged with a spear or rifle at an opposing enemy with drums beating in the background.

Some Lady from Iron Man Finish Line Kona Hawaii

Once the race was underway, we timed out various points where we could give my brother in person support with a high five or jog along side.  My brother actually wasn’t competing this time around to place, he was just happy to be in the Iron Man World Championships and having fun.  He finished in about 13 hours and seemed pretty cheerful afterwards.  At the finish line there was about a block sectioned off where people lined the billboards and high fived every single runner who finished as the announcer would repeat their name and a tid bit about there job or goals.  It was truly awe inspiring and a triumph of the human spirit I’ll never forget.

So if you’re feeling not so fabulous about yourself or your life, think about the Iron Man and create a challenge for yourself that seems impossible and do it!  Even if its a small challenge, finishing will boost your confidence and courage creating waves of joy and happiness you can share with the world.