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Why I Did A Solo Ironman distance Triathlon June 21st, 2020

I finished a solo IronMan Distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) on June 21st. It took me a moment to decide to do it, 3.5 months to train for it and 13:26 hours to finish it.


When Corona started shutdowns and restrictions I had just signed up for an official Ironman competition in Austria July 5th, 2020. I was therefore faced with a simple choice, let Corona dictate my life, or take control of my actions despite Corona.


Truthfully, it was not such a daring or glorious decision. For me, it was part of listening to my inner self, not letting the fear of goal setting set me back and believing that anything and potentially everything is possible if we stop telling ourselves no.


I won’t say I wasn’t afraid to set the goal of a solo Ironman. I had only finished my first Ironman distance January 3st 2020 and realized the complexity – logistical and other – of such an endeavor. But realizing that fear was part of what pushed me to be determined to set the goal, be comfortable with it and now finish it. On to the next.


I have one message I tell myself in every daily training session. Something that I have learned from my triathlon training and now drives me in every aspect of my life. Make impossible possible.  


When I started training 18 months ago I set a goal of running 5km in under 30 minutes. Born with a club foot, surgery at 6 months the doctors said without the surgery I would never walk, with the surgery I would still never run. Good thing my parents never told me that until later in life. From 5km I upgraded to a sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run) which seemed to me a true test of endurance at that time. Once I achieved that, I didn’t stop myself, and kept on going.


I had one friend who was an Ironman Finisher at that time (X3 finisher actually) and I truly did believe the distances were impossible.


I find we have a tendency to listen to the people who tell us no, we cannot. Or worse, we consistently tell ourselves no we cannot. The only change in myself between when I started my training and now is, I stopped telling myself no. Essentially, I did a solo Ironman to challenge myself to know that everything is possible, so long as we plan, train, implement and believe in ourselves. Persistence is the key.


I define Endurance as simply not stopping. Ironman is an endurance sport, life is much more so…


Like I tell my children: don’t say I can’t do it, say I don’t know how yet. The first weakens you. The latter, mixed with a dash of curiosity, empowers you every moment of every day. When saying you can’t do something you place a big red line in front of yourself that is very hard to overcome. When saying, I don’t know how yet, you take a big red line and turn it into a bunch of small light green lines which can be fun goals to overcome. Once you have those goals, you can make a choice to proceed or not. But even choosing not to do something is a choice you made, empowerment at its best.


The truth is I intended for this race to be a solo event and private affair. Myself, my wife, my kids and one friend to help with an aide station to help serve drink and energy bars at the end. I had made a logo for my personal race stating: Corona stops competitions, not an Ironman. That’s how I felt. My wife, in her true support, sent it around and the event got published and the idea went public.


But to my surprise, something magical happened. People started telling me my decision inspired them to achieve more, do more, not stop themselves. Every time someone told me I inspired them, they inspired me in return. A reciprocal self-reinforcing cycle.


So we decided, together with my wife, to continue that inspirational process.


To that affect after the TLV MAN 2020, the solo Ironman event in Tel Aviv, I created I am not sure what that means now, perhaps starting with a version of running 5km in under 30 minutes and seeing what will happen. Maybe we will find out what the Ironman version of inspiration means.


For starters, we hope to continue to inspire others; with a bit of luck, have others continue that cycle of inspiration.


For now, after finishing the solo Ironman I will take some time to be with my family, rest a bit and then start listening to myself for that next big goal. The one that is a bit scary at first, but with some time and planning becomes the next natural step.


With any luck, by the time my children can read this, this process will be their natural way of thinking as well…

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