By Lyle Anderson
The race started out great. But about 15 minutes into the swim portion of the race a freak windstorm blew in. Winds were in excess of 50 mph. For those of you that don’t know an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed up by a full marathon. As the winds picked up, so did the waves! I felt like I was swimming in the ocean. We had 4- 5 foot waves. All of the swim support that was in kayaks and paddle boards were having to get rescued, as they were being tossed out of their boats. Swimmers were quitting by the hundreds!! I knew this could possibly be the only chance I ever get to do a full Ironman. So I made a decision to stick it out and finish the swim.
When I got out of the water I was expecting them to tell me good job, but we are cancelling the event. However that is not what they said and I was amazed that I had to get on my bike now and ride in these winds (which were now in excess of 60 mph). As I started riding my bike, I couldn’t help but wish I were back in the water. That swim seemed easy now compared to this bike ride. I had to dig really deep to fight off the battle within my mind to quit. For 112 miles I kept saying to myself I will just keep riding until someone asks me if I want to quit. Since that never happened I just kept of going. I finished the bike portion with only 10 minutes to spare to the cut off.
Now all I had left to do was run 26.2 miles. Believe it or not this was the easy part. I felt surprisingly good and knew at this point that I would finish. It was so refreshing to be off the bike. I wasn’t moving very fast but at this point I didn’t need to. We are allowed 17 hours to complete the full event. I finished in 16 hours and 5 minutes. As I ran across the finish line I heard the announcer say “Lyle Anderson from Hurricane, Utah YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” That phrase still to this day rings in my head like it was yesterday.
Because of this I was thrilled to make it to the final round of the Kona Inspired contest, which provides seven slots to individuals with inspiring stories of overcoming personal adversity for the IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. For those of you who don’t know – the Kona Iron Man Triathlon is like the Super Bowl of Triathlons. This is an event that the best of the best go to. Qualifying for Kona is not a realistic goal for me to try and achieve at this point in my life. But through, the Kona Inspired program, which was introduces in 2012, I have a chance to get there and you can help me. Now through July 8th, 2013 you can vote for my video at: http://konainspired.thismoment.com?x=us-en_kona_821_.
Running and participating in Triathlons has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities I never knew existed before. I realize now that anything is possible with a little work and mental preparation.