I came to the start line of the Ironman 70.3 Los Cabos broken. We come to every start line—new race, new year, new love, new job—at least a little bit broken, with some cocktail of ambition, humility, and fear.
I was five months out from a serious bike crash and shoulder injury just a week before I would have raced Ironman France. Shoulder scar tissue still slightly inflamed, and thanks to life's swerves, undertrained and drained from an intense month of personal transitions. This race was not about a personal record or a world championship slot; it was about getting fully into the body and feeling everything from this past season.
Celebrating imperfect ability, imperfect recovery. Testing the spiritual strength brokenness offers. Putting myself through a bonfire and seeing what survives.
The start of an Ironman is an electric moment. Usually dusk, soft light spreading through the sky. The announcer revving up the crowd of support crew. But the athletes lined up are quiet, connecting to one another with a glance, maybe half a tentative smile, a shake of the head. Mostly looking at the water we're about to break into.
Breathing deep and slow. Mining energy from muscle and spirit. Staring down a day of work that seemed like a good idea 3, 6, 12 months ago. Coming to terms with the edges we're about to face.
Ironman is a BS-free zone. Like an epic yoga class, temple, AA meeting—a pop-up community of humans fighting from a starting point of surrender. Admitting this goal is bigger than ourselves, that we're here to grow into it. You will know yourself well at the end of the day. If you open up to competitors, you'll bond in unimaginable ways in less than 24 hours.
Fronts, masks, pretense can't stand up to this task. We're all here to flirt hard with limitation. To find out what's in the tank. How deep it goes. To recruit parts of ourselves we don't usually tap for fuel. To taste breath and water like the best meal of our lives.