This past weekend, in my new home state, Hawaii, the Ironman World Championship was held, a mere 2.4 miles of swimming through unpredictable currents, 112 miles of biking and, to make things fun at the end, a full marathon (26.2) miles.
This makes my 15-mile training run on Saturday seem like a stroll the park or at least a gentle run up and down a few hills.
Among the 2,300 professional and age group athletes who participated in the Ironman were Hiromu Inada of Japan who at 83 is more than six decades older than the youngest competitor, Hiraya Shun, 19, also of Japan.
Every bit the Ironman, Hiromu trains forty hours a week. He has an extended family. I write this because as I gear up for my 18th marathon, I know all too well this hobby (and a fundraiser for my school), is time away from my husband and daughter.
At the 2013 Ironman, Hiromu missed the official 17-hour finishing deadline by five minutes. This year, however, he completed all the miles with 11 minutes to spare before the clock struck midnight.
I had never heard of Hiromu until this weekend. I was winding down from my 15-miler while my husband and daughter were on their way home from lunch at Ellen’s favorite restaurant. I looked for a good online article in German, and this caught my attention: Ironman auf Hawaii: Die größte Leistung vollbrachte ein 83-Jähriger (Ironman in Hawaii: The Greatest Feat was Accomplished by an 83-Year-Old).
Any exhaustion I felt from my run disappeared as I was reading the article. Marathoners struggle with conditions, injuries, cramps, expectations, even keeping a clear mind for 26 miles, but I for one am no Ironman! I was curious to read what inspires Hiromu. The answer came at the end of the article, a direct quote from him: Nichts ist vergleichbar mit dem Gefühl, deinen Traum zu erreichen, nachdem du sehr für ihn gelitten hast (Nothing compares with the feeling of reaching your dream, especially after hurting for it.)