Dear Triathlon Gods

Dear Triathlon Gods,

Welp, the time has come.  Tomorrow is the day I’m going to shoot for my first Ironman here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  You’ll note, as I’m sure you’re of the omnipotent variety, that I’ve been thinking a lot about this race for months now.  The thought of it got me through some tough training days in Kabul, and the preparation for it had me hating the sight of 4 walls for hours and days on end.

You’ll also note that my mind has been preoccupied as of late over my preparation – namely, whether or not the indoor training would translate to outdoors, and how I might fare in what will certainly prove to be one hell of a swim with a crazy start, 35 mph winds, big swells, and a distance that I haven’t completed in full for some months now.  I’m sure you know of my concern for the bike distance and nutrition, and my lack of concern for the run…surely when I make it that far, I’m home free – run, walk or crawl.

Finally, you will have noted some passing concerns about knees, ankles and shoulders, including the implementation of compression bandages for knees on the bike and ankles on the run.  But make no mistake, that is NOT a weakness.

No…that is preparation.  As was staring at a wall for hours on end in preparation for this race.  As was last year’s training that ended just before IM Louisville.  As was the very conscious decision to take on the challenge of training for this race when I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  As has been the mental prep while staring at those walls, picturing the day, the night and the finish line where it would all be worth it.

So take heed, gods of triathlon, I am prepared for this race.  Rain, sleet, snow, wind, pain, whatever…I am prepared.  This is not a game – this is a mission.  No matter how the day ends, no matter what happens tomorrow, flounder or finish, you have a decision to make, and that’s just how hard you would like to make it on me – frankly, I don’t really care what you decide.

See, I’ve already made up my mind, and I’m going to do this.  Your reaction to that…well that’s your business. 

I’m going to do whatever it takes.  You’re going to have to knock me out in order to hold me back.  I didn’t do all of this to let you take it away easily.  So long as I’m conscious, so long as I have legs underneath me, I’m doing this.  This isn’t a warning, or even a threat – I just want to give you notice.

I would much rather live one life firmly planted on my feet, than live 1,000 lives relegated to my knees.  You may cut me off at my knees – it’s up to you – but I won’t take a knee to Ironman so long as I have the choice.

That’s it – that’s all I’ve got for you.  See you tomorrow bright and early.



To follow me tomorrow (starting 7 a.m. South Africa time), go to, click on Ironman South Africa, and enter my last name (Byrd) or race number (92).

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