Do It Like It Means Something...LIVE Like It Means Something...Because It Does!
My Road To Ironman Florida 2011
So many great things happened in 2011... my story was published in the USA Triathlon media; at every event I met new friends, people who have their own story, their own causes; I finished my first Ironman; I got involved with two great groups - the American Heart Association's Advisory Board and IronHeart Racing; my greatest supporter and world's greatest SAG driver, my daughter got engaged! It was a great trip to the Ironman Florida finish line.
I was invited in 2011 to submit my story to the USA Triathlon magazine, and I was fortunate enough to have my story presented in their email newsletter and on the national website. I was very happy that more people saw that heart disease is a very important issue, and that we survivors are capable of competing (or at the least, participating!) in major athletic events. Click on the USA Tri logo to read the story.
A bike accident prevented a finish in the 2011 Texas 70.3, but I did manage to cut the swim by 5 minutes, and the bike portion I DID manage to do was faster than 2010 as well. There are a number of standalone century and metric-century bike rides, 5K and 10K runs, shorter triathlons and a half-marathon buried in the roadmap as well.
The day after I crashed at Galveston, I signed up for the 70.3 in Lawrence, Kansas. I wanted a Half-distance completed before going into Florida. On June 12th, 2011, I completed the Ironman Kansas 70.3! With all the wind (and the hills on the bike) I felt like this was a more challenging course than my previous Half-Iron distance races, but it was a successful finish... AND triathlete champion Chrissie Wellington was at the finish line to put the medal around my neck! (God Bless her for waiting so long for me to get there!)
September 25th brought me to the Redman Triathlon's Full AquaBike. This is a great event ahead of Ironman Florida because it provides an opportunity to get the timing figured out doing the full-distance swim, transition and full-distance bike leg, ahead of doing the full Ironman. The one thing I did not like about this race was that the back side of the bike portion is riddled with ugly potholes and cracks. You focus on just trying to stay upright rather than trying to actually "race".
The big day arrived - November 5th, 2011, about 7:00am - and I found myself standing on the beach awaiting the start. 14 hours, 53 minutes and 22 seconds later, I crossed the finish line of what was for me the biggest athletic challenge I have ever experienced. I was extremely elated that the day had played out closely to what I had planned for, what I had hoped for. The waters were calm, the winds not too harsh, and the run in a way very fulfilling. Actually, it was MUCH better than I had anticipated... I finished about one and a half hours faster than I expected! And then to hear the words I had waited for all year - "Patrick Hight, YOU are an Ironman!" Wow!
The Journey... Future
2012 was so much fun as well... More...