110%

I don’t like it when people say they will give 110%. As any grade-schooler knows, 100% is everything … all of it … the whole shebang.
Logically, 110% isn’t possible. But I understand it emotionally.
Yesterday, my son Brian participated in the Subaru Ironman Canada triathlon in Penticton, BC. He had run half-triathlons before but never a full Ironman. He swam 2.4 miles in a field of 3,000 thrashing and kicking athletes, then biked 112 miles — much of it uphill on one of the hottest days of the year — then ran eleven miles until his legs locked up on him.
He walked the twelfth mile stiff-legged, unable to bend his knees or relieve his cramping. The aid worker who treated him suggested he stop. His body temperature was low. His blood pressure was low. His heart and soul told him to run the final 14 miles … but his body told him he just plain couldn’t. So he got on the bus and rode back to the finish line.
I knew something was wrong around 9 PM. I was tracking the progress of Brian and his friend Mark online. According to the RFID chip the athletes wore, Mark had completed the first half of the run course at around 8:40 PM. I kept pushing the “refresh” button, hoping I’d see a time for Brian.
Finally, around 10, Jon and I walked to the event center and met Brian, his girlfriend Dennise and Mark’s girlfriend Sara. Brian was in remarkably good spirits. He talked about the challenges of the race while we waited for Mark to come into view. He ran/walked by us around 11:30 and smiled as we cheered him on for the last mile. Around 20 minutes later we watched him cross the finish line and become an Ironman.
“I was hoping you’d finish,” Brian said to Mark later. “Because I know if you didn’t, you want to try it again next year. It was fun and all but there’s no way I’d do this again. Ever.” He said it in jest but I knew he meant it.
We’re all very proud of Brian for his 126.4-mile accomplishment. There’s an old saying that it isn’t the destination that’s important, it’s the journey. And that’s 100% true.

4 thoughts on “110%

  1. So I’m a little late to the party, but I was right there with you Pop hitting refresh every few minutes or so. I’m the proudest sister in the world!!!!

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