Who knew that the road to Kona would be so rocky? Competing at the Ironman World Championship in Kona has been a dream since I completed my first full Ironman in 2010. So when Kerry bid on an entry for Kona at a charity auction back in 2019, it looked like I was well on my way to realizing that dream.
I opted to postpone my race to 2020 as Kerry and I already had committed travel plans for 2019 that precluded me from training for an Ironman distance event. But come October 2019, I dutifully kicked off my training preparation for the big day on October 10th, 2020.
Well, COVID-19 had other plans; the World Championships were first postponed and then canceled. However, undaunted, I continued training through 2020 (a good reason to be outside during the pandemic); as beneficial for my mental health as it was physically. And so 2020 came and went, and October 9th, 2021, beckoned.
That was until January 23rd this year.
A hard tumble on my snowboard combined with a hard-packed ski slope resulted in another broken shoulder. My left clavicle was already plated from a bike accident in 2009, yet somehow I managed to fracture it again, right at the tip of the plate. Fortunately, I could get back down the mountain to the ski patrol and from there to the local urgent care clinic at Beaver Creek to confirm the diagnosis. Day one of a week-long trip, and it was time for me to return home.
Kerry was none too impressed. Neither was my coach, given I likely wouldn’t be able to train for the next few months. Depending on my recovery time, my training window for Kona had just shrunk to less than six months.
On February 2nd, I celebrated my 50th birthday with an x-ray that confirmed that I hadn’t just fractured my clavicle. I’d torn ligaments in my shoulder from the impact and would need shoulder reconstruction surgery to patch everything back up.
My surgeon had a slot open the next day. So Kerry and I rushed from one clinic to the next getting an emergency COVID test and scheduling my surgery. Not quite how I’d envisaged ringing in the next decade of my life, though somewhat in character given the events of the past.
This pretty much scuppered my Kona aspirations for another year. Oops.
Yet, I remain undaunted. I’d always envisaged that the World Championship in Kona would be my fifth Ironman to celebrate five decades of life. And while I may not be able to race this October in Hawaii, it does give me the chance to complete my fourth Ironman at the end of November in Arizona instead—as they say, be careful what you wish for!
My shoulder is back to full fitness, and I’ve been able to resume my swim, bike, and run training regime. I have my sights set on the Ironman World Championship in Kona on Saturday, October 8th, 2022. Thank you to all that have supported me on this journey through your donations to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). You’ve helped me exceed my initial goal to raise $50,000…thank you, thank you, thank you!
And since life has thrown down the gauntlet once again, and Kona is still another year or more away, I have decided to up the ante. My goal now is to raise $1,000 for every grueling mile of the Kona Ironman World Championship course; that’d be a grand total of $140,600!
We have $57,740 already in the bank, and Kerry and I will continue to match every donation dollar for dollar. If your company offers matching funds for your donation, we will also match that; potentially every dollar you donate could equate to $4 going to CAF to help a physically challenged athlete get the equipment and support they need to take part in sports…something most of us take for granted.
You can donate online here:
P.S. I want to make a special callout to my long-time supporter and friend Ed who has been most generous year after year donating to CAF on my behalf and helped me break the $50,000 barrier end of last year.