Today I should have been completing my 3rd Ironman Triathlon at Lake Placid. Alas it was not to be.
Back in January I announced my grand plans to celebrate the 10 year anniversary since I lost my hand by climbing 19,341 feet to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, climbing 1,576 stairs to the top of the Empire State Building and finally racing 140.6 miles to complete my 3rd Ironman triathlon at Lake Placid, NY.
I did indeed climb to the top of Kilimanjaro in January (spectacular) and 4 days later climb the stairs to the top of the Empire State Building (lung burning). But, unfortunately I was not destined to race at Lake Placid. Five weeks ago I came of my bike whilst out on a training ride and shattered my collar bone.
Painful, yes. Disappointing that I wouldn’t get to attempt my 3rd Ironman after all the months of hard training, you bet. What I didn’t immediately comprehend though was the loss of use of my right arm/hand…given that it’s the only one I have. Oh boy.
The accident happened on June 18th in Haverstraw, NY. I was kind of run off the road by a white van that cut into my space after passing me, leaving me nothing but the curb and a few potholes to ride into. Being crouched over in my aero bars I came down hard on my right elbow and the impact shattered my right collarbone in multiple places. Whilst the driver of the van was oblivious and continued on I was fortunate there were others who stopped and in no time I was in an ambulance off to emergency…not that there was much they can do except x-ray my shoulder, to confirm the obvious, give me a sling and suggest I get an Uber the 40 miles back to Manhattan!
With my plans in tatters all I could do was focus on the here and now and the immediate needs of my recovery. It’s funny how life happens. In going through this “adversity” it caused me to reflect on my journey ten years ago as I first overcame and then ultimately thrived after hitting those power lines.
We all face adversity in life, for me it seems to manifest physically at times, yet there’s been plenty of emotional, psychological and even spiritual angst along the way. I believe how we face our challenges shapes us and can even define us. That’s certainly been the case in my life.
Looking back, I see that in facing the biggest adversity of my life in 2006 it taught me how to not just overcome and survive, but how to push through and thrive. A system I have unconsciously used time and again since then.
It’s three simple steps:
- Let Go
Step 1, I accept what is, without blame or anger or judgement or regret. No matter how bad the situation, if I’m still breathing then it could always have been worse. I found the best antidote to blame, anger, judgement and regret was gratitude.
Step 2, I take responsibility and acknowledge the choices I made that lead to my current predicament, yet forgive myself and others that may have been involved. I find the key is staying in the present moment and not dwelling on the past and the inevitable “what ifs” and “if onlys”.
Step 3, I let go. For some reason it seems that there is always something I need to let go of that is no longer serving me. Back in 2006 it was my hand, in 2016 it was my Ironman ambition. At other times it has been a part of my identity. Invariably I can’t move forward and thrive if I don’t first let go.
I’d still love to raise $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation this year, whilst my Ironman didn’t work out I did at least get to complete a Half Ironman in May, a marathon in June and come November I’ll be racing in the New York City Marathon for the first time.
If you’d like to support my efforts and donate you can click the button below.
Help me raise $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation*
*80 cents of every dollar goes to support those with physical challenges