That one time I found horses at the IRONMAN Triathalon.
My husband is a triathlete. He loves swimming, biking and running - pushing his body to the limits of stamina and endurance. He has done over 30 marathons in his life, multiple duathlons (swimming and biking) and a quite a few triathlons.
But his dream was to do an official Ironman Triathlon. The official Ironman distances are a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. All back to back in one single day. I will happily ride a horse 140.6 miles and still be a bit sore at the end but this man I spend my life with decided to swim/bike/run for 140.6 miles instead. I am not a swimmer or a runner and biking that long isn't my idea of a good time - but I will support my husband all day long. Which turned out to literally be a day long. He completed this athletic pinnacle in 12 hours which
is pretty amazing for a first time ironman racer who was a newly wed and working full time while training. I was and forever will be incredibly proud of him. Being who I am as a horsewoman - I somehow found a way to incorporate horses into this dream fulfilling weekend. Buck Brannaman, one of my favorite horse trainers, happened to be putting on a clinic or a training seminar not only the same weekend in the same town, but at the same event center near the start and the finish lines of the Ironman event. After a quick discussion with my husband about if he wanted me on the course during the day cheering him on (he didn't) and if he wanted me at the starting and finish lines (he really really did want me there) and thanks to todays technology of being able to track his IRONMAN athlete anklet as he traveled the 140.6 miles, I was able to attend Bucks clinic while my husband raced.
Some people may be shocked that I decided to sit in a dusty arena and watch a quiet steady cowboy teach people how to communicate with their horses better instead of standing on the sidelines cheering on my husbands dream. Some people may think the opposite, that of course I should have chased a realized dream of my own to see Buck in person instead of driving all day to get just a few seconds glimpses at my husband as he biked or ran past me. But what we thought? It was the best of both worlds. I was able to accompany my man as close to the start line as possible and track him via my phone all day to know where he was and how he was doing (thanks to the lovely woman seated next to me at Bucks clinic for smiling politely as I excitedly updated her all day on his progress through the race). My mom lived not far away and picked me up from the arena and we were able to see the finish and hug my husband as he crossed that line of completing a life long dream. I was able to see a mentor in my horse life in person, learn up close some of the things that don't transfer well over a webinar screen, and even get a photo with him. The things he said that day have helped me be a better partner to my horse Mika and a better human in my everyday life. The things my husband accomplished that day made him a better future father and husband.
It was a beautiful weekend that fulfilled us both because we gave each other space to be who we individually are even though I don't understand the fun in exercising for 12 hours and he don't understand the fun in sitting in a dusty arena listing to a cowboy train horses. These compromises let us celebrate our differences while at the same time bringing us closer together.
That IRONMAN and Buck Brannaman weekend is still one of the best weekends we've ever had. Is there someway you can celebrate the differences with the people in your life and even if you don't understand - can you celebrate them anyway?