I entered the men’s transition tent not knowing what to expect, but I got a glimpse into my future. It’s a future that consists of pain, confusion, anxiety, fatigue, inspiration, excitement, joy, and a sense of accomplishment. “Can you rub this Vasoline on my rash that I got from my wetsuit?” asked a man who just finished the 112 mile bike portion. “Come on I need to get to the run” he persisted. I reluctantly reached into the Vaseline and applied a healthy portion on his neck. He smiled and thanked me for volunteering at the men’s transition tent. I drove out to Arizona this week to volunteer at Ironman Arizona so I could be guaranteed that I will be given a spot for Ironman 2012.
As I look back at the last four years, I realize the positive aspects that clubfoot has brought into my life. Four years ago I was 250 pounds, unable to walk or run a mile without being in extreme pain, feeling sorry for myself, and using my clubfeet as an excuse to be lazy. I gave into the myth that people born with clubfoot could never be active. I bought into it. I feel for it. I embraced my disability as an excuse. It was not until Eli was born with clubfoot that I realize that I wanted to be a role model for him and other children born with clubfoot. I no longer wanted to use clubfoot as an excuse.
When I cross the finish line at each race it marks the beginning of new race. It marks the beginning of new adventures and proving to myself and the clubfoot community that anything is physically possible. Each race brings extreme pain and discomfort. Each training session brings unbearable pain, but the goal outweighs the discomfort. The goal is to be an example to an ever-growing population of children born with clubfoot.
Ironman 2012 is for you. It’s for all the times that doctors have told you “You can’t.” It’s for the children who have uncorrected clubfoot deformity all over the globe. It’s for all those who struggle with clubfoot pain on a daily basis. It’s for the children blessed to have been treated with the Ponseti method. It’s for all the children who are regarded as useless. Most of all it’s for my son.