Tuesday, May 19, 2009


In a few days, I'll be getting into the ocean with 1,300 other people waiting for the horn to blow to signal the start of the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. When the horn blows, we'll swim 1.2 miles, run up to our bikes, jump on and bike 56 miles, jump off our bikes then run 13.1 miles for a total of 70.3 miles. But first we have to survive the swim. And I am still trying to convince myself that I know how to swim. After all, it's only been less than two years since I first learned to swim.

My journey to learn how to swim began when Karen found some swimming goggles lying on the ocean floor. It had only been a couple of days after the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship and Karen and I were snorkeling at the pier. On our way back to the beach Karen spotted the goggles and dove down to retrieve them. Since neither of us knew how to swim she nonchalantly threw them over to me and said I could have them.

Little did we know that those TYR brand goggles would set me on a journey that will find me in the water with 1,300 people in a full-contact 1.2-mile swim come Saturday. In these past two years I've swam nearly 500,000 yards, learning everything from proper breathing techniques to how not to lose your swim trunks.

A few days ago, the ocean claimed what I owed it: swimming goggles. Karen, Rebecca and I were at Hapuna Beach and I was out in the waves taking pictures of Karen body surfing. We had just finished swimming and were playing around in the waves when a big wave hit me and rolled me along the sandy bottom. When I came up my goggles were long gone. And my debt to the sea paid in full.

Hopefully, someone will find my goggles while playing in the waves at Hapuna and get the urge to learn to swim. Maybe someday they'll find themselves lining up with 1,300 other people at a half Ironman staring down their fear as that horn goes off. Thrashing for their life for the first 200 yards before finding their rhythm and remembering they do know how to swim thanks to some found goggles.


BreeWee said...

This is an awesome story... what a great story Randy! (did I already say that??), I had know clue you only started all because of goggles... and here you go... Saturday will be amazing for you, I can feel it!

Its been fun training lately and you have become such a great athlete... go for it Saturday!!

debbie said...

I agree Randy. Another terrific story. I wish I could have even a fraction of your hearta and soul that you humorously share with us. Love ya, good luck


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