As I write this, I’m sat in the reception of the hospital that saved my life 13 years ago. I’m just in for a check-up, but back in 2009 I was rushed in here for heart surgery, culminating with a stent being put into my heart, opening up a 90% blockage. At the time it never occurred to me how close I was to leaving this world, and I’m very lucky to be here now.
It’s funny how we forget these things. I was getting rather pissed off looking at the display showing that even though I arrived this morning 30 minutes early, after an hour waiting there are still 12 people ahead of me. But what’s an hour waiting now compared to the 13 years of living that I could have so easily lost.
Of course, one of the joys of living is being able to see our kids grow up and be part of their life, and I had the most enjoyable shared experience of racing with my son last week. He had suddenly decided he wanted to do a race after never showing interest before, so from summer we’ve been training together, culminating in a 21k “local” race along the river last Thursday.
The weather was glorious, maybe a little too warm but no complaints considering we are now into November. I had asked my son whether he wanted to run together, but he was adamant he wanted to do his own race, so after a nervous hour before the start, we set off. I won’t go into details of the race, it was a small and friendly affair, along public paths, but suffice to say I was happy to finish the distance in under 2hrs for the first time since I was injured back in 2019.
However, I experienced so much more enjoyment watching my son come in not long afterwards, exhausted but happy to cross the finish line of his first ever race. I couldn’t be more proud, I’ve loved training together, I loved talking about running together , I loved going and buying running gear together and I loved racing together – and I am even happier now my son is considering a full marathon in the spring!
Another wonderful experience I recently had was “watching” a friend of mine achieve his dream of qualifying for Kona at the Malaysia Ironman last weekend. We could only follow via the IM app, so updates were few and far between, but myself and a bunch of other friends and tri club members shared the experience in a chat group, which kept me attached to my phone all day. It was incredibly exciting to watch his positions and times appear as he passed various checkpoints, with our little group of supporters sharing each piece of news with a flurry of texts and graphics.
My friend had really focused on his training, with amazing dedication including doing many of his workouts throughout the incredibly hot and humid Japanese summer dressed up in hoodies and such, to simulate the Malaysia heat. He had tried to qualify before, but this time seemed different, and I was very confident he would achieve his goal. It became even more engrossing when he exited the bike outside the qualifying places, and then slowly began reeling in his competitors. He eventually finished 3rd in his age group, meaning he not only reached the podium amongst an incredible competitive field, but also received his all-important qualifying coin to Kona!
Now I’ll let you into a little secret .. I’ve never been very good at enjoying others success, I sometimes feel I’m missing that parent gene or the empathy that others seem to naturally have, but both the above experiences I have truly lived and loved to be part of, and I can really feel that maybe I’ve eventually grown up.. something that would have never of happened if that doctor hadn’t saved my life all those years ago.