A full distance Ironman Triathlon is a grueling 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile challenging bike ride and then capping it off with a 26.2 run/jog/crawl which culminates at a finish line that is second to none in all of sport.
I completed my first ever in 2015 in Louisville, KY. I decided to sign up after a buddy (who eventually did not even get to race) talked me into it because “it will be fun” as he said. 15 hours and 27 minutes after starting the morning in a cold Ohio River, I crossed the magnificent finish line knowing my life would never be the same.
You see, the things that make a race like this incredible and so rewarding is simply the journey to get there. Obviously to be able to accomplish a feat such as this took a lot of training and sacrificing of time. I spent many of days out running or biking alone on a country highway. Only me and my thoughts to keep me moving. Numerous times during this 6 month training period I would question the why? Why am I out here in the middle of summer running? Why did I leave my bride at home to bike 100 miles on my one off day out of the office? Why would someone even want to accomplish this race?
The question WHY is one that transcends time. Why someone does what they do is oftentimes a mystery. We question them when we see them doing something we would not do ourselves. I like to fall more on the side of Robert Kennedy who stated “many see things as they are and ask why, I dream things that never were and ask why not”. For me, my why has always been to prove to myself that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to attempt. The mind is a powerful thing, rather you think you can or think you cannot.... You are right! Henry Thoreau stated “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grace with the song still in them.” I am a believer that you must be proactive and go for what you want in life. Or it will pass you by and you will be left with the wondering “could I have accomplished that?”
As a physician I usually get asked by patients “why” a lot. Why am I hurting? Why did this happen? Why do you run so much, doc? Why do you eat the way you do?
I am a believer that you must do what others are not willing to do now, so you can do what others will not be able to do later.
My new “why” presented himself into our lives on October 4,2016. From the moment I held that precious life I knew everything that I thought mattered, quickly disappeared. 32 years of my life I was consumed with proving to myself, and to others that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. But all in one moment, my life was about making sure one individual, Steele Kurtz, would have the best role model any child could ask for. From that moment forward, being the best I can be was for him.
My new “why” has a chance to be anything he wants in this world! That is one of the beautiful aspects of a child. He or she literally has a blank book just waiting for a story to be written onto the empty sheets.
I am attempting another Ironman in November of this year. I will be sacrificing time this go round not only with my wife, but now with my precious son. Moments I could miss on a 5 hour bike ride are numerous. But as a physician, I know the greatest investment one can make in their self is in their health. I want to be there to experience all of Steele’s highs and lows. I want to see his game winning shots. I want to see him walk across a graduation stage. I want to see him marry the love of his life. I want to experience that sensation that only a grandparent can have when they hold their grandson for the first time. To do that, I must be willing to take care of my body as well.
To me, being the best person and physician I can be is about finding my why. My “why” to provide the best medical advice and care I can provide to my patients is all due to passion. I have a passion and innate desire to be a servant to others. I am willing to sacrifice hours of my life to learn the latest and most evidence based options so I can be an asset in the life of others. We must realize that nearly 80% of chronic illnesses can be prevented simply by diet and exercise. If your physician can not be your example of a healthy lifestyle, then who will?
And my “why do I exercise and attempt to live as healthy as possible” answer is now so I can be that person for Steele. That person he will always be able to look to for advice, to be a healthy role model for him and to an inspiration for him to accomplish anything he wants if he simply commits to it and applies himself.
I challenge you to find your why! Find your own “why you should exercise daily”. Find your own “why you should start eating a healthier diet”. Find your own “why should I be the person I was meant to become?”. Sometimes your WHY is staring back at you in the mirror and other times it is in the face looking up at you as you rock them to sleep. You want to be in this moment with them but also in all the future ones as well. Investing in your own personal “WHY” will allow you to accomplish just that. Finding your own personal “why” will allow you to have your best year yet! And trust me, one day your kids will thank you for it.
- Dr. Brock