Impact Your World

ironman1Many of you know that we are just getting home from a week-long high because my husband just competed and finished an Ironman competition!

Ryan came up to me about a year ago and said that he had a serious question to ask me. “Amy, you know I used to do triathlons when I was in college and I’ve always had a dream of doing the ultimate triathlon, the Ironman. I’ve really been thinking a lot about it and I’m 37 years old and well, if I’m ever going to accomplish that dream, I’m not getting any younger so I really want to go for it. It’s going to take a lot of training and I might be gone more than usual working out. That’s why I’m asking you because this is a group decision. I can’t do it without you and I’ll need your help. What do you think?”

Well what was I supposed to say? It was his dream ya’ll … so I said yes!

For those of you that don’t know, an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a marathon – 26.2 mile run. To be an “Ironman” you have to complete all of those within a 17 hour day. Yeah … it’s for crazy people.

This past year he has had insane work out schedules. On most Saturday’s he would be gone the entire day because it’s not like you can just ride your bike down the street and go 100 miles. It has to be mapped out and usually he has to go out to the country and get chased by dogs. Or if he could find one, he would travel to an organized bike ride somewhere so they have cones and police blocking traffic to be more safe. He would be gone ALL day Saturdays and pretty much every weeknight, he would come home from work, eat dinner with us and then go do a swim or run or bike on the trainer, etc. And they are not like short work outs – they are HOURS.

So I have a confession to make …

It was hard for both of us – we both had to say no to a lot of social stuff. I tried to stay positive and encouraging but I’m not going to lie and go ahead and tell you I bratted out sometimes too. Yeah I told him that I wanted him to go for his dreams but well, it was just a little too inconvenient for me sometimes. It was hard … but isn’t that why it’s called a DREAM? Because dreams are hard. They can be inconvenient. But it’s a DREAM – that’s one of the things that makes it worth it!

Right before his dream became a reality it seemed like everything got even harder. Doesn’t it seem like right before a victory, it gets really real? When you’re tired, sick of it and feel like you can’t go any further, that’s usually when the victory is around the corner. That last week crazy stuff happened. The day before we left, my passenger window on Ryan’s truck randomly would NOT roll up. So I had to take it to the dealership to get fixed with all my kids. That’s HARD ya’ll! That’s guy stuff. It took hours – and I had an 18-month old with me. A random guy that was missing a front tooth kept calling baby Judah “Bon Jovi” because of his hair and kept trying to give Judah a drink of his water (which Judah was more than happy to oblige). Awkward. Our flight there was CRAZY. Ryan didn’t realize that our plane stopped in Tulsa for a while before heading to Denver then had a long layover and then another flight to Spokane that sat on the runway for over an hour because of a computer failure before we even took off – me with all 4 kids by myself. It was SO hard to keep Judah quiet on the plane and keep him from bothering people. I had so much tension in my back the whole way there because I was just praying that he wouldn’t pitch a giant fit, or even worse, poop on the plane. That sounds like a scary move, “Poop on a Plane.” I mean where do I change a giant baby that has a poopy? Mom problems. I just kept stuffing his face with cookies and suckers. Then when we got to the hotel, Judah escaped from our hotel room and we didn’t even notice for a few minutes – we PANICKED!!!  Have you ever had your heart completely fall into your stomach and you can’t breathe? Yeah that happened. He was okay though … just upstairs at the check-in desk hanging out. gulp. Yeah it was all good. No worries at all (said in my crazy voice). (I’ll share more about this story on a post another day).

I was just a tad psycho and weary by the time the race got here.

Of course that wasn’t near what Ryan had to go through. His training and prep was hard. He had to wake up at 3:00 am sometimes. He had to do swims in the middle of the night. He had to bike sometimes on the trainer because of weather, just to get a work out in. Have you biked for HOURS on a trainer. HORRID. And it was all just preparation for the big day …

The race was in Couer d’Alene, Idaho and on race day, we got up at 4:30 am to drop Ryan off. He was SO nervous and excited. The water was freezing (much different than training in Texas) so he had to get acclimated. He got his bike checked in and all his transition gear. When it was about to begin, it was just him and 2500 other men and women, all competing for their dreams too. All anxious and full of butterflies … and waiting to do something REALLY hard and push themselves harder than they ever have.

As the cannon went off and all of the swimmers ran out into the water, Ryan said his ironman2goggles filled up with tears. It was finally here. This was his moment. This was where He would apply and use all the training that he had been working on and put it towards this one day, where His dream could come true.

The race began at 7:00 am and he had to be in by midnight in order to qualify as an Ironman. We could check his times all throughout the day and see where he was as he went from swim, transitioning into bike and then on to running.

We found him on the course when he was around the 11 mile mark of the run and he was struggling. He ran past us and said, “I’m hurting really bad. I don’t know if I can do this.” We encouraged him and cheered for him and told him HE could do it. He was walking and then jogging and then walking again. He was having to push himself harder than he ever had before.

During the course of the day, I noticed something happening before Ryan even finished. I had posted on facebook that morning about Ryan doing an Ironman and what it entailed and asked for prayers. I posted updates and posted the link to track him. I noticed that gradually throughout the day, there was like an AVALANCHE of people, some I never even talk to, watching Ryan on the check-ins. It was contagious. My facebook, text and phone were BLOWING UP!

While he’s running his race and weary and tired, he has NO IDEA that SO many people are watching and waiting … cheering him on and praying for him as he runs his race. But he could feel them. That’s what kept him going even though he never knew until it was over.

All this time, having negative thoughts about me being inconvenienced by him achieving his dream, I had no idea how him pursuing his dream would actually impact and inspire others along the way. I couldn’t believe the cheering and prayers going on. There was a live feed of the finish line and tons of people were staying up until midnight or even almost 2 am (depending on time zones), waiting for him to cross that finish line. It was intense and awesome!

When he finally walked through, with only 40 minutes to spare, hobbling and hurting badly, people were SO excited. I loved reading some of the comments and posts about it.

“Congratulations Ironman! You are an inspiration to many. With training, faith and courage, you have shown what is possible. I’m very proud to know you!”

“I am in awe of you. Incredible feat of courage and FAITH. Well done brother.”

“Ryan you have truly touched my heart! The pain I see as you cross the finish line is incredible and brings tears to my eyes but you did it! You accomplished something that you set your heart out to do! You’ve touched a lot of people’s lives and inspired many of us to follow a dream and fight through the pain and suffering.”

“Way to go! What a great life lesson on goal setting, discipline, perseverance and mental toughness …”

“Let Ryan know that chasing this goal like he has this past year is encouraging and motivating to watch. The two of you are lifters and contributor’s to our world and there are not many people out there like that. Thank you!”

“Tears of joy fell down my face as I watched you cross the finish line with hands held high praising God! Just amazing!”

ironman3Did you know that you can inspire and impact your world, just by going after your dreams? I never really thought of it that way. I just thought if your dreams involved helping other people, that would inspire other people but I think it’s more than that. Just reaching outside of your bubble or your safety net, and going for your dreams is totally inspiring! Did you know that you can positively influence people in your life by doing hard things? It might just be a butterfly flutter of a change. One that creates a tiny ripple … but you never know the domino effect of a ripple. You might never see the whole impact you make. Our whole lives are a testimony of God’s grace and goodness. It ignites hope in people’s hearts. I can’t tell you how many people posted and texted me to say that Ryan inspired them to go work out, or go after that dream they have always thought would be cool to do but never actually initiated that first step.

And if you are in the process of pursuing your dream and things are getting really hard, keep going!! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Go for your dreams and do it big! You can do hard things because Christ lives in you! You never know what you could do or who you could be until you step outside of the same routine you keep doing. Change it up! Do things that are uncomfortable but rewarding. It might be hard, and even harder right before the victory, but achieving your dreams is SO awesome!

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. {Philippians 4:13}

I’m proud of my Iron-Hubby!! 

Written by Amy Ford

* Ryan raised over $1,000 for Embrace Grace on his Ironman run. 

3 thoughts on “Impact Your World

  1. Such an inspiring post and wanna give a shout out to RYAN… Way to go, you pushed yourself above and beyond!!!! Your endurance and perseverance throughout this entire year of training has certainly proved that you are an IRONMAN! We are so happy for you and your family as they cheered you on 🙂

  2. So proud of all of you. Ryan couldn’t have done without his wife and kids behind him.
    Way to go Ford family. You showed what a family really does for each other!

  3. Amy, this is absolutely inspiring! People cheering him on that he didn’t even realize were praying and rooting for him…awesome! This definitely reminds me of how on our spiritual journey our Father cheers us on and the Heavenly Hosts cheer us on too reminding us that we CAN do it and it’s worth it to keep going.

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