In an interview the other day, someone asked me what I feel the biggest impact I have made on someone’s life is.
It wasn’t a hard question to answer.
Eight years ago a sedentary couple came to my bootcamp class to get fit before they started having children. The wife, Kim, knew that it was way easier to stay fit than get fit after kids and she dragged her previously active husband along hoping she might inspire him back to an active lifestyle.
Colin was a sporty type and had a heck of a lot of power and agility under a very large frame. He was a linesmen in university and could out sprint me with his arms tied together if he gave me a thirty second head start. After 100m though, he was done.
And he made that clear.
I remember forcing him to run “the mile” across the bridge that bordered the park and back. He cussed me out the entire time. Every time.
And then one day he just kept running. He ran 5k’s, 10k’s, a half and a full. Then he started doing Ironman distance triathlons. And doing well. Once again he could crush me… only this time covering great distances from the water to the bike.
For a dude, and sturdy one at that (I believe his left femur weighs as much as most triathletes)… it’s tough to qualify for Kona (AKA the Hawaii Ironman World Championship) but Colin isn’t about the easy way. He was on his way to completing his 8th Ironman of the twelve he needed to get to Kona the hard way.
All while training and completing seven Ironmans (his PB is under twelve hours), Colin and Kim had the four incredible kids they wanted. He found the teaching job of his dreams. Life was pretty much perfect – until he got a tummy ache.
His wife brought him to the hospital expecting they’d send him home with some laxitives.
He left with stage four colon cancer.
In the course of the next month he would discover that of the forty-five lymph nodes they removed, forty-five were cancerous. He would be told he had between six months and six years to live. He would cancel travel plans to Ironman to learn about the chemo that he would have every two weeks for the rest of his life.
The time he spent so diligently readying his body and mind for Ironman, would now save his life. That initial decision to improve his fitness to be a better father, would give him the chance to see his four children grow.
Sometimes we get swept up in the joy of overcoming challenges in training and racing and loose sight of what’s really important… preparing ourselves to be able to meet whatever comes our way in life with strength and fitness.
I didn’t even consider the impact that I had on Colin’s outcome until his mom wrote me a message thanking me for getting him hooked on endurance sport and saving his life before he knew it was in jeopardy.
Sometimes it’s the little things you do in life… like inspiring people to find their fitness… that create ripples you could never anticipate.
You can find Colin’s hilarious blog at http://trifattytri.blogspot.ca