Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"You Are NOT An Ironman!!"

Toward the end of the movie, “Saving Private Ryan” the character played by Tom Hanks was lying in the road, wounded, and shooting his pistol until empty at an approaching German tank? That fruitless, heroic , yet pathetic effort, made my heart wrench. He was doing all he could, but the tank was impervious to his efforts to stop it.
After a year and a half of struggling against the tank of my own personal injuries and enemies; after firing all my rounds at the approaching ironman distance event; after all that: I lay on the ground, spent, empty, impotent. Today, I feel that same heart-wrench that I felt in watching that movie scene.

The Miles of the Journey to my ironman effort have lead to failure – one might call it a heroic and courageous effort , but the tank still rolls past me and my dream. Sure I paid the price. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I was out there, battling the self, taking the pain, pushing past, and overcoming. Yet, at the end of the day - today - I am at the end of my journey. Today, the last vestige of hope oozed out of me despite all the “never quit” platitudes, the great plans, the high hopes, the prayers, the vision of a finish line in tears of gratitude to God, the ironman tattoo with a cross over it - no, not to be. I am out of bullets, out of energy, tired of fighting, tried of swimming upstream, and I just want to lie down and let the ironman tank go on past me.

Who knows where I went wrong. I have made a lot of mistakes; failed at this so many times over the years. (see It’s hard to tell where the final damage came from . It takes a pretty special person to make it to the ironman starting line. Perhaps , quite simply, I am not an ironman; never cut out to be one. Perhaps, I was overmatched to begin with: the enemy had a tank and I had a handgun. As surely as a finisher is told at the finish line, “you are an ironman,” I am being reminded that I am NOT an ironman. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but It is the truth.

No more wars for me- that is - no more ironman quests. The stinger has been taken out of the bee, meaning ; I am not sure what this defeat will leave me or what future is down the road. But I doubt I will ever again possess that wonderful passion that my ironman hopes had. So there it is. This is where the Miles of the Journey have taken me. This will be the last past on this blog.
Yet, there is a certain satisfaction even in failure. I made mistakes but I know I truly did my very best. My best just wasn’t good enough, but it was all I had. And perhaps God is not as disappointed about all this as I am? No doubt He knows how much I poured into this. No doubt he saw me shoot my last bullet at the approaching ironman tank. Perhaps, He will say after all, “well done my good and faithful servant. You gave all you had. “

"I fell hard because I reached high."


  1. I hate to hear that this is the end. I know that somewhere inside is the mantra-there's always tomorrow. Time heals and hopefully the leg will get better and you can remount. You are far too complex of a person to allow simple setbacks and defeats to overcome you. There has to be another way.......

  2. Marvin, don't consider it to be "giving up". Think of it as preserving your body to go on and do other things! You are a fine Christian man and have much to give to our youth in the way of experiences and beliefs---please consider using that rather than the physical, for I believe you can certainly achieve "Iron Man" in that area!

  3. Hi Marvin,

    I stumbled upon your blog almost by accident. I read your blog and I wanted to reach out. The ironman journey is different for all, for some it seems easy, too easy, for some herculean. I have seen people in my team cross the finish line and become an Ironman, people who I would've never believed could do it. Young, old, experienced, inexperienced, injured, healthy and everything in between. My team (GoMitchGo) is a team of athlete and cancer warriors who make our mission to find a cure for cancer and improve the lives of doing endurance events and fundraising.

    During my Ironman journey I had multiple injuries (as a result of year of playing rugby, ACL/MCL, meniscus, foot surgery, name it). I completed Ironman Cozumel last year.

    Your story really compelled me to write to you and let you know about our team. Although we are based in Austin, TX we have teams in Oklahoma, Dallas and a few lone wolves in other places. We have amazing coaching, nutritionists, testing...but above all we have a mission and a team.

    Go to and check us out, reach out to our coach Steve Blackmon. Our motto is "Keep Fighting!" these were the last words Mitchell spoke to his father John Whitaker before passing. These words fuel us at every swim, ride, run, fundraising event and generally in life.

    We would love to have us join our team and continue your journey.

    Keep Fighting!


  4. Thanks Albert..I will certainly consider that. My father was a cancer victim and I was an organizer for the Relay for Life here for a few years and ran several marathons with cancer victims and survivor's pictures on my shirt. I did a half Ironman in honor of my brother in law, who at the time was fighting lung cancer. So, this is on my wavelength. thanks again.