Woke up this morning to an article in my hometown paper about my Ironman journey written by a great friend. I like how he put it out there that yeah, thousands of people complete the Ironman. I'm no one special but I do have a different story on how I've come to this point. This race just isn't my first Ironman, it's much more than that, and not only to myself but all my family and friends who understand what it has taken to get here. Everyone has their own story to tell. Life isn't easy and sometimes we hit a speedbump (or in my case a Suburban) but we can't give up.
QUARLES: Friend overcomes wreck to compete in first Ironman Triathlon
By EDWIN QUARLES/The Lufkin Daily News | Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2010 12:15 am
Next Sunday one of my friends will be in Idaho to compete in his first Ironman Triathlon. A lot of people are going to support him, and it seems his entire family will be there.
I know it’s not as if he’s the only one to ever compete in Ironman Triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, but knowing him and knowing some of what he went through to get to this point makes it more impressive.
In August of 2007 Jeremy Webb was finishing up a 56-mile bike ride with his sister Jennifer. He was riding downhill in a Lufkin neighborhood when a Chevy Suburban made a left turn in front of him. He smashed into the back-seat passenger side window. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet.
Jennifer was a little ways behind and when she topped the hill she saw her brother lying in the street.
He was taken to a local hospital where tests revealed that his neck was broken in three places.
I had just finished up a round of golf with Jeremy’s dad an hour or so before I got a phone call about what happened. A friend and I went to the hospital emergency room and talked to Jeremy. He asked repeatedly what had happened. I kept thinking that he’d probably never be able to get on the bike again. And if he could, he probably wouldn’t want to.
He was sent to a Houston hospital for surgery and was told that if he moved wrong he could be paralyzed.
More X-rays and an MRI showed his neck was stable and he wouldn’t need surgery. The three broken vertebrae turned out to be one. He had surgery on his shoulder and lots of glass was removed from under his skin. He was in a neck brace for about three months.
When he was able to, he got back on his bike. There’s still some soreness at times and the scars left behind are a reminder of the wreck. But it didn’t cause him to quit.
He kept riding, and running and swimming. Now he’s one week from achieving his goal of completing an Ironman.
I don’t know if he knows this but every time I run down that hill where he had his wreck, or drive down it, I think about what happened to him. And most times when I’m running, it encourages me to keep going.
The guy called Worm, a nickname that a friend and I stuck him with when he was little, never gave up. Even when there had to be some fear about getting back on his bike, he did it. Even when the training got tough and the temperatures heated up, he completed his 100-plus mile training rides, an 18-mile run and 3,000-meter swims.
We should all have that much determination in the things we want to accomplish.
Edwin Quarles is city editor of The Lufkin Daily News.
His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.