A Significant Time and Date

It’s 5.40am on Saturday 1st September, a normal if slightly unsociable hour on a day for many that signifies the end of Summer, not that we seemed to have one this year. But for me it is hugely significant.

At this time on this day five years ago I was dressed from head to ankle in tight fitting rubber as I stood on the side of a cold and alien looking lake. The sun was rising over the trees, the shadows of the night being opened like curtains to reveal a new chapter in my life. I was surrounded by great people all dressed in the same weird style and amongst those were three wonderful friends who were about to take a huge leap of faith with me, a leap that I for one think changed each of us for the better.

Five years on and we now have between us eleven Iron distance medals and a whole raft of memories. Where we were once novices of a brutal game we now stand proud veterans of what now seems like a normal thing to do. That brutal game has given us so much: confidence, lasting friendships, enjoyment, opportunity, success, knowledge, work, romance, pain, suffering, but most of all fun.

Five years ago at 6am on the 1st September a claxon sounded and Dave “The Ex-Spartan”, Min Tilston, Viking and I left our old selves behind as we started out on our Ironman journey. We never knew it at the time but those first few stokes of front crawl in that dawn enshrouded lake would be as significant as the first steps we made as babies many years previous.

I’d like to thank my three wonderful friends for taking that leap of faith with me and wish them Happy fifth Ironman Anniversary. Here’s to five more wonderful years.

If you are considering your own leap of faith, then do it. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Seize the moment, grasp the opportunity and reach for the stars.

Dave, Min, Viking and I are living proof that anything is possible.


17 responses to “A Significant Time and Date

  1. Andy, not only has your sporting prowess improved over the years but so has your writing, reading the above passage made me feel like I was there. I read your blog from post 1 a couple of years ago and as you know ended up doing an ironman and joining the same triathlon club as you. Glad it’s all working out for you, cant wait for your new book. Kev

  2. Just finished reading your book and I must say it’s having a huge impact on my life. Being in a slightly different situation to you I have also set out to accomplish the unbelievable and have also started up my own blog similar to your’s. ironlloyd.wordpress.com I would be honoured if you would at least check it out and offer me personal advice, thank’s again! Chris.

  3. Yo yo yo, what’s up Andy? Like many others, I was inspired and touched (in a positive way, not the “You’ll hear from my lawyer” kind of way) by your book. Reading it a second time actually. I’m from a small town in Texas and have struggled with emotional and physical drawbacks as well. I’m 2 steps shy of the crazy house doormat, I have bad feet, knees and hips. I got bronchitis about 6 years ago and still find myself coughing up . . . stuff. And I have officially signed up for my first triathlon this September 9, my birthday! Having always been a bit of a daffy ba$%rd, I can relate to the sentiments of the Pirates. I look forward to meeting some like-minded individuals during the tenure of my tri-als and hope to see some Pirates some day as I plan to race Challenge Roth in the coming years. Thanks for sharing your story. One day, I hope to share mine as well. Cheers IronHolgs!


    • Hi Seth,

      Nice to hear from a resident of the lone star state. How did the triathlon go then? Hope you enjoyed it and have been inspired to do more.
      And belated Happy Birthday, I hope you celebrated after the race with cake 😉

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the book, it’s always wonderful to hear from people that have felt that I’ve played a tiny part in getting them on the path to traithlon.
      Look after those ailments Seth, and I one day look forward to reading your race report from Roth.

      Cheers mate,

  4. Caroline Goldsworthy

    Totally agree great passage. You’ve inspired me as well and I too have begun recording my own journey in pursuit of finishing an iron distance race. I read your book on my Kindle first time round but while I’m recovering from my arthroscopy op on 6th Sept I think I’ll read it again, but a more tangible edition this time so I can see the photos better.

    Hoping to do Bolton with a colleague from work who is in the same Tri club as you – well that is if I haven’t messed up my knee too much. Fingers crossed hey?


    • Hi Caro,

      Nice to hear from you. I hope your knee is recovering well and that you are back on your feet?
      I hope that you get to realise your ambition of competing and completing Ironman UK in Bolton next year. All being well I shall be there that weekend shouting abuse. Incidently who is the COLT member you know? If you are in the area come along and do some training with us, we don’t bite 🙂

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the book, sorry the photos weren’t brilliant on the kindle. Will mention that to my publisher. My kindle copy doesn’t have the photos but nearly all of the other kindle books I own haven’t been brilliant photo wise. I think it might be a failing of the e-ink screens to be honest with you.

      I sincerely hope that you are on the road to recovery, pesky things knees, be careful with your comeback.

      • HI Andy,
        yep the knee is a lot better thanks. I’m swimming (gently) again and using the bike on the turbo trainer. Should be venturing out for first run in 2-4 weeks. James Harrison is the chap I know. It’s odd we’ve never met face to face but talked and IMd loads on work stuff and became friends through that – we’re both now entered for Bolton 2013.

        Thanks for the training invitation but I’m a southern softie but if ever i’m up that way on business – you’re on. 😉

        Looking forward to the new book so glad that’s going well. Oh and while I was off on sick leave I started blogging too.

        see you’re a really bad influence

        all the best

  5. Always great when we look back and see how far we’ve come :). I took a great leap on the 1st – entered the Lakeland 50. I may have 4 marathons under my belt, with 3 more planned for next year, but this is a whole different ball-game, and another step towards my IronDream for a couple of years time

    • Good luck for the off-road Cumbrian monster, and for your ongoing journey towards Ironman.
      If you want it bad enough you’ll get there, and let’s face it if I can complete one then anyone can.

  6. It’s partly your fault I’m signed up for Frankfurt. Genuine thanks. http://fatdanironman.wordpress.com/

    • I hang my head in shame, nah who am I kidding.
      It’s an amazing race and you’ll realise on the day that my words and description don’t even come close to doing it justice.
      Good luck with the training.

  7. Just finished your book and loved it! I began triathlons 2 years ago after running the London Marathon in 2010 was not enjoyable due to a knee injury. It was then that my family persuaded me that my lifetime aim of becoming an Ironman wasn’t going to happen as it was “too hard” and not going to happen with my injury. After reading your book I am inspired that nothing is too hard and want to prove this to my family. Recently, my knee injury has been improved through prolotherapy and I am now going through the frustrating process of re-training my running technique to ‘roll’ off my toes and become more effective. I have now signed up for Ironman UK 70.3 with the determination to complete a full one in 2014 (as to where is not decided). I just wanted to thank you for giving me the push to go beyond an Olympic distance, I have got the challenge in my sights and excited to start training. Thank you!

    • Hi Hollie,

      Good for you, sounds like you have loads of determination, an essential quality on the road to Ironman.
      Glad to hear that the knee is improving, keep doing your exercises 😉
      Good luck with training for Wimbleball, find some hills and ride and run up them as much as you can in preparation.

      I look forward to receiving your message in 2014 telling me that you’ve becoma an Ironman.

  8. Hi Andy, do you keep a tally of all the folk you have inspired and motivated to change their lives for the better? If so, guess you’d best count me in aswell :-). I’ve just entered my first half marathon, in prep for my first triathlon next June – the Big Ben as in Ben Nevis not the Tower of London. It’s going to be a toughie for my first one, sea loch swim, off road cycle and then a wee run to the top of Ben Nevis (no fuss event) Have just asked for Don Finks book for Christmas as I haven’t a clue how to train (have only ever done a couple of 10K races a few years back!) Quite fancied slipping in a marathon in April just for the fun of it – and all of this is “YOUR FAULT! :-)” So many thanks, looks like I’m going to hit my 50th birthday next year fitter than I’ve ever dreamed possible – cheers! Little Plum x

    • HI Little Plum,

      No I don’t keep a tally but I have kept every email I’ve received and ofcourse I have the messages on here.
      I’m glad that in some tiny way I’ve helped you down the triathlon path.
      I’ve heard of the Big Ben, bloody hell talk about in for pound!! Good luck with the training and with the half marathon.
      I think Fink is a good read, a lot of useful tips and I used the plans to good effect for Ironman Germany.
      Best of luck and happy 50th for next year 🙂

  9. Hi Andy, I’m sure you get messages like this all the time but I thought I’d get in touch. I read your book about a year ago and it was just the push I needed to get into triathlon. I’ve always loved sports and was looking for something new and reading your book inspired me to take up the challenge. I did my first triathlon (a sprint) earlier this year and I’m doing my second one on Sunday and for some stupid reason I’ve entered a marathon! So thanks for the inspiration. I’ve started my own blog to help motivate me to train and I’m hoping it will get people sharing tips about doing triathlons on a budget. It’d be great if you could have a look and share any tips you’ve picked up along your journey. It’s http://trionthecheap.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Hi Ed,
      Nice to hear from you. Hope the second triathlon went well and that marathon training is keeping you out of trouble.
      Love the name of the blog by the way.
      Good luck withe the training, the racing and the blogging.

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