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It always seems impossible….

February 14, 2013

A few years ago I started to do a little Blog. For various reasons I stopped doing it. Over the last few weeks I have been considering doing a short blog as an introduction to my Ironman Melbourne 2013 journey.

As per my previous Blogs I will start with a Summary of Parsha Terumoh and a little thought from Rabbi Yakov Menken (

Hashem commands Moshe to build a Mishkan (Sanctuary) and supplies him with detailed instructions. Bnei Yisrael are asked to contribute precious metals and stones, fabrics, skins, oil and spices. In the Mishkan’s outer courtyard is an altar for the burnt offerings and a laver for washing. The Tent of Meeting is divided by a curtain into two chambers. The outer chamber is accessible only to the kohanim, the descendants of Aharon. This contains the table of showbreads, the menorah, and the golden altar for incense. The innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies, may be entered only by the kohen gadol, and only once a year, on Yom Kippur. Here is the ark that held the Ten Commandments inscribed on the two tablets of stone which Hashem gave to the Jewish nation on Mount Sinai. All of the utensils and vessels, as well as the construction of the Mishkan, are described in great detail.

“And they shall make a Temple for Me, and I will dwell among them…” [25:8]

In the (Medrash) Pesikta, it records that when G-d said this, Moshe trembled. He thought to himself, “how is it possible to build a house for G-d, Who encompasses and transcends all the heavens?” And G-d replied, reassuring him, “not by my standards, but in accordance with their abilities: twenty boards in the North…”

The Chofetz Chaim derives a profound, yet simple lesson from this Medrash: G-d does not demand the impossible, or the unreasonable. Every person is obligated to do only that which he or she can. As King Solomon said in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 9:10, “All that you find within your ability to do, act upon it…” which is to say, only that which is within your ability. We must do only that which has been placed upon us.

As most of you all know I have entered Iron Man Melbourne. An Iron Man event is made up of a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run. Just the thought of these distances is daunting enough, but hopefully it is within my abilities.

I have recently seen a quote by Nelson Mandela – “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would enter an Ironman event.

Reading a thought by Rabbi Frand on Parsha Yisro a few weeks back. The Pasuk says “and Yisro heard…”

The novelty of Yisro and indeed the lesson of Yisro is “What did he hear about THAT MADE HIM COME (U’BAH)”. Yisro – like many others – became inspired by what he heard, but uniquely, he took that inspiration and ran with it. He came to the Jewish people right away because he saw the Hand of G-d and he said “I am going to do something with it. I am going to actualize it. I am going to put it into deed.”

I like many went to watch Ironman Melbourne 2012 and was inspired by Craig Alexander’s performance. Basically the next day I read that entries for the 2013 event were going to open. The 2012 even sold out in like 6 minutes so I like Yisro did not have time to think about it, but had to act very quickly. Ironman 2013 sold out in ~ 4minutes. I was lucky to get in and even had some mates who also got in.

I recently noticed the following quote – “You either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Pick a side.” I have always been a very disciplined person in all I do and have kept to a very structured training program to achieve this goal.

With the help of a number of people including a coach for programs, a nutritionist, physio etc. I have embarked on my “journey” to try completing this event.

I noticed the following quote on Twitter a few weeks back – “Sometimes being the partner of an endurance athlete requires the ability to keep your mouth shut.” – @SusanLacke . I have been very fortunate that Loren has supported me through this year of training and all that goes with it – early mornings, long Sunday rides, and meal plans etc.  Through this process we have learnt a great deal about each other and have learnt a fortune about new foods, diets, calorie intake, protein content and most of all about healthy living and how important exercise is for the 2 of us.

People have asked what inspired me to try doing an Ironman and any other endurance type event. Some people think it is the post 40 mid-life crisis. What has inspired me has been people who compete in these events. This may be the professionals who compete these events in such unbelievable times and more so the battlers or disabled people who give it a go. It is an amazing sight to see a person on false limbs doing a triathlon, an over 100kg athlete signing/ weighing in to do Noosa tri or a person over 60 competing in a IM 70.3 event . This is my inspiration. But what I also love is the comeradie on the events. These people and myself are all doing what the great Chrissie Wellington says – “No one should ever be afraid of failing; it’s being afraid to give it your all in trying that I urge against.”

 My mates always tease me about my training, early morning that I don’t sleep etc.  I LOVE TRAINING. To tell the truth, just having got through all the training I have done (I have calculated the km’s I have completed) is achieving a goal.

 Last year I went out to watch Ironman Melbourne. I actually loved standing with all the fans including Michael Klim and was amazed to watch the front runners, both men and women and some of the age group competitors. Watching the effort, emotion pain etc was unbelievable.

To end another quotes from Chrissie Wellington’s Autobiography (which is an unbelievable read. Her story is amazing and her ability is not explainable!) –  “Ironman inspires like no other sport. It transforms the lives of those who take it on; and those who take it on transform, in turn, the lives of others through the heroism of their deeds. The finish line at an Ironman is a place awash with smiles and tears. The emotions evoked at the end of a race of that length are what help to bind our community so strongly together. #”

Loren said she is going to be at the finish line to scrape me off the floor (such confidence). It will be great to see you all on the run route from Frankston to St Kilda supporting the many competitors including me on March 24.


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One Comment
  1. wendy permalink

    Hi Ian, Loren told me about your blog so was curious to read it and so glad I did!! Not only are you an amazing inspiration but a fabulous writer too! I have also been fortunate as through your year of training I have learn lots too (via Loren) about foods, diets, and exercise. I intend being at the finish line on 24 March to share your amazing achievement but rather than scrape you off the floor I will be the one yelling like a maniac! As much as you inspire me, please do not be offended if it does not result in me ever entering an ironman event!! And don’t forget that it is also your anniversary on that special day!

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