More than a medal… “Epic”

More than a medal… “Epic”

by Joe C.

We all have our why triathlon … mine started when i cross-trained to maintain fitness while I rehabbed runners knee. I got in the pool and learned to swim. It was there the crazy thought came to mind, “hey you can do a triathlon now” so I did some open water swimming at Centennial beach with Experience Triathlon and someone said, do the Naperville sprint triathlon. I accepted, and got hooked. A few more medals at the Olympic and half-ironman distances and the thoughts turned to the full Ironman.

I reached out to Coach Joe LoPresto of ET Coaching Services and the journey started. He introduced me to other like-minded people and several of them were going to race at Ironman Wisconsin 2023 with me. We met at group swims, computrainer classes, and group bike rides. It was here that our relationships grew and through our shared goals, we bonded. The ET team is made up of strong character individuals, no jealousy, no ego, and unconditional support.

As the event got closer and our big training days increased. We shared our sufferings together talking about aches, pains, work and family stresses. There is a price to pay to be prepared for this undertaking, that all of us were willing to pay. We encouraged each other not only in words but in our own perseverance. Guys started getting nicknames, the banter back and forth became hilarious. It was something i looked forward to week in and week out. Triathlon is an individual sport but somehow Team ET became more important than my individual results. Not that I didn’t want to perform my best… oh, i did… but my joy and excitement became more about us than myself. I love these guys for our shared sacrifice, commitment, and support. This is something special and difficult to put into context.

Race week in Madison was more of the same… banter, laughs, high fives and well wishes. Coach Joe kept saying this is going to be EPIC. I thought yes, to complete a full Ironman, it will be epic. And, yes, it was Awesome, really Awesome!! But as I crossed the finish line and moved toward the athlete exit behind the finish, I did see the food tent but also saw the ET flag, Coach Joe, Coach Christa, families, friends, and teammates. It was there, at Athlete Exit, that this awesome event became EPIC!

Words wont do this justice but I’ll try. When we congratulated each other and looked into each others eyes, time stood still. I will never forget that feeling. I was in the most beautiful place on earth. It was the EPIC moment in time that Coach Joe was talking about… Genuine Happiness, Affection, Gratitude, Love for each other was on full display. It was amazing, an unforgettable night not only for us athlete’s but our families as well. This truly was more than a medal. It was “EPIC”.

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