Heros Come in All Sizes

From the organizers to the volunteers to the competitors to the spectators, everyone involved in the Boise Ironman is calling it a success. One of the stories submitted to Boise State Public Radio as part of the buildup for Ira Glass’ visit to Boise centers around the Ironman so it seems the perfect time to share it. 

And if you can’t get enough Ironman, you will have a second opportunity to see these amazing athletes in the 2.4 mile swim112 mile bike/26.2 mile run Coeur d’Alene Ironman on Sunday, June 24, 2012. The triathalon starts off with a two-loop swim in beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, then the bike course which takes athletes through rural northern Idaho. The run course, known for its spectator support, is the highlight of the race. Enjoy your own Idaho Adventure like Jeff Walker and his family did when they visited North Idaho.

***

In June 2010, I injured my spine which partially paralyzed my left arm.  I was healthy enough to compete in the Boise half Ironman, barely completing a zigzagging swim but finishing the race safely.  Shortly afterwards, I had surgery to restore the use of my arm. My daughter was inspired by the event and encouraged me to train for a full Ironman to physically rehabilitate myself.  We talked a lot about how much time goes into training for the event and if she would be ok with me training 20 hours a week.  She kept insisting, so I signed up for the full Ironman in Coeur d’Alene (CDA).

To celebrate the support of my family that got me to the starting line of the Ironman, I organized a family vacation around the race.   We rented a house close to downtown CDA.  From that base camp, we went on to ride the Hiawatha through Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana, played at Silverwood Theme Park (roller coasters and a wave pool, sweet!) and golfed at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

 In the middle of all that, I did fit in a 140.6-mile race. It was an amazing day, where it felt like the entire town was cheering for me.  To train alone for hours and then have a town come out to encourage you to swim, bike, and run over fourteen hours all the way to the finish line, was an amazing experience.  I’m forever grateful to the people of CDA, the beauty of north Idaho and the memories my family created there last June.   Finally, a huge thank you to my nine year old coach, trainer, and enabler of the impossible.  

Jeff Walker