Its only June 17th, and this has been what seems to be the longest year of my life. Today we finished the 3rd annual Survive the Night Triathlon, which in my mind is perhaps one of the accomplishments I guess I have had that I am most proud of. I look at what I do for a living, and quite frankly I feel like I see so much death and dying that there’s nothing more rewarding than when I put on this race and it is filled with so much positivity and participants doing what I truly want for everyone participating in the race to do – have a good time!

Six months ago, I honestly was preparing myself to leave Kentucky. I had been offered quite the unbelievable job (in California no less), essentially my dream job, and Shannon and I were even at the point of choosing neighborhoods to live, schools for the boys, etc. I stressed over that decision silently for months, and in a round about way, we are obviously still here, and to stay. I wish I could say that there is something inherent to my job or where I work that guided me to choose to stay here in Kentucky, but the reality is, my impetus for staying is truly a different thing altogether… and that is my community!

There is a book that I recently read called “Patient’s come second,” and it’s really intended for budding hospital administrators. The concept of the book is that we need to quit being so focused on metrics, surveys, etc. and instead take care of the needs of our staff/providers/physicians, and if we do that, metrics (or patient results) will naturally follow. And in this concept, patient’s therefore come second.

Well the book has a chapter in it where they directly ask the readers to consider “What is your community? as an open ended question. As I have thought about this, proudly, I actually did include all of their goal measures – meaning, my personal definition of “my community” was not limited to my immediate family or friends, and not just to people I work with. Ironcology has enabled me go far beyond that. My community is my family, my neighbors, my coworkers, my patients, and after 3 years, all of the triathlon/multi-sport community who has shared Survive the Night with me, and also includes all of those who will be a part of it for years to come. More importantly, it includes all of the people who have sought me out independently to be a part of Ironcology. I have made memories that I will never in my lifetime forget like being a part of one of my own patient’s teams 2 years in a row, trying to help my defending champions stay on top by running one of their run legs, registering a newly assembled team literally 2 hours before the official start time and then later racing with them, my friendship/partnership wth KORT physical therapy and all of the support they have given me, and the list goes on and on. Its funny in the middle of the night, how quickly I am able to learn so much about all of the teams and participants as they come to tell me about themselves – who had recent surgeries, who has battled cancer, who is fighting off injuries, and who is simply out there for the first time ever competing in a triathlon. This is something I am sure I would not learn I believe if I were to hold a local 5k or short event, yet I have the privilege of learning these intricacies first-hand. And last but not least, it is a truly humbling feeling when after literally staying awake all night long, the guys with 3WayRacing, JA Laub photography, Clark MHC, my friends Bryan Mullins, Paul Chartier, TJ Olson, many others, and my wife are still awake after working our tails off, excited and brainstorming how to do it again… but better! These experiences and friends are my community, and this is why I am still here.

To everyone who helped me, participated in, or volunteered in the 2017 Survive the Night Triathlon… Thank you!

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