What Does It Take Be An Ironman?

Everyone has a story …. This week at Lake Placid I heard a million of them… Some athletes have a story so inspirational that I get choked up just thinking back over them and others are the actual story themselves in the flesh…

My story goes like this?….. Last year on July 28th, 2014 at a wedding out on Long Island NY,  a buddy of mine Mike married his sweetheart Phyllis, and a few of Mike’s Marine Corps brothers attended …During the “Post Reception” wind down party back at the hotel bar the subject of the ongoing 2014 Lake Placid Ironman which coincided with the wedding popped up.  One of the Marines in attendance was Dave Orlowski who is one of the 12 original Ironmen finishers from the 1st Hawaii Ironman race in 1978 (he placed 3rd.) He is a legend and a legacy in the world of Ironman.


Dave (center below) had a tough year battling the effects of Leukemia leading up to Mike and Phyllis’s wedding event and had been hospitalized with some serious blood and lung related issues.  Marines are triabal by nature and as one would expect his health became a major concern for me and the other Marines.  I was looking for a way to reconcile my concerrn for his health and the prospect of loosing a great friend when he began to chide me for not having the stones to step up to a full Ironman..  I believe the conversation went something like this…Ferrrrggggggg  has a yellow streak up his back …….to which Ingy (Marine pictured to his left) moans in painful response….no guts, again Ingy painfully smiles (while grabbing his jewels)  as if to simulate that I was being kicked in the sweet spot …..and  

 the coup de gratis …..”this woman sitting next to me has completed an Ironman and our Big Marine Fearless Leader doen’t have the baaaaalllllllls to step up to the line….I had to shame him into doing a half two years ago….All of a sudden time stood still….silent …like the feeling you get when you leap 5 stories into the cold deep waters of the Quincy Quarries outside of Boston… knowing the impact is going to sting your feet like being hit with a baseball bat….Then In an effort to shut him up ……..I annnounced  “When you die (His health was still on my mind) I will do an Ironman in your honor”.  The gaunlet was now tossed…but wait for it …because this …..is really the point where the challenge gets accepted…  Dave replied, “Don’t wait until I die..Do it with me now so I can enjoy it”.  This statement is what it took to make me an Ironman…  I did it in Dave’s  honor and it is in his honor that I now join the ranks of those that enjoy his legacy.  Stay Strong, Big Dave Orlowski…



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