athlete to achieve his goal of completing a grueling 140.6 mile test of endurance.
I couldn't have asked for a better one than my family, whom I got to share a very special
experience with on July 27, 2014. They were a huge part of my journey and a big reason why
I crossed the finish line in the iconic Lake Placid Ironman.
The two biggest cogs in the Team Devlin machine, were my sister, Kara, and my mother, who
have seemingly morphed into the same type of person over the years: thoughtful, unselfish, and incredibly generous.
During the last six months of training, I often felt Kara, who was a driven and an intense elite
swimmer, was more excited about the race than I was. She was always encouraging and
motivating me with inspirational stories of athletes who overcame great obstacles to finish an Ironman.
It seemed like every day I'd open up my e-mail to articles, pictures, and quotes from famous
athletes that would fire me up for the big race. This was something my father used to do
when I was growing up and I guess Kara picked up the torch after his passing six years ago.
Kara also set me up with an energy and nutritional plan that helped me tremendously during
the race. I didn't drink alcohol in the 18 months leading up to the event and I have always been
pretty good about my diet (when I'm training), but her plan got me focused me on what I needed
to do for an endurance event and that was get leaner.
To be honest, I wasn't keen on doing a nutritional plan with a million and one supplements. I
wasn't looking to win the event, just finish. She pestered me so many times to get on the program,
I finally relented just so she would leave me alone.
I got on the program which helped tremendously. I did drop some weight and my energy was
strong throughout the race. Thank you, Kara.
Mom, as always, was there, too. About a month before the race, she purchased a 3-day Ironman
camp in Lake Placid for me to attend. And again, I wasn't tremendously fired up for the race at
the time, I was just consumed with the training to get there,and mom, like Kara, became a huge
cheerleader. Mom felt if I learned "just one thing" from the camp, it'd be worth it.
So, of course, the day before I was going to leave for Lake Placid and the camp, mom slipped
and fell in New York City, fracturing a bone in her shoulder in the process. I couldn't leave now,
but she said, "Get the heck out of here, I'll be OK." I did miss the first day of camp to care for
her, but my brother, Patrick stepped in to help out.
My sister's husband, Chad, also helped out tremendously in my training for the Ironman. He
treats Kara like gold and the rest of our family just the same. About three years ago, Chad bought
a summer home about 25 minutes outside of Lake Placid and he always said, "Whenever you
want to come up to train, feel free to stay here."
A lot of people say things like that, but as soon as you ask to come up, they respond, "Oh, that's
a bad weekend. The house is jammed-pack. Not a good idea."
Not Chad. He always opened the door and rolled out the red carpet for me no matter
the time, day, week, or month. He never said no. Truly awesome.
My niece, Sophie, and nephews Patrick and Christian also showed up to support me, which
put the cherry on top of a beautiful day. The Ironman event is amazing in and of itself, but
it can be a long, long day where supporters only get to see their family members who are
competing for a few brief moments until it is all over.
However, there was nothing better than crossing the finish line of a race that covered 140.6
miles and lasted just over 12 hours and seeing Team Devlin with huge smiles on their faces.
It was a spine-tingling moment.
This event is truly about the journey and not the destination. It's about the blood, sweat, tears,
and dedication to achieve. It was also a total team effort by Team Devlin.
To celebrate the Ironman with my family, the one who supported me every step of the way
was truly special and something I will never forget.