The premise of the title of this prompt is that there is just one “happiest day”. I can not say that I have just one happiest day. I have so many that I would not want to narrow it down to just a single event.
But, for the purposes of this post I will share one of my many happy memories.
I do not spend much time bragging about myself. Dawn called me out on this a few posts ago so I will dedicate this post to me.
When my dad passed away, it was sudden and changed our lives forever. I determined that I wanted to do something that would be a way of honoring his death. I decided that I wanted to raise and donate money in his name. For this, I did a ton of research to find an organization that Dad would have supported. Then is was time for me to determine what I was going to do to drive donations. Hmmm
My thought was that I wanted to participate in a physical activity, I did not just want to ask people to donate. I also wanted my effort to be symbolic of the sacrifice that others endure during hard times. The donations were going to go to an organization that provided a real camping experience for kids with illnesses that would otherwise prevent them from participating in a week at camp.
The year is 2009 and I was already running 5k events and doing well, but to me, I wanted my efforts to be big. I did more research on events and decided on a triathlon – not just any triathlon, I decided on a 70.3 mile event. I was in very good shape but still, I had 8 weeks to prepare to swim 1.2 miles in open water. Bike 56 miles over the rolling hills in Michigan. And then finish all that with a 13.1 mile run. The training was hard and considering that most people train for months for one of these, I was just expecting to finish.
There is so much that went on during the race and it take too many characters to explain. The race starts at 7am, but I am up hours before that. My entire family was there to cheer me on. Nothing more reassuring when you are ready to run into the water for the biggest challenge of your life than your family being there to support you.
I came out of the water when I expected and my brother was right there to cheer for me along with Dawn, the kids and Mom. As I exit on my bike, my son is at the first turn cheering for me as I pedal out of sight. Three hours later, as I come down to finish my bike, my family is spaced out. My brother and my son, followed by my daughters, Mom, and Dawn, with her camera, capturing every grimace.
During the run, they had all walked to a spot where they could see me twice and still have enough time to travel to the finish to see me to the end. At the end, I was really struggling. I was cramping and my run at this point is more of a limp. That changed when I saw my brother at the beginning of the finish shoot. You need that extra to get you to the end and it was just enough for me to turn my limp into more of a run. As I get closer to the finish, the crowd is louder and the energy is off the hook. I hear my family above the crowd, the music is louder and as I cross, I here, “Tom Thompson, you are a triathlete”
When I stop i(t takes a few seconds to realize that you can stop), I have been moving nonstop for more than six hours and burned through some 6000 plus calories in that time. It was when they put the finishers medal on my neck that I realize I can stop. I look at my family and I begin to cry. Not from the pain, but from the shear joy of the accomplishment. Out there, it is just me and my brain trying to tell my body that it does not hurt. That it is not time to quit, that I can do this. Looking at my medal, I had accomplished an amazing feat of endurance, strength, and nutrition management. And I had raised funds that would be donated in my Dad’s name.
Once I had picked up a couple of snacks and made it out to my family, they were all smiles and handshakes. All I wanted to do was hug my best friend. The picture above, with my half smile, was all the energy I had. As I approached Dawn with my eyes teary and my arms open, she looks at me and says, “ewe…. you are all sweaty’. I guess I will have to wait for my congratulatory hug ’til later. But first, take me to the nearest restaurant and I am going to eat whatever I want. HAHA.
Have a great rest of your day y’all.
3 thoughts on “Day 17 – Describe The Happiest Day of Your Life.”
Look at you go, you awesome thing!!! A triathlon! That’s AMAZING!!! You look exhausted but estatic in that picture with your wry smile. I loved hearing that your family members were all along your course cheering you on. Tears in my eyes as I imagine your Dad looking down on you and thinking “way to go”. This is such a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing it!
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Thank you Janet. From the outside looking in, it sounds awful, right? But it was such a good day on so many different levels that it will always be one of my top moments in life for personal accomplishment and happiness. Nameste
This one brings back so many “feels” and I believe that you forget to mention throwing your sweaty head sponge at one of the kids?! Haha