I have always dreamed of competing in an Ironman Triathlon. When I discovered that Singapore would be hosting the first Ironman Singapore 70.3 I registered.
Only after clicking the "Submit" button did I consider the amount of time and energy it would take to train for the swim and run portions while cycle touring through Southeast Asia.
Somehow I managed to squeeze in afternoon runs after hours of pedaling and found places along the coast of Malaysia to flap around in the sea to prepare for the swim.
As the big day approached and fellow competitors began arriving in Singapore I discovered that I would be the only athlete doing the cycling leg on mountain bike with touring racks.
The gun sounded exactly on time and thousands of swimmers took to the diesel streaked sea.
Among the swimmers in the fist wave was a young man who appeared tentative from the start. While the entire field rushed ahead he slowly waded into the surf and began performing what would best be called a bobbing dog-paddle.
Looking on from shore as the clock counted down to two minutes remaining for my wave, I admired his courage to brave the rough waters of the Straits of Singapore with such meager swimming skills. Looking toward land I searched for Amanda in the crowd as a collective gasp spread through those looking toward the sea.
The dog-paddler had gone under. A hundred feet off-shore a tiny hand waived frantically to the safety kayakers. The surf was rough and the kayaks were focused on the faster swimmers. With just a minute until our start my entire wave group yelled to get the attention of the rescuers. Two or three competitors sprinted from shore to attempt the rescue, prompting a warning from the unaware announcer, "Wait, Wait, we still have 45 seconds."