“Anything is Possible.”  This is the mantra of IRONMAN.  Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, IRONMAN events are a test of physical and mental fortitude where individuals look to complete a 2.5 mile (4.8 km) swim, a 112 mile (180 km) bike and 26 mile (42 km) run in a single day event and within a 17 hour cut-off.

This week, I celebrate the one-year anniversary of my own completion of this incredible endeavor.  Growing up an unathletic kid who could barely catch a ball and having a very busy professional and family life, I would never have thought that I could ever hear the words announced as every person crosses the finish line “<Insert Name> you are an IRONMAN!”

You may be wondering, that is great but what does that have to do with a “Wednesdays for Women” blog and what does it have to do with a supply chain company?  Well, there are a few reasons why it is relevant.

IRONMAN isn’t just for athletes.

One of the biggest misconceptions of the world of IRONMAN and the roadblock to many even considering making the journey is the thought “Well I can’t do that.  Those people are special.”  The truth is that “those people” are mostly just all of us.  If you were to attend any one of the dozens of IRONMAN events around the world, the first thing that you will notice about the participating athletes is that they come in all genders, ages, shapes and sizes.  At the 2018 IRONMAN Mt. Tremblant event I completed, there were over 2,700 athletes with only about 30 of them professional triathletes.  The oldest athlete was 78 and the youngest was 18.

IRONMAN is not just for men.

Despite its name – IRONMAN – this athletic challenge is not just a men’s feat to accomplish. Did you know that over a third of the athletes competing at my IRONMAN event were women?  They were wives, sisters, daughters and moms.  They were working women and single moms.  They were thinner and heavier, tall and short, widows and cancer survivors.  In the end, the common link was a desire to achieve something greater than they thought they could.

My IRONMAN journey was shaped by women.

Fab with his family and team of support

My personal journey was especially impacted by a special group of women.  My coach is a three-time IRONMAN World Championship participant which is the famous event that takes place annually in Hawaii.  Like many, she balanced being a wife, a mom and a career.  She guided my journey with an understanding that life must be balanced.  Similarly, my two main training partners are both women with careers and families.  They pushed me to do better and motivated me on those days when I just did not want to put in the time.

On the course it’s up to me to persevere, but the road to success for every competitor is buoyed by their support system and at the heart of mine is my wife. I was on the fence about making the commitment, but she could see the desire and pushed me to reach for my dream.  The patience it took to endure my 6+ hour bike rides and early morning swims should earn its own finisher medal.

At JDA, we talk about our “moonshot” of the autonomous supply chain.  An audacious ambition that cannot happen overnight but will absolutely be achieved through commitment, perseverance and the willingness to reach beyond the ordinary.  I see that as an absolute mirror of my IRONMAN journey.  I wanted to continue to grow, to evolve, to become something more.  In the end I heard the words, “Fab Brasca, you are an IRONMAN!” and that was when I knew that “Anything is Possible.”