Today Luke turns 17 months old, and yes I have changed a lot in the past 17 months, and now I can actually open my heart and explain why, since this Journey is all starting to make sense now.
I have raced professional Ironman for 12 years, I was pushing my body to the limit day in and day out. I have a business helping people push their limits. Since 2012 I have been looking for a bigger purpose but I did not know what it was.
In October of 2015 and in the heart of Ironman training for both Carol and I, we found out that we were expecting our first child. From that time my whole life started to shift. November 2015 I went to Ironman Mexico, I lost my water bottle, I dehydrated and I stopped, and you know what, I was ok because my mind was getting into another place.
I decided at the last minute to race 140.6 hits Naples, I won, I was super happy and I dedicated that to Luke, since I had with me during the race a picture of one of his ultrasounds. Somehow I knew it that would be my last 140.6 distance. I was tired, and I still tried to come back and train hard… it didn’t happen.
July 2016 Luke was born, and that part you already know. What you don’t know, is that I did not workout for a while and to cope with all the news I ate, and I ate… and gain some weight and lot a big chunk of my fitness. Because the truth I was down for a while, because it did not matter if I had won a 140.6, a 70.3, or how fast my best Ironman was, I could not give my muscles to Luke to get better. In fact, the only thing I could do is to give him my love, and my support and that is what I did.
Life as a special need Dad is sinking in, and I would not have changed anything in this journey, you know why? Because I grew so much more, and learned so much about strength in the past 17 months that I did on 10+ years of racing professionally. I am not racing anymore, but all this made me a better coach, and made me improve and change my business to more online coaching. I have also improved my coaching by adding something that I was already doing but in a much deeper level: Life Coaching.
The changes don’t stop here, I also had 2 life dreams and now they are happening. First was to have a foundation, and I created the Go Luke Wygand foundation that have 2 missions, Nemaline Myopathy awareness and our brand new program for Dads (Jedi Dads). Second I wanted to write a book, and so far I wrote 2 books. In fact after I left the hospital and stopped eating so much (LOL) I found a new way to cope; Writing, and now I have 2 other books in the way. I also had a chance to become a Reiki Master, something that was in my mind since 2012… Also I have always been a spiritual person, but Luke’s arrival made me grow even more my spirituality, such as a deeper appreciation for life and the little things that we take for granted such as: Walking, talking, eating, breathing etc…
So yes, I have changed… but my essence is that same. My inner beast is still there, and that is why I am paddle boarding 200 miles for Nemaline Myopathy awareness. The essence is the same, is just my purpose and my mission changed. In fact I don’t even think it changed, I just optimized and found my soul purpose.
I have changed… Thank you Luke my biggest teacher in life!
On February 2nd Rich will be starting a 200 mile stand up paddle, from Lake worth to Key west to raise awareness to Luke's condition, Nemaline Myopathy.