THE WOODLANDS, Texas —Everyone has that special list of all the amazing things they want to do and see in their lifetime. What’s on your bucket list? A romantic trip to Paris, a luxurious cruise down the Nile River in Egypt or maybe an all-expense paid NBA Finals courtside experience with friends.
For Pete Osceola III — a Miccosukee resident and Seminole Tribe citizen — one of his lifelong dreams became a reality on May 14 in Texas.
Known to his colleagues as a generous, devoted family man, Pete, a 30-year-old investor, husband and father of four, decided to become an Ironman.
“An Ironman triathlon is arguably the most difficult one-day sporting event in the world,” according to Ironman officials. This year at the Memorial Hermann North American Championship Ironman Texas, the triathlon began with a 2.4-mile swim, immediately followed by a 112-mile bike race and culminated in a 26.2-mile run through The Woodlands, totaling 140.6 miles.
Amid about 3,000 athletes, Pete finished 519th overall and 62nd in the men’s 30-34 age division. He completed the swim in 1 hour, 28 minutes. His bike trek lasted 4 hours, 41 minutes. He crossed the finish line in the marathon run in 4 hours, 10 minutes. In total, he spent more than 10 hours swimming, biking and running in a single day.
“I wanted to see how far I could push my body physically,” Pete said. “A few years ago my brothers and I talked about doing an Ironman. It was on my bucket list of things to do.”
All of his family members can agree on one thing: Pete doesn’t play small in anything he does.
“He picks big goals. When he sets a goal he goes after it and he is very disciplined,” said Keiyale, his youngest sister.
Discipline and determination were certainly qualities needed to accomplish this great feat. Ironman officials recommend beginning training approximately six months to a year in advance of competing in the triathlon. Pete began his training only 16 weeks prior to competing.
“I wanted to do a full Ironman and Texas was the next available one, and I figured the weather was similar to Florida,” Pete said.
Preparing for the race became Pete’s top priority, and through the loving support of his family and generous advice of fellow triathletes he was able to create a system of training that set him up for success.
“It was strenuous on my family life. I owe a lot to my wife (Miranda Tiger). I was training 10 hours and my family made a really big sacrifice. It’s because of them that I was able to compete,” Pete said.
Another obstacle that Pete faced was the uncertainty if his knee would hold up under the strenuous pressure of the competition, due to four previous knee surgeries he sustained during his high school basketball career.
“My son is a self-starter,” said Pete’s father, Pete Osceola Jr. “Not too many people have the stamina, the will or the discipline required to compete. He never gives up. It’s an extension of his Native spirit from our Seminole culture.”
As the triathletes from more than 50 countries gathered to compete, Pete referred back to his tedious physical training and meditating practice to get himself ready. Along the sideline his family cheered as he began his 140.6-mile journey.
“At some point I was honestly thinking ‘please don’t die out here’ but as I neared the end of the race I felt joy and relief, even euphoria,” he said. “I learned that the human body is capable of just about anything and the human spirit might not have any boundaries.”
It all starts with belief in yourself and having a plan of action that aligns with your goals and dreams. What Pete did was not only a huge win for himself but his example has touched the lives of those closest to him.
“My brother found time to train and be a full-time dad. Before, I didn’t think I could work out because I had kids, now I just take them with me,” Jeanie Osceola said. “Pete inspires me as a full-time mom to do the things I want to do no matter what.”
Although severe weather conditions created an added challenge during the triathlon, it did not sway Pete’s determination to complete his dream of becoming an Ironman. After his son completed the race, Pete’s father proudly expressed, “He has made me look like a good father, and in the long run he made himself a better man.”
Havilah Malone is a bestselling author and international speaker who has been featured on TV shows around the world.