When one of the most grueling races in the world begins in North Idaho Sunday morning one California man plans to cherish every single painstaking moment of the competition.
46 year old Steve Clements signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene a year ago, but the motivation to finish 140 miles of swimming, biking and running started years ago.
"Back in 1999, my girlfriend committed suicide at that point I realized that this isn't forever," Clements said.
"I just decided that I really don't want to waste any more time," he said.
A year later, Clements' new girlfriend, pregnant with their son, was diagnosed with cancer.
"She died of cancer while she was pregnant. That was 367 days after the first one so within a years time I lost two women to death," he said.
Despite the tragedies, Clements remained positive, eventually getting married and welcoming a baby girl into the world.
"I just decided to move forward and really take hold of life and start doing things and realize hey this is not forever. And sitting on the couch is no way to go through life and to get out there and do it," he said.
However, life threw Clements another curve ball.
"I was diagnosed with a brain tumor," he said.
"I was really lucky they got it out and there was no further complications but it was pretty scary there for awhile, especially having a newborn," he said.
Clements has competed in a half Ironman, but this will be his first full 140 mile race. He said he will reflect on his past to push him through.
"When I find myself struggling I just remember the girl that was dying in the hospital of cancer and what she was feeling and I think to myself well this is nothing, this is easy compared to what she was feeling," he said.
Clements wife, Tina and their two daughters will also be cheering him on. His mom also traveled to Couer d'Alene to watch him cross the finish line.