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That's what motivated John Carson, a triathlete who was struck by an SUV during a training ride just a mile from his home in Long Island, New York. He suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. Carson threw himself into rehab, and (you know where this is going) within a few months, he stunned doctors by slowly, carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Carson still lacks sensation in his feet—his spinal surgeon refers to him as a "walking quadriplegic"—but just one year after his accident, Carson competed in the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman. He then raced in this year's Boston Marathon and, last weekend, in the Coeur d'Alene Ironman in Idaho.
Carson's near-miraculous recovery story provides inspiration for anyone facing insurmountable obstacles. But what really struck us was what Carson decided to do after he exceeded the expectations of his doctors, his family and himself. Carson told The New York Times last week that he was planning to retire from Ironmans after the Coeur d'Alene.
"Racing used to be the most important thing in my life," said Mr. Carson. "But ... this is a very selfish sport. I've done enough. That five or six hours I spend on a bike Saturday mornings, the run on Sunday, I want to take that time I'd be spending out there and put it to better use."
Carson, now 30, told The Times he would rather devote his energy to his wife, his family and his fundraising work with the Reeve Foundation.
It sounds as if his epiphany came not when he lost his physical abilities, but when he regained them. He reminded us that even when we go beyond where we thought we could...we still might need to go a little farther to get where we want to be.
Celebrate the holiday weekend early with something special just for you...
La Sardina Camera, $59. The nautical packaging is inspired by vintage sardine cans, but instead of fish you'll find 35 mm film inside. Perfect whether you're on land or at sea this summer.
Violent LIps American Flag Temporary Lip Tattoos, $14.99 for 3. Red lipstick is always festive, but for a very patriotic pout come Monday press on one of these.
Simeli Dress Guards, $85. Not only will these colorful crocheted (crocheted!) wheel guards keep your clothes from getting splattered with mud, but they'll instantly dress up your bike. [via Honestlywtf.com]
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock SPF 50, $10.99. No more excuses--now you can reapply every two hours without even drying off. Earning a gold star from your derm has never been easier.
We found this unique gallery of literary bathing beauties, which includes everyone from blond-blond bombshell Sylvia Plath to the always-debonair Truman Capote (who appears to have accessorized his Speedo with a headband). Next time you get the jitters staring at your itty-bitty bikini, channel your favorite smart (and sexy) writer—after all, Ernest Hemingway obviously wasn't afraid to let it all hang out! And of course, don't forget to pack your favorite beach read.
For more confidence-boosting bathing suit tips, keep reading:
Find the perfect swimsuit for your shape; plus, snag one that's affordable and flattering.
Cruise ship kitchen: Zimmerman begins cooking some foods a couple of days in advance, such as short ribs.
Your kitchen: Consider making long-braised or roasted meats. They can be made ahead and reheated the day of your event.
Cruise ship kitchen: Leypold knows 70 percent of his guests will order lobster if it's on the menu.
Your kitchen: Most people will splurge at a party, so if you're offering a choice of chicken or steak, prepare by having more steak on hand than chicken.
[After the jump, what you can learn from making soup for 1,100]
Here, four restaurants that have been bitten by the Cheetos bug—plus a recipe from one of them.
Restaurant: The Blue Piano, Miami
Cheeto dish: The Chester Cheetah
What it is: Mac 'n' cheese made with Fontina, Edam, burrata and Cheddar topped with a Cheetos crumb topping.
[Next: More ways chefs are using the vending-machine classic]
I have this idea. I've had it for a while. It's a good one. Are you ready? A trampoline amusement park. You're probably thinking, "I want to go there." And you might also be thinking, "Lawsuit waiting to happen." And to that I say...well, it's possible that you're right. The thing about my trampoline amusement park is that I think it would be a fun place to visit, but that doesn't mean I have any desire to invest in real estate or equipment or liability insurance or even, for that matter, the time it takes to do a Google search showing me I would apparently have a number of competitors.
Sure, there have been a lot of surprise homecoming videos out there that make us glad to be humans on this big, confusing planet. But what this brother did at his sister's commencement—with the help of the college dean at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo—made us sob (quietly, ducking below computer screen) with happiness.
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Celebrate June 28th with some wacky math. How to honor—and understand—Tau Day (Hint: It's a cousin of pi)
Get ready for the Fourth (without a stove). How to make a stars-and-stripes hat for your pooch
Prepare yourself for the airport. How to laugh at holiday travel...for once
The Two-Minute To-Do: Mark your calendar for Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. How to watch it live