- BT Mentor Program
- General Discussion
- Iron Distance
- Other Resources
- Site Issues
2021-10-07 5:33 PM
Subject: My Introduction
I don't know how to make a short introduction, but I'll try and if you want you can read my book below.
The gist of it is that I am a 45 year old navy veteran with a wife, 3 kids and 1 grandchild who has adapted his body to burning fat for fuel over the past couple years and got into multi-sport/triathlon a little over a year ago.
If that intro wasn't enough, keep reading.
I got into triathlon by accident. A little over two years ago I was very overweight and basically sedentary. I was the guy who said in my younger years "I only run twice a year because the navy makes me do it." When I got out of the navy I had for sure ran my last mile. I wasn't against working out, in fact I was sort of a gym rat. I would spend an hour and a half every day lifting weights, but I hated running with every ounce of my being. I was honorably discharged from military service in October 2006 after nearly 8 years of service. Fast forward to Sept. 2019.
I had just shut the doors to a small company I started because, at the time I was tired of working for a corporate giant. I didn't realize the amount of stress that came with owning a business, nor did I know the affect stress has on cortisol. A couple of my clients knew I was not happy and made me offers which I eventually accepted one of them. Little did I know COVID-19 was about to hit and my company probably would not have survived. So, there I was starting a new job managing environmental processes in a hospital. Middle-aged, overweight and generally not feeling very good about decisions I had made throughout my life. A colleague whom I had known for nearly a decade recognized my unhappiness and low energy and offered me an alternative lifestyle to what I had been doing. I only knew about low carb/high fat because of this colleague, but I set out to do some research. I spent a few weeks learning about it and decided I'd give it 8 weeks and then reassess. I think I lost somewhere in the area of 20 lbs. in my first month, but more amazing was how I felt. In Oct. 2019 I started walking whenever possible. I would go to the restroom at the one farthest from my office. After about 6 weeks I knew I had found the dietary lifestyle I was going to live by for the rest of my life.
After losing about 40-50 lbs. I decided to (gasp) try running. I had been walking a lot and for long stretches (at least what I thought was long stretches). I decided on a 1.5 mile treadmill run because that was the distance I had to run twice a year for my physical readiness test in the navy. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it wouldn't be the 9:36 I ran it in when I got out of bootcamp, lol. It took me 18 minutes and change to do it. I was mildly dejected, but I knew I wanted to be in better shape for my family, so I kept running. This was in February 2020 and COVID shutdowns were about to hit. Since I now work in a hospital and because I work with building environmental systems I was one of the very few people who did not either get laid off or furloughed. Our employee fitness center is the only one I know of that didn't shut down, so I kept hitting the treadmill almost every day.
In June I was perusing Facebook and an ad came up for a 5k,10k and half marathon that was to be held in July here in Chattanooga. I thought to myself "a half marathon would be a good thing to shoot for." Little did I know pretty much all races were cancelled because of COVID. I went to the race site and registered for the half. I had never competed in a running race before. I didn't have a run coach or even training partner. I just went to the treadmill 4+ times per week and ran. Race day arrived and I was a little nervous since I had never done this before. I was down somewhere between 70-80 lbs. though and significantly faster than I was when I started running 5 months prior. When I completed the run my wife and daughters were there to greet me. It was a nice sense of accomplishment and it showed my daughters what hard work can do. That afternoon I got on Facebook and posted a before pic of myself, which is what most of my friends knew me to look like and a pic of me at the finish line. Remember COVID shutdowns were just starting to lift, so few people knew what I was doing. I received tremendous response from people as I posted the pics and my story of how I got there.
Now is when triathlon found me. A friend of mine who I knew ran marathons PM'd me and asked if I'd ever thought about doing an Ironman. This was laughable at the time, but it did make me think about triathlon. I started reading about triathlon and learned there are manageable distances for someone like me. In August 2020 I got a membership at a pool and started teaching myself how to swim via YouTube University. I also started cycling a bit on my aluminum road bike I had bought years prior because I though I would use it. I found a triathlon that was tentative in October 2020 just outside of Knoxville, TN. I registered for the Olympic distance. As race day approached I just kept training, and then a couple weeks before the race they announced it was a go.
Up until this point my training consisted of pool swimming, treadmill running and flat greenway cycling along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. My wife and I went up for packet pickup on Friday before the race. We drove the bike course and a new anxiety hit me. This was hilly! My wife looked at me while I was driving, asked if I was ok and told me I didn't have to do it. I just told her "no, I'll be fine" not really believing that myself. The next morning I was anxious in both a good and bad way. I was going to give this a go no matter what, and I needed to be fine with whatever the result was. My wife was there to encourage me the whole way. I only saw her at transition, but it was nice to see her. The swim was rough, but just because I'm a slow swimmer. I transitioned to the bike and left T1. The first hill was only about 5 miles into the course and then steady hills for another 6-7 miles before a few miles of flat and then back the same way we came. I saw several people walking their bikes up the hills. I was determined that in my lowest gear I would just keep peddling, and that's what I did. I was not used to this type of riding nor did I care how far back I was getting. I just wanted to finish. When I completed the bike course I wasn't worried about the 10k. It's just a 10k, right. I had been doing brick workouts, but those hills zapped my legs. I ran a pretty slow 10k, but I ran it. I finished in just under 3:20 which I had no idea if that was good or bad. I knew there were only a few ladies left on the run course after me, but I was proud of what I had accomplished.
The experience of that Olympic triathlon had me hooked. I had found something I loved doing. I didn't know what was to come, but I knew Ironman 70.3 was next. At the end of the year some races looked like they were opening up, so I registered for Ironman70.3 Monterrey, Mx and Ironman70.3 Gulf Coast. In January I was done with the outdoor riding. I bought a Saris H3 and got the Rouvy app for indoor training. I had no idea what impact that was going to have on me. I also set a goal to beat my boot camp time on the run. I did that run (my fastest mile and a half) at 22 years old, I was now 44. I decided I wanted to beat it before I hit 45. I was also down to 165 lbs. by now and wasn't going to lose any more weight. In fact, since increasing my training I've gained about 5 lbs. back.
As race day in Monterrey approached I was getting super excited. The race was just after my 15 wedding anniversary and we were planning to take a nice long trip to Mexico for that in April and at the end I was going to do the half IM. This was not to be. Because of local complications due to COVID-19 the race was postponed until a TBD date. This was disappointing because we wanted to go to Mexico, I wanted to race but our safety is more important than any of that. We cancelled everything and I deferred to 2022.
Next up was Ironman70.3 Gulf Coast on May 15th. I had a 2 week vacation planned for that starting with the race on the first few days of being there. Just days before we left for the race I decided it was time to go for my boot camp PR. I hit that run as hard as I could and ran a 9:22 mile and a half, so that hurdle was behind me, time to focus on Ironman. I was so excited for the race to start, but I had no idea what it was like being in the water with that many people. I got smacked, punched, goggles knocked off my face, you name it, if there was a way to beat someone up in the water I got it. The swim was my normal slow paced swim. I tried focusing on the interesting parts of the swim, such as the schools of fish that you could see swimming beneath us. As I got out of the water I was super wobbly, but I just went slow up to T1 and took my wetsuit off slowly. Now, I have been working the bike because I felt like that's where my biggest margin of gains could be made. I've always enjoyed cycling, but usually just a nice slow ride. Rouvy got me competitive in a way I didn't know existed. As I got on the bike every person I saw I felt like I needed to pass them because of how they treated me in the water. As if all of them were trying to beat me up, lol. I started passing people by the tens which quickly turned into hundreds. I didn't know what took over me, but out of nowhere I was competitive. As I got off the bike and looked down to stop my Garmin I was hoping for a 3 hour bike course, but when I saw 2:41 I almost starting baby crying right out there in transition. I hadn't ever come close to that during training. I started the run and it was basically what I expected. I did the run in a little under 2 hours. I didn't know how the finish line was going to be, but I knew all I wanted to do was give my wife and daughters a hug. That would have to wait since they weren't allowed into the host hotel parking lot since we didn't stay there. Once I found them she told me I had completed it in 5:35:05 which was far better than the 6 hours I expected. That's right, triathlon had me hooked again.
The next goal for me was the full. There were no full races available and then all of a sudden Ironman Indiana became a thing, so I signed up. It wasn't until October, and I had a couple more races before then, but I'd just start training for the full and let what happens at the other races happen. As I write this I am less than a week off that race. I had no idea what a difference doing a full would be like compared to a half. Everything was more difficult. For a swimmer like me it's twice the beating. The bike portion was the easiest, but 112 miles is no joke. Luckily I'm strong enough of a cyclist that I got off the bike with enough time to leisurely walk the marathon. I ended up very slow jogging most of the marathon. The second half I walked the hills and aid stations. The finish line atmosphere was waaayyy better than IM70.3 Gulf Coast. I could see my wife from the chute and was able to go get hugs from the family right away this time. I finished in 13:03:01.
2021-10-07 11:03 PM
in reply to: Jared Fink
Subject: RE: My Introduction
Wow, thanks Jared!
Would you mind if I copy/pasted your story into an article in our First Timer's section? Then it will be visible to more people.
2021-10-12 9:18 AM
in reply to: Jared Fink
Subject: RE: My Introduction
Started by Fergyferg18
Views: 295 Posts: 3
2021-08-12 12:55 PM BlueBoy26
Started by JunkinsMD
Views: 379 Posts: 2
2021-05-20 12:46 PM andrewtaylor33
Started by Ryanb843FL
Views: 331 Posts: 3
2021-03-14 7:32 PM McFuzz
Started by Lmccrtny
Views: 804 Posts: 4
2021-03-11 12:32 AM claramax600
Started by LeBonheurMimi
Views: 646 Posts: 3
2020-12-29 9:21 PM McFuzz