Yes. I’ve known a large number of great people over the last 35+ years of my life. Many of them came into my life or I lost track of during one phase or another. One question I get a lot when people catch up to me is “How did you get into Ironman?” Being an engineering type with a simple story to tell, I thought I’d write an article for the world and share when people inquire. It goes something like this:
The whole Ironman dream started back in the 80’s watching somebody crawl across the finish line on NBC. I remember thinking that I loved to swim and bike, but couldn’t run 10k much less a marathon. So it just kinda sat out there. Tennis was my strong suit and I stayed pretty fit up until 96 or so and then drank too much beer and took on the desk job. Bad combination.
So in 2003 my dad passed away, my job sucked (good pay, no expectations, but it wasn’t challenging or remotely rewarding), and one day I felt a pain on the left side of my chest. No big deal it turned out, but my doctor said I needed to lose weight and eat better or that story would change. So I started going to the gym at lunch and eating a little better and dropped 30 pounds in roughly 3 or 4 months. That made it easier to run and I started doing 5ks. Then 10k’s, Then half marathons and finally I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006.
With food poisoning. Yeah – food poisoning 3 days before my first marathon. I should’ve been eating 2500 calories each of those 3 days and instead barely ate 1000 each day. But somehow I got up and toed the line – and the finish was spectacular. It was 30 minutes after my finish when I was still sick (i’ll spare the details) that I realized I should raise the bar much higher than it had been. I am capable of pushing myself harder, farther and through more pain, than the typical person. I had done a short course triathlon earlier in 2006, but this was the moment where I realize anything was possible.
As of the date of this post, I’ve done 2 Ironman triathlons – Lake Placid, NY and Madison, WI. 4 or 5 half iron races. 15 marathons in 8 states (it’s a great way to see the country I figured). One of those marathons was Goofy’s Challenge in Disney where you run the 1/2 marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday for a total of 39.3 miles. I have pictures from just about all of these if you’re really interested.
It’s absolutely insane to type all that out. But in a nutshell, that’s what keeps me waking up every day and going to sit in an office. It goes beyond just being my stress relief but is something that makes me absolutely giddy. I still remember the first time I got on my bike and road to Stone Mtn Park from my house as a kid. And as an adult I remember getting on my bike and riding to the Alabama state line and back.
I guess I’m still a computer geek. I like tinkering with code and solving problems, playing games, and soaking in the sun. Now it’s your turn – what’s your story?