I was perusing Facebook and came across two posts in my timeline that got me thinking about how I got to where I am today and how I got started in this lifestyle. It has been an unbelievable journey and it amazes me that it has just started. Along the way I have met and spoken to some of the nicest people. I have made lifetime friendships through this sport and hope that I can give back even a fraction of what I have received.
If you know my story you know I’m from New York. There was not a lot of triathlon going on in my life when I lived there. I knew of Kona and had watched it on TV every year along with an airing or two of Escape From Alcatraz. I was amazed by these athletes but not enough to try the sport. I was much more into the traditional sports of football, baseball, basketball and hockey. If somebody had told me to run I would have had the excuse that we hear all the time: I can’t run that far.
I then began training for a half-marathon through the urging of my ex-wife. Before that first half-marathon took place she had moved out of the house and my marriage was in the final throes of falling apart. What came from it though was a passion to run. I loved that race even if it took me 2 hours and 18 minutes and felt like I was going through mud. I immediately registered for races in Philadelphia and Miami.
In that same time span I met Karen and began a long-distance relationship with her. After months of flying from New York to Dallas I finally packed up all my stuff and left the Big Apple headed to a place where I knew nobody and had no safety net. The ultimate jump off the cliff for a girl. When I got here I quickly found that if you don’t run at 5am it is just too hot to run at any other time.
It was then that I made a bunch of friends through playing co-ed softball. Slow pitch with friends and beer. Yeah, that sounds good sign me up. During this time I met a friend, Jill, who said she was going to do a triathlon. Thinking back to those days of watching it on TV I agreed to do it with her. As is usual with these things I registered and began training. Jill never signed up, but I was in. I was ready to go.
My training consisted of swimming the exact distance of the race, which was 250 yards and getting out. No drills. No research. Just get in the water and get out after 250 yards. I had purchased a used bike for $500 and knew nothing about aero bars, cranks, torpedo water bottles. Get on bike, pedal bike…..hope not to crash. Running…..I had that. I was a runner.
Part-way through that first race I started to walk the swim (it was in a 4 foot pool so I was good…..although there is a parallel to IMTX where I walked when I first entered the canal and saw others walking) then jumped on the bike and freedom. I loved it. The run was easy for me and I fell in love, but I had other plans. I wanted to run my first marathon that November and put triathlon on the sidelines.
It was when that marathon was over I was going to take triathlon a bit more seriously. I started swimming more, biking more and running more. I was in but I hated my swimming (something’s never change I guess.) I wanted to get better and one day Karen got tired of me complaining about the swim and handed me a pamphlet to a coach. I tossed it aside knowing that I could do this on my own. Two to three weeks later and the swim speed still didn’t exist that I picked up the phone and called Coach. Match made in heaven.
Claudia got out of her car at the same time I pulled in. To say she was a firecracker of energy would be an understatement. She was more like a pack of C4. The energy was oozing from her pores and when she took out her helmet from the Warrior Dash to show me she just came in first place I could not stop laughing. This meeting was to be more of an interview of her than of me, but I think it turned out to be whether or not she could work with me because I knew I could be coached by her.
I told her my goal of competing at 70.3 Ironman California and how much time we had and what other races I wanted to do. After a year of racing sprints and my first Olympic distance goal came my first Half-Ironman. I fell in deeper love with the sport after that race and almost immediately registered for 70.3 San Juan. Later in 2011 I registered and competed in 70.3 Austin. A lifetime of competing and training was being fostered.
My life has changed tremendously since that first triathlon:
- Just moved to Dallas and knew nobody. Now I am married and have a terrific circle of friends.
- Still working for a New York based company. Now a partner in a web design and internet marketing firm (we are hiring by the way), owner of my own Herbalife business, partner in a soon to be finished nutrition club called Tri Nutrition and running coach business.
- I was the king of grilling meat and drinking beer. Have been a non-drinking vegetarian for nearly 1.5 years.
- No triathlon experience. Today an Ironman and by November will be a 2x Ironman.
- A Trek 1000 bike, no wetsuit. Today I have 2 wetsuits, a Specialized Transition Comp and my eyes on a Kestrel.
- No idea who knew anything about triathlon. Today I regularly exchange emails and texts with friends about the sport. Jeff has already begun to adjust my bike setup for IMAZ so I can fly on the course.
There are so many other things that this post would wind up being the size of War and Peace that I’m going to end it there. Needless to say I have embraced this change and looking forward to more change. There are so many people who I cannot wait to meet that have come to my life through this blog and sport.