Starting to Blog and starting in Ironman Triathlons

Why I started Blogging

I am brand new at blogging, so please be patient as I learn about this new world. The decision to start, didn't come easy, I thought about it for quite some time and had to justify it somehow. Finally I came up with 4 main reasons:

1. Better way of remembering. Looking back at some pictures, my wife and I tried to remember why or how we did some of the things we did during our trips, hikes, travels and wished we could have written it down, to remember. Pictures help, but there was something missing. When people ask us about our trips, it would also be nice to be able to tell them with details what we had enjoyed and disliked the most.

2. I was told I should. A friend of mine, Katie Braun, once told me that I should start a blog to document all of the training locations and experiences that I've had during my training for an Ironman triathlon. At the time, I really thought it would be a waste of time and that nobody would read it, but after thinking about it a little more I was able to come up with reason #3.

3. Motivate other people. When I tell people that I have done an Ironman triathlon in 2012 and that I continue to train to compete in more, they ask me: "Why?" Then they say: "I could never do that", I can now say with confidence that anyone can do a full 140.6 Ironman. I have seen some unbelievable people, people with disabilities and elderly people not only compete, but be competitive in Ironman evens. I say: "As long as you have the will and desire, you can accomplish anything." You don't necessarily need a lot of time, just be smart about how you utilize the time training and most importantly have the desire to complete one. So, if I can help 1 person to achieve that goal or at least motivate them to start exercising or improve in any sporting event, I think the time writing a blog is absolutely worth it. I was lucky enough to have great friends guiding me through the first initial steps and training for my first Ironman, I would like to return the favor to someone else, if I can.

4. Sharing experiences with Friends and Family and control of media. For the people that know me, I am a bit of a photography geek. Posting pictures on Facebook is OK, but usually there isn't a story behind it, albums simply show facets of the experiences. I also want to be able to upload high quality pictures and videos (in the future) and have complete control over the pictures. Once you put a picture on FB you are losing some of the ownership of your pictures. I hope I can control that better here. Our family lives far and most of our friends do also, this is a great way to share our experiences with all of them.

Let's get started with my story: First thing I can tell you, is that when I first started training for the 2012 Louisville Ironman, I weighed 210 lbs (95 kg). For someone that is 5'7" (170cm) tall, I don't need to tell you, that is very heavy. Before Ironman Panama the scale showed 178 lbs (80 kg), that is a 30+lbs difference and it shows with the time and difficulty of the event. The heavier you are the slower you are, therefore it takes you longer to finish the event. The longer you are out there the hotter it gets and the more nutrition you need to consume, making the event harder.

As you can see in the picture, I am almost as big my boy Jim Beam, this is a picture from 2011. How did I get that big? If you were a collegiate athlete or someone that trained every day when you were younger and then abruptly stop, it is very difficult to maintain your weight. I obviously wasn't able to maintain my wight after 3 years of swimming for the University of Louisville. So, if you are still in shape and you are about to be done or quit, make sure that you don't consume the same amount of calories as when you were training. I know this is common sense, but I would have liked to have someone there remind me of that when I stopped. Gaining the weight is very simple, losing it on the other hand, is not.

So, how did I get started with Ironman triathlons?

Two of my very good friends (Ryan and Tim), the ones that guided me through my first Ironman, had completed the Louisville Ironman in 2009. Pretty much every time we would get together, they would take the opportunity to tell me that they were "Ironmen" and I wasn't. It got to a point that, one time when we had a couple of drinks in us, a bet came about. They bet me that I couldn't finish a full Ironman. I think that if I would have been sober I would have not accepted the bet. In 2008 the 3 of us competed in a 70.3 triathlon in Muncie, IN. We were pathetic, not because of the time, but because we walked the whole run and arrived after 6 hours.

I can vividly remember, the 3 of us were walking together at around mile 4-5, trying to get through the run (or walk) and finish, when we saw a lady on her way back probably on mile 9 and she said: "Come on guys...don't be like that!" That has stuck with me since then. It was so bad that when we finally arrived at the finish line, my wife told us that she thought we had died, it had taken us that long. So with that as my only long distance triathlon experience I guess it was a safe bet to take for them. In our group of friends we "talk" a lot, so until we actually sign up for the even it was all talk. The talk stopped one day, when I got an email from Ryan with his confirmation, a couple of days later I got Timmy's email. At that point it was time for me to man up and sign up.

For those of you that don't know, once you pay Ironman for an event you are not getting your money back. If you withdraw from the race, by sending an email, will reimburse 24% so you pretty much have to race unless you get injured. Otherwise you just threw $400+ into the garbage.
A couple of days after Tim's email, I talked to my wife about signing up. She said it was OK, but that I had to finish it and not be as pathetic as the first triathlon. Christelle, my wife, is very blunt but effective, she is my biggest motivator and inspiration. The things she is able to accomplish while I travel with the two girls is amazing. I am very thankful to have her in my life. Later that night, I signed up and sent the email out to my two accomplices. I was very scared, not excited. 140.6 miles is a long way.

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Thank you for reading!

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