This months Why I Tri? features our Ironman from CDA and Canada who had to deal with some extreme conditions from 100 degree weather to wet and cold. They were asked the following question: "What or Who inspired you to keep on moving, racing and persevering?". Regardless of the distance you race, we think you will identify with these truly inspirational athletes. Please note that this is a long post and may require Kleenex.
Mike Raine: " I was afraid of failure and the resulting ridicule from training partners."
Brad Williams: "RTB supporters, racers, the spectators and the volunteers."
Heather Nugent: "I have done 3 Ironman since joining RTB in 2005. Two at CDA old course and this one. This was to date my hardest with the weather and the course. Through out the 3 Ironman it has created some amazing, special friendships! One of those special friend, Kathy Morrisson aka Wonder Woman, became my coach this year. She kept me focused on making sure BeI got through my race on Sunday from start of training to the finish line. When that blowhorn went off it was just GO TIME! Throughout the race I kept saying to myself "Kathy has trained me for this race. This is nothing new!" When I finished I knew I did everything she told me to do from my swimming to riding to running and my nutrition. It felt GREAT! Well I'm sure you have guessed on who helped me keep moving, racing and persevering on that wet, cold and rainy race day! :)"
Roger Zander: "All the rtb jerseys and family both on the course and on the sidelines really makes the day"
Jenn Elton: "My closest friends & parents were here, my husband was racing, and we have been training with fellow racers all summer...they all crossed my mind and inspired me. Seeing so many RTB people was great too!! Quitting was never an option, I reminded myself this is what I have trained for and new it would be tough"
Rhett Elton: "Knowing that my wife (Jennifer Elton) was at the finish line waiting for me pushed me the rest of the way in. My run training schedule was a little relaxed compared to my swim and biking training schedule. I'm still trying to find a way to enjoy running, lol. The memories of all the time spent training with friends and having a great time doing so also helped move me along. In addition to that every time I saw an RTB jersey on the run course I felt energized. Jen, Jen, Brad, Phill, Mark, Mike, Trev and many others including RTB spectators all gave encouraging words. Keep it up; keep moving; You have this and you are looking good... I feel lucky to be apart of such an awesome Tri club. "
Diana Hull: "What kept me moving is all the support from the team on the course. There where so many RTB racers and support crew. Tom and Ann in the village when I was heading out to Pemberton after the first part of the ride with cowbells. The other racers wearing the kit who you knew and didn't know who gave a nod or said some encouraging words. For me the hardest part of an IM is always the run and it was great coming through the village and seeing you and Lisa and Stephanie and farther out Ron and Kristin, but special shout out to Dave Kramer...he was on all different parts of the run course and always had something encouraging to say. Of course the finish line is always a big motivator and for me the medal, seeing everyone there cheering for you. Tom and Ann having a goody from the bakery. Staying to cheer in your team mates and sharing in their triumph as they cross the finish line. Knowing that last year you probably couldn't have finished and thinking about what you can accomplish next year. Training for an Ironman takes a community and I am so happy to have found it with Raise the Bar. There are too many people to name which I have met through RTB which have enriched my life and I am so thankful everyday."
Mark Casey: " There were several groups of people who were my inspiration. First and foremost, my family waiting at the finish line have and will always be my greatest inspiration. I invited all my extended family and friends to track me on race day and even gave them a direct link to athlete tracker. Knowing that they might be tracking me at every check point kept me accountable and moving so I wouldn't disappoint them or myself. Seeing RTB members on the course, especially the run course, was very inspiring. I loved being able to say, "Go RTB" to as many of my fellow RTB members as possible. Last but not least, the volunteers and the people cheering us on the course (especially RTB members and family) were amazing! I completed my first Ironman in Lake Tahoe 2 years ago and don't remember there being this degree of support. Amazing, awesome, and inspiring!"
Jason Tillinghast: "Like every race I'm inspired by the group of people that will be finishing after 16 hours. To me that group is by far the most impressive because they prove to me every time their perseverance is so strong. Most are not what the general public perception considers what an "Ironman," is or looks like, and many fight great physical challenges to get to the finish line. Their mental strength is amazing, and knowing that they will keep pushing, unless pulled, keeps me motivated to finish every race I start."
Cristin Tillinghast: "I was pretty tired from CDA and the Ragnar and I was ready to call it a day at mile 40 on the bike. Then a medic talked me off the ledge and made me laugh. (; I saw him again at the end of the second run loop and I said, "Hey, it's you! Do you remember me from this morning? You talked me out of quitting!!" He then hugged me so tightly and with a huge smile he said, "You're gonna make it! You're my greatest story today!"I also chose to walk with a group of 3 other IM newbies, and I helped to keep us moving by telling them how it feels to finish...and all four of us made it!
My ultimate inspiration is Jason. He's never wavered in his belief that I could do something like this, and even though I'm one of the slowest participants, he always makes me feel like I'm a winner!"
Julie Strong: "John Bahlenhorst and his amazing entourage! John, his family and friends embraced me and was there ever step of the way! They made me laugh, smile, cry tears of joy, comforted me and helped me in every manageable way! How blessed I am to have been taken under johns wing this weekend and exposed to part of his greatness! Dave Kramer he kept me posted on where I was and always encouraging! grateful for his words and voice! Stephanie Grohs, Angie Feser, Catherine Wardell, Mark Edwards, you...Kathy, Lisa, Ron and Kristen Beyorsdorf....Kristen bringing me in the last mile...so grateful! all RTB athletes...heard each one of you in my head as I was running in places where there was no one, nothing. Kept one foot in front of the other."
Steve Barlow: " I like to have a list of names ready for the final miles of the marathon. It helps me to focus on running for a specific person. Lucky for me, my family is big enough that the last 7 miles are covered."
Jill Kramer: "My husband Dave at the aid station, I called to tell him I can't go on. He told me to get back on the bike and start climbing!!! My daughter at the run start running with me saying mom just keep jogging your going to be an Ironman, with tears in her little eyes!!! How could I stop??? "
Linda McCandless: "My mantra is be grateful, joyful and blessed and that is how I aspired to race Whistler. I have so many people in my life that inspire me in so many ways, that is why I am beyond blessed. I am grateful for the capability to compete in this sport and in any type of race maintaining the joy in what you do is so important, because we do this for FUN! Keeping the joy in a race the last 6 miles when you feel noxious is a certain challenge and something I had not ever experienced. Therefore, pulling out all the stops in my gratitude I went down my list several times, and I always run with my grandparents picture on my hat -- They were always my biggest fan, and still are my angels from above!"
Dan Benjamin: "I definately wanted to keep moving along so that I could see my family and they would be assured that I wasn't dead. On a more serious note, I really want my girls to grasp that they can accomplish anything if they are dedicated, put their mind to it, and do the hard work to prepare.
I have also gotten into to doing a Starbucks gift card thing for volunteers. This race I had 8 gift cards to hand out (1 before the race, 1 in T1, 1 at Bike Special Needs, 1 at T2, 1 at Run Special Needs, 2 randomly during the run, and 1 at the finish line). I cannot tell you how motivating it is to know that once I reach each one of those points, I have something to give a volunteer and hopefully brighten their day."
John Colvard: "For me there was never a question of finishing or a motivational issue. I knew how to deal with the heat and mentally dug back into my past Army life of times in which I successfully endured heat and humidity worse than what CDA could bring. I had back up plans that included jumping in the lake and stopping to rest knowing that I had a few hours to spare if needed. I simply accepted the fact it would be a slower day and resigned from the beginning that there would be no PR. After 3 flats on the bike, I knew the day would be longer. As such my drive was changed to just enjoying the day. So I chatted with other participants, volunteers and the crowds a little more. Unlike my norm, I even did some high fives down the shoot and gave Kathleen a kiss approaching the finish line. In the end my goals were met - have fun and complete IM #3. "
Ryan Downey: " My family and being able to see them out on the course. Like Dan said, being able to set a great example to your children of just sheer determination and being able to do something extraordinary when you put your mind to it. Seeing and competing with so many RTB'ers was just flat out Awesome and inspiring all in it self- plus all the high-five'n! Then lastly, was my buddy and training partner Ray. He's pushed me in so many ways and it was so fitting that we found each other early on in the run and were able to do it together and finish together- just like all of our training runs, it felt like just another one of those. Plus it was cool hearing everyone cheering us on on....hey it's Ray and Ryan, good teamwork, teammates getting it done, you two again, whose going to win between you two!"
Dave Morrell: "What keeps me going is a strong faith in a redeeming God. That five years ago I was stressed out of my mind, physically sick working to keep four companies alive and going through a divorce after 30 yrs of marriage.A good counselor said Dave let the chaos go and find an outlet he suggested Triathlons I don't swim I don't bike and I don't run what's fun about that. But that suggestion changed my life forever. So here I am humbled by the past recreating my future and thanking all of my team mates from a grateful heart and I am at peace out there.
So many great stories on perseverance and mine was just being thankful for all that I have been blessed with my constant mantra is I am a machine keep it fueled and it will keep on keeping on. I loved one ladies comment I am like a lawnmower if I stop I will not start again! I did notice that there were a lot of mature guys out there in my age group six total RTB men 55-59 that's a great thing I even commented to Brian what's up old man which he shouted back who you calling old love the camaraderie.
The spectators were the best Kathy and her camera Stephany Dave K shouting keep it up your doing great when I could hardly run to the other NW Tri teams that shouted encouraging words as I went by all of you rock. But it is a true test of character to persevere through difficult elements that we as humans have no control over, that's what makes us special, to look at a storm and say do your worst but I will prevail because I Am An Ironman!"
Jenn Edwards: "Honoring those that support me, recognizing that if I quit then as soon as I was warm I'd regret it, wanting to earn another finish, wanting to honor my training self that put a ton of time in prep for this race."
Brian Gaffin: " Too many people and actions to fully list, but two stick out. Always seeing my wife at T2 - who always reminds me to get on with it! Secondly seeing the RTB team out on the road (competitors, family, and volunteers) - there's always an encouraging word and I even love it when I hear other fans comment that there are so many RTBers out on the course!"
Kari Vreugenhil: " Loved seeing my husband and kids, they sacrificed a lot so I could train. Many missed soccer games, swim meets and special family time, every time I saw them I knew I had to cross that finish line as my way of saying "thanks" for all their love, support and encouragement. All the RTB support crews out there cheering was awesome and seeing Lisa and Kathy always gave me a boost, especially Kathy giving me a hug that gave me so much strength to keep to going."
Eugene Partridge: "I felt at IMCDA that the pending heat might favor me a bit. The forecast was a Temp of 106! I had done well in races where the temperature had been 90 plus degrees. I learned very quickly that once the Temp was over 95 fht, that all bets were off. This was a different kind of heat. This was more pain than I trained for, after mile 90 of the ride the heat for me was very tough to overcome. this point in the race was the down hill decent. I could not go arrow because my hands and arms were cramping, as well of course with my quads, Was I "dehydrated"? I guess so, My fitness could have been better, but acceptable I felt .
I cramped severely at bike to run transition and was very nauseated, but during my transition all my cramps went away, go figure, and never returned. I ran the first 12 K of the run, and felt OK but not good. I began to develop nausea and severe fatigue at this point, retrospectively ,I was developing a heat injury much like concussion only heat induced. I had heat exhaustion but not heat stroke, so I new if I did a better job hydrating that I could overcome the heat. At this point an official came by and offered some of us on the run to "quit" He was summarily dismissed. "Go away" or something like that was the unanimous response.
At this point I was running and walking but moving forward, I new it would be a long day. I noticed my urine was dark at mile 12 so began to forced down more ice water some I absorbed but much of it just sitting in my stomach, nausea waves persisted . I completed the last 10 K without walking as the sun went behind the hills and clouds and now it was reported to a cool 101 F. I pushed on and completed IMCDA in over 14.5 hours, my slowest IM,
I am still recovering from the heat but have more good days in training now but I must be careful training in the heat, most of my runs are early morning runs now.
People ask me was it worth it? All that suffering? Well! It was a lot more fun than suffering, Yes! some tough moment's, and slowest race yet, but well worth it. Not my PR, but my greatest race yet because I persevered on a very hot day.
Advise? Don't behave like me, do train hard but, try to have some fun along the way because it is as much the journey, as the race. Hang out with other triatheletes because they are winner's champions and true friends, "Go RTB"."
Ben Chastain: "You have 29 other athletes answering this question, so I am going to give you the really short version. As you know, there is a much greater story behind “Why I Tri”! One day, I will try to get time to effectively articulate and document Why I Tri, as I would like to share my story, as I think it may and could inspire others to push harder than they do. We all need proper motivation, but change only happens when we are ready for it to happen. I finally became ready to change in 2009.
So, to answer your question, you know part of the answer. Being pulled off the course in CDA after spending 14 hours out there in that brutal heat, completing 127.8 miles, and knowing in my heart I could have gone all the way was devastating. I made a 4 minute timing mistake, that just haunted me and I had to get it done. With the support of my wife, family, friends, and teammates, I decided to sign up for Whistler at the last minute to become an Ironman. Despite my fears of the tough, hilly bike course, rain, head winds, choppy waters, I knew in my soul, I would finish IM Canada. Everything was going well until halfway through run course, low back sore, IT band and hamstrings really tight, and blisters screaming. I began walking; I still had plenty of time. Every time I something hurt, I would look down at the pictures I had laminated to motivate me to push through the pain and get to the finish line. The 1st picture was of me, my wife, and our lil Jazzy in front of registration at Ironman CDA. The 2nd was of my friend Casey and his son Troy, running together the day before IM CDA. Troy was one of my biggest supporters that day and unfortunately had to see me be pulled from the course and see me heartbroken with tears in my eyes. It made him just as sad as me and he just came over, gave me a big hug. His Dad almost did not finish the race. While waiting for him to finish, after having seen what I experienced, he was crying at the finish line. Mike Reilly saw him and asked what was wrong. He told him, my Dad might not finish and I am sad. When Mike found out Casey was near, he ran out to get him to run a little faster to make it in on time, which he did. While I was on the fence about signing up for Whistler, I was talking with Casey and Troy asked to talk to me, he said, “Ben, you are my hero, I know you can do it.” Those pictures motivated me all day to get to the finish line, not just for me, but for every one of friends and family members that wanted me to cross that finish line. I had hoped to have it signed by Mike Reilly before I gave it to Troy, so he knows that he inspired me to dig deep and become an Ironman.
As well as all of the support from my teammates on course, a Canadian friend Derek, who I met at Lavaman, who was also racing IM Canada, you and the rest of the RTB families cheering me on saying, today is your day and you will be an Ironman. I don’t think there was anyone out there that did not know my story in CDA and wanted to see me succeed. There smiles, cheers, and kind words kept me going. Seeing my wife on the run course for a quick hug and kiss, then rounding the corner and seeing swarms of RTB shirts was amazing!
As the night progressed, my sub 16 hour pace was shortening. However, the pain on the balls of my feet was becoming unbearable; I was just walking at that point. At special needs, a father and his daughter helped me put on some band-aids and fresh socks I had packed. I expressed my concern that I was worried I might not make it, thanked them for everything and pushed on. As I rounded the corner to head out for the last cutoff, Dave Kramer told me that I needed to pick up the pace. I said I still have 3 hours, he again said, pick it up, push a little faster or you might not make it. My 20 minute miles became 14-15 minute miles. I just pushed through the pain and ran as fast and as much as I could bear. I kept looking at those pictures, reliving CDA and the heartbreak of my DNF and dug deep. Every mile I would see another friendly RTB face smiling and cheering me on kept me going. When I got within 3 miles, I kept hearing Mike Reilly saying, You Are An Ironman! I kept telling myself, I WILL BE AN IRONMAN! I would run again, until I could no longer. I did the math, which is tough 15-16 hours into a race, and knew I had to maintain less than 17 minute miles. When I was close to the Village, I looked down at the photos I had on my BIB belt one last time, dug deep and ran towards the finish. Rounding the corner and seeing all of my RTB teammates there to see me finish was Awesome!!! I rounded the corner I saw Tom Hull, then Diana, then just a sea of RTB friends. It was amazing!!! Then the closer I got to the finish line, the louder the crowd got, hands from random strangers high fiving me was just amazing. Then what I had wanted to hear for almost 8 months, Ben, YOU, ARE, AN, IRONMAN!!! My wife, friends, family, and all of you got to see that and it makes me proud!!!
I know I said I would make it short, but I am just so filled with joy and emotion and wanted to share. Last inspiring moment, this is a tear jerker. Unfortunately, I do not remember their names, however, the Dad and Daughter that had helped me at Special needs walked into the medical tent to see how I was doing. His daughter was so concerned about me after seeing the larger blisters on my feet that she asked her dad to track my progress when they got home. When I was near the finish line, she asked to go down and see me cross the finish line. A random stranger that was volunteering to support all of us on course became one of my biggest supporters. She had to make sure I was alright and became an Ironman. We talked for a minute before the nurse tended my wounds and she asked to get a picture. What an amazing feeling!!! Sorry to be so long winded, but that is what kept me moving, racing and persevering. Thanks for all of the support from everyone that was there or tracking and cheering me on from afar!!!
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