When I got the call from Kathy inquiring about my interest in writing a "Why I Tri" story, I was excited to share. We all love to talk about ourselves, so I said "yes". Then the weight of that request started to bear down on me. I felt empty of knowledge and advise, humbled by the thought of making one's story relevant to others.
So, buckle up, Buttercup. This is my story on "Why I Tri":
As you read my story, I will actually be in Arizona doing my tenth 140.6 triathlon saying this is not meant to be a boastful statement but to let you know how far I have come.
I was born in .... hmmm.. not relevant. Okay, when I did start this thing called "triathlons" it was about 5 years ago. January 1st 2010. That's the day I decided to run my first 5k In Estes Park, Colorado. Yes, up in the Rocky Mountains. The local YMCA was hosting the run so on a whim I showed up at 7am, New Year's day. Five feet of snow surrounded the area and it was colder than a banker's heart. But hey, it sounded like a great idea at the time. I think the whole town showed up, at least those that weren't hung-over. The horn sounded and we were off. Needless to say, I was not in the best of shape at that time. My doctor had just given me a physical and commented to me that I was "mildly obese". Ouch!! I responded back by saying "What do you expect at 52 years young?" He then said, "lose some weight and reduce the stress in your life". Right Doc, I will get right on that.
Back to the race, so I bonked, choked, bombed... whatever the cliché is and I came in last place being passed by two mature ladies and their poodles 300 feet from the finish line. What a ball buster, my pride left in the frozen tundra. Yes, I was humbled and after trying to warm up after the race, the volunteers and runners encouraged me to run again. So, feeling a little better about my pathetic self, I vowed to run again and beat those damn poodles!
I know what you're thinking. Great start Dave set yourself up for failure right away. Well, here's the Good, the Bad and Ugly of my life at the time. Let's start with the Ugly. I was up in the Rockies to see how far I could get away from my personal crisis as it were, to find myself. I was going through a divorce and a financial crash of several of my companies, life was just not fun and it was downright depressing. But, one thing I had learned through my adult life was when faced with adversity, deal with the Bad in your life. Take an inventory of the Good and be grateful for the things you have and quit beating yourself up about the past.
There is a saying that I believe to be true that with every thought there are two responses. One mental "that's a good idea" or "no, reject it" and then a physical response "yes, let's do this" or "let's just lay on the couch and watch TV". Well, thanks to a great counselor who happened to be a triathlete, suggested that I watch a story on the internet about one Dad's determination to race with his son "Team Hoyt". So after watching this story and yes I cried. But, then I told him that I don't swim and I make fun of people in spandex and as you already know, I don't run, I was never an athlete so what part of this is going to be fun? He just laughed and said believe me you'll enjoy it.
So, my journey to be a triathlete started. All I needed was discipline, self control and consistency. Easy right? Ha. But, I was determined and committed. I went to the local high school and hired a senior to teach me how to swim (now that's fun) then off to Big 5 to buy a road bike Hmm. I will take that one. I had no clue about bike fit then. I then enrolled in a fitness club. Check. And, I am now off on a new adventure.
But, wait not everyone was excited about my new pursuit for greatness. My Pulmonologist being one who said "Not so fast, I wish you well but I must remind you of your chronic Asthma and based on all our testing, you may have only 80% lung capacity left after decades of inhaled steroid use that have scarred your lungs." I said yes, that's true, so help me. All the disciplines of swimming, biking and running take huge amounts of aerobic fitness which includes heavy breathing and which may be a challenge for you. So I said okay, what else. He then reminded me of my allergies. Again, I said, help me. and he then said, what about your Eczema? The chlorine in the pool will inflame your skin and all that sweat will sting like crazy. You see, since I was an adult I never would wear shorts or take off my shirt in public because of my eczema. So, again I asked him to help me. And, he did.
Decision time. "Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask yourself if you want to be a prisoner or if you want to be a pioneer to the future" Deepok Chopra
It's time to sign up for the next RTB Swim Session!
Feeling beat up from last season? Phil Kriss - team member and Chiropractor - can help you get ready for next year. Contact his office for a Free Consult!
With one race under my belt, I set out to do sprints and Olympic distance Tri's. In my quest for help, I stumbled onto a bike shop in Covington called Northwest Tri and Bike. That is where I first met the always vivacious Patty, and I still remember Brad saying after looking at my bike "Is that your bike or one of your kid's?" chuckling to himself. Okay it was a little small, but it worked, sorta kinda. I was looking for help and I got it. They were so kind and listened to all my rookie questions and offered to help. They have watched me grow as a triathlete and am always open to their coaching and constructive discussions on my awful swim form to my plodding running technique.
So, from these humble beginnings, I have overcome both the physical and mental challenges that distance racing brings. Am I done? No way, but I have conquered most of my fears and have a better understanding of God's wonderful plan for my life. To be mindful of his grace and mercy upon my life. I am humbled and so thankful for the things I have, my health and to finding contentment in whatever life throws my way, is an amazing feeling. To be surrounded by such positive, uplifting individuals that are my team members at Raise the Bar is a wonderful thing to behold. We race as individuals but support each other to be the best that we can be.
It's been baby steps along the way. A slow but progressive timeline of goals throughout each year. My kids have witnessed my progress and can now say that you can change your thoughts and actions to be positive and life altering. To overcome the crap that life throws at you, to let the past be the past and as we speak I am rewriting my legacy to them and my grandkids and as for my Pulmonologist, he said I don't need to see him anymore but I do carry a rescue inhaler. As for the other ailments they are also gone and I must say I look pretty good in spandex.
I am grateful, so grateful to be able to do this thing called Triathlons with a smile on my face and an encouraging word for all that I pass along the way... thank you for the boatload of memories.
To all young and old have a plan, run the race before you, find your passion and stick with it for the lessons of discipline, self control and consistency, will carry over into all areas of your life. Remember this anyone in pursuit of improving is responding to a desire to make visible that which is not, to offer the unknown self to others. So, enjoy the journey and God's speed in all of your endeavors.