Well that is simple…so that I can have an Adonis-like body, and can keep up with my unbelievable attractiveness. HAH! No, it’s definitely not that (I mean c’mon, have you seen what I am working with here?!)
All kidding aside, it is actually a really difficult question for me to answer as there are so many ways I could tackle it. I think the best way for me to answer the question is with a few variations of it.
Why did I START tri’ing?
I REALLY enjoy food, and you know what they say about too much of a good thing. I have struggled with my weight, and what I guess you could call a food addiction, since I was in middle school. Throughout the years, I have gone up and down in weight, and have dealt with all of the issues that surround that (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, etc.). In 2007, I reached a dubious milestone, I tipped the scales at over 290 pounds, and I knew that I was one big binge of food away from pushing over the 300 mark. My health was clearly in a really bad place, and I finally decided that I could not let that continue. I had my wife Molly, and our 2 little girls; I knew that if I continued down the path I was on, I would slowly creep to 350…400…450 pounds. I was sure that if something did not change, I would die on them in the not too distant future. A few months later, I went under the knife, and had Lap-Band surgery. That was really the catalyst that allowed me to be in a position to start tri’ing.
Following the surgery, I got my head in the right place. I started dropping weight quickly by getting my eating under control, and I hit the gym to do a lot of elliptical. After a few months, boredus ellipticus set in (look it up, I am sure that is an actual disorder). I had run marathons in the past, so I decided it was time to get back outside and start running, even though I totally loathed it. Funny thing, after running for several weeks and ratcheting up the mileage, I realized that I actually enjoyed it! It was right around then that I got this crazy wild hair that I might want to give a sprint triathlon a shot. That was truly crazy because I had not been swimming in forever, and the only bike I had was this old, outdated mountain bike that I had not ridden in 10 years.
Why do I tri now?
Health is still a major factor. I know that I need to stay continuously motivated because I have a tendency to slip back into lazy patterns if I am not driving at a BHAG (Big Huge Audacious Goal). In 2014 my BHAG became Ironman Arizona which I can only describe as an absolutely magical day. I walked up to that start line knowing that I would be an Ironman at the end of the day; I had 100% confidence. I also walked up to the line knowing that I wanted to have a lot of fun out there on the course. As much as I wanted to be an “Ironman” for my own personal reasons, I really wanted to be someone out on the course that hopefully brightened other people’s days. In all the preparation leading up to Ironman Arizona, I quizzed everyone I could about what I should put in each one of my transition and special needs bags. Someone mentioned putting something in the bag to give the volunteers; I LOVED that idea. As a result, I put some Starbucks gift cards in a few of my bags. I cannot express to you how motivating it was to reach each one of those bags so that I could hand a volunteer a gift card; it kept me going throughout the day. I did not just want to hand a gift card to the person and move along, but I really wanted to spend a minute or two interacting with them and thanking them for being out there serving me. It turned into something that was so much fun to do. Ultimately Slowtwitch.com ended up interviewing me about my day, which was also very fun to do.
Last summer, I completed Ironman Canada, and I expanded the Starbucks gift card thing to give out 8 of them. This summer, I am doing Ironman Coeur d’Alene and I think I am going to hand out at least 20 gift cards this time. Trying to show gratitude to the volunteers has really become the major reason why I tri now, and I am doing what I can to spread the word to get others to similarly show gratitude, and to recognize the volunteers.
What keeps me tri’ing in the future?
Well…knowing that I have to do things a little more extreme than the norm, I got myself the obligatory M-dot tattoo. But, instead of a nice, normal, small m-dot, I went ahead and got a big one that I have to fill in with all of the Ironman’s I complete. That means until I get a total of 12 done and then hopefully go to Kona as a legacy entrant, my leg is going to look kind of silly and incomplete. To sum it up, my ultimate goals are to: stay fit and healthy, keep doing at least one Ironman per year, and ultimately to finish in Kona.