The gym was a place that was an afterthought. In my 30s and early 40s, I would go to the gym for 30 minutes, run and walk on the treadmill, and call it a workout. My eating habits were terrible, I gained a bunch of weight and I was very unfit. In 2011, I ran a 5K with my wife at the Issaquah Triathlon and almost died (insert sarcasm). It was even clearer when I saw the finisher pictures that were sent to me by a photographer. I did remember telling my wife how interesting it was to see the triathletes setting up their bikes and putting on their wetsuits. I quickly realized that my fitness and health had taken a turn for the worse and it was time to make a change. In late 2012, I started taking TRX from a personal trainer. She suggested I also take her spinning classes to improve my cardio fitness and burn calories. I was hooked on spinning. I started to see results and loved to see my fitness improve. During one spin class, a gentleman approached me and asked “What are you training for?” It was John Balenhorst and we began talking about triathlons. He told me I should check out Raise the Bar if I was interested in triathlons. That night, I blindly signed up on the RTB website.
After the initial email from Kathy Morrisson… you know… the “What are your goals?” email. I did not know what to say, other than I was interested in learning more about triathlons. My fitness continued to improve and I began to run. In 2013, I registered for the Snoqualmie Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon. I ran a 1:48 which I thought I could never do in a million years. I continued to run, I bought a bike, I continued to spin, I began to swim… and there you have it… swim, bike, run. I entered my first individual sprint tri event at the 2013 Lakewood Summerfest. It was rough, but I loved it! I planned for two more events, both Olympic triathlons. Before my second triathlon, Brad Williams approached me at a Lake Meridian open water training event. He asked me if I was going to sign up for Coeur d’Alene. “Are you crazy? I have only done one triathlon, and you want me to sign up for an Ironman?” Like signing up with RTB, that night, I signed up for Coeur d’Alene. What I love about Raise the Bar is the community, the passion, the support and the love for endurance. You can celebrate the accomplishments, share your passion for multi-sport and learn from others who have been in the sport for years.
Training and Racing
I love racing, but it is the journey you take leading up to the race that makes it special. If it is a 5K, a Half Marathon, an Olympic Tri or an Ironman, there is a path you take leading up to the race. My early morning Tuesday and Thursday swims with RTB are special. I was once in Lane 5, but I now can bounce between lane 2 and 1 (in that order). My running is often alone, but I love running with the Cedar River Runners running group on Saturdays. My biking is fun when out with others, but I will venture out alone for the long hauls. As I mentioned, Brad talked me into entering in the Ironman CDA 2014. It was my 4th triathlon ever and I was prepared thanks to sticking close to the training plan (consulted and organized by Kathy Morrisson). It was an awesome experience that I will never forget. Ask me about my Ironman race, because I would love to share it with you. What other crazy races have I done in 2014? Well, I did back-to-back sprint tri races with a back injury. I also did the 200-mile Ragnar Relay which was also a huge challenge for me. I completed the full distance AquaRun for a Child event, swimming over 3 miles in the freezing Puget Sound. I also improved my Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon by 10 minutes at a 1:38. 2014 was an amazing year! It was full of many firsts, PRs and crazy accomplishments.
I will continue to train, learn and race. I am not sure what the end of the year will look like, or what I will enter in 2015. I just love to train and race. I may not be the fastest in the water, craziest on the bike, or blazing on the run… but I love all three sports… and I love to compete. Another Ironman in 2016? Hmmm. We’ll see.
No fears. LOL. Yeah, right. Okay, just going downhill on a tri bike at 40 mph. Oh… and swimming in 56 degree Puget Sound with currents and ferry wakes. Oh… and running 8.7 RAGNAR miles at 1:30 AM in an Indian Reservation, alone and in complete darkness with Cujo in the distance. But other than that… for now… no fears.
Support in this new sport has been incredible. My wife has been so supportive in my passion for multi-sport. My son has been patient with me when I wanted to go to sleep at 8:00PM. My parents and birth Mom (who I just met) met for the first time at Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Raise the Bar and the community of athletes have been so supportive in my training, injuries, mistakes and endeavors. I hope that I can be as encouraging and supportive to others who are seasoned or are new to multi-support.