A Little Bit About Me and Endurance Sports

I started off in sporting events like most grade schoolers in school; I played basketball, baseball, and football during recess time. But unlike most of my friends in Indiana, I had little to no talent in basketball and even less in football and baseball. It seemed that playing basketball was a requirement of growing up in Indiana, but I was the smallest kid in school and had no hand-eye coordination or vertical jump. I was picked last for teams and did a lot of sitting on the bench. Football and basketball also required size and skill that I did not have. In 3rd grade track and field started. I quickly found out that I had the talent of being able to run for a long time, the longer the better. I was never super-fast, but I could run five miles even at the age of 8, and not get overly tired.

From 3rd to 8th grade, I ran all the distance runs. Being from a small school, the coach would let us run as many events as we could. In junior high, I ran 800 meters, 1600 meters, 3200 meters, and the 4×400 meters relay at all the track meets. I enjoyed the running. The first few years the coaches would always tell us to run but not run fast just hang in there until the last 200 meters and then run hard. I tried this at first and then realized that if I would run from the front I could push the pace and force myself and others into an uncomfortable position. It was then that I started placing high in races.

In high school I ran cross country only because I worked on the farm in the spring and no one really pushed runners to compete hard to earn college scholarships. This was because the school focused so much of their efforts in promoting football and basketball as “real sports” and track with field being a supporting sport.

After graduating high school in 1988, I enter the Army and I did not really have a reason to race or train anymore. I gave up running except during physical training. I did maintain a fair amount of run fitness because of morning physical fitness training, but there was no reason to be really fast. I scored well enough on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) that no one really cared if any of us ran sub 6 minute miles. So, for about 8 years I just trained hard enough to maintain form and fitness, not really caring if I ran any faster.

In the fall of 1997, I realized I was starting to put on weight around the middle and it was harder for me to run in the front of the pack during the AFPT. This led to me going on a diet and training harder. From November of 1997 to march of 1998 I dropped my weight from 185 to 160, and at the same time I dropped my 2 mile run time to 10 minutes and 40 seconds. This is when I decided that I would try to do my first marathon. After my second deployment, I decided to run the Berlin Marathon in September of 1998.

After the Berlin Marathon, the battalion Command Sargent Major asked me how my knees felt. They were a little tender and hurt a little during longer training runs. He suggested I get a bike and start swimming some. This is when I decided to start doing triathlons. With his assistance I made the community track team and was running the 1500 meter, 5000 meter and 10,00 meters on the track. I was doing better all the time and was really enjoying the racing.

In the spring of 1999, I moved to Fort Sill, OK. I got in with a good group of runners that worked with me. We started to race most weekends. We would found 5KM and 10KM road races in Oklahoma and Texas and race almost every weekend, doing multiple races some weekends.

In 2001 I was transferred to recruiting command in Cleveland, Ohio. There was not much effort to put on our physical fitness in the recruiting command due to the heavy focus on production. I put the running shoes in the basement and had sold both of my bikes to pay bills. I lost all motivation to train or race with the long work days in recruiting command. I went from being in fairly good shape at 174 pounds to my heaviest at 240 pounds within the first year of my new job. I was not training but just trying not to get fat for the next nine years.

In 2010 I was asked to run a marathon with a friend of my wife, Andrea. It was horrible I ran the Cleveland marathon at the slowest pace I think I had ever run in my life. I ran the Berlin Marathon in 1998 in 3 hours and 25 minutes and in 2010 I ran (if one would call my pace running) the Cleveland Marathon in 5 hours and 35 minutes. After that day it started to occur to me that I needed to change my life and return to training. I decided on an Ironman and more Marathons. In August of 2010, I could not swim 100 meters without stopping and my run and bike were not good either.

I put a solid plan together and since June of 2011 I have finished 13 half Ironman, 2 full Ironman, 5 Olympic distance triathlon, 3 Marathons, and 5 half Marathons. In saying this, I have been a person that has been all over the spectrum of endurance events, and I understand the base of a good training plan and mind set to go from a person that can not to someone that can. I have been on the top of the podium and the bottom of the podium. I think this gives me an inside look and feel of what it takes to go from bottom to the top or simply achieve a goal rather it be finishing before the cutoff or standing on top of the podium.

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