2013 A Life Changing Year–Happy Holiday’s (Late)

WP_20131225_15_57_12_ProWell it’s been a life changing year for me and a lot of changes both physically and mentally.  I know I’m a couple days late on getting this out but better late than never.  I’m down almost 70lbs from the same time last year and I’ve actually achieved my goal weight that I set out to when I first started back in 2009.  I’m back down to my 36 inch weight but it doesn’t stop there.  This year I set out with no real direction in terms of my fitness and as the year progressed I embraced my passion for competition, specifically triathlon.  In doing so I am in without question in the best shape of my life.  I am achieving what I thought was once impossible..  Next year holds more challenges that normal people do and call me crazy for even trying, but that’s part of living life.  When I first started back in 2009 and I looked into gastric bypass it was the easy way out and I didn’t really think anything of changing my lifestyle, and I still would not be where I am at today.  In all honesty I probably would have been thinner sure, but I would not have made the strides that I have and I certainly would not have inspired the amount of people that I have.  I take great pride in watching others achieve their goals and their dreams.  I love hearing from people that I have inspired them, albeit it’s still new to me and I am still accepting the fact that I have inspired them.  None the less helping people accomplish what they thought was impossible is such a rewarding experience.

Physical Changes this year alone have not been too much.  I started the year in 40/38” pants and currently in a 38/36”.  My shirt size was 3/2 XL and now I’m pushing a L.  I’ve had several people tell me that I don’t look 37 at all and that I look years younger.  The extra skin has been a struggle but I have to constantly tell myself that my body will do what it needs to and that I’m not going to resort to seeing a doctor about having it removed.  I started this journey out without help from the medical field and I’m going to stick to it.  I could barely run a half marathon in 3 hours without cramping.  In June I was able to run a half marathon in 2 hours and 28 minutes.  By the end of the year I was able to run a half marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes without really training for it.  I love it.

Mental changes on the other hand have been very hard and have been the most profound.  So what’s been so hard mentally about all the changes?  When you view yourself as fat for so long and you view yourself every day you don’t feel thin.  So it really impacts your confidence.  I’ve got a lot of my confidence back and it’s getting easier to view myself as athletic.  I’m still learning to deal with all the positive change that I’ve had on people.  From being so down on myself about so many things it’s been a challenge to believe in myself that I’ve inspired people to go out and change their lives for the positive.  You always here that the body follows the mind but in my case with the weight loss my mind has followed the body.

So with the new year about to begin I can’t wait for what changes this year will bring in.  When I write this next year I should be an Ironman.

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San Diego Triathlon Challenge–The Best Day in Triathlon

Donate here to help me raise money for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge!  The Best Day in Triathlon!

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It was the day of the Mission Bay Triathlon and my relay mate Jeff had told me about this race.   At the time I had no clue what this was about I thought it was but it sounded challenging.  So as he spoke more about it and mentioned the Challenged Athlete Foundation is the one that puts it on and that it goes to support challenged athletes to assist them in accomplishing their dreams.  As this race moved closer to race day I hear more and more people talking about it and I wanted to get involved.   I checked on their website and it was on the same day as my Oceanside Life Time Tri race that I had committed to.  I told myself that in 2014 I will be doing this race.  I wanted to race for a cause and I always found challenged athletes inspirational.

About the San Diego Triathlon Challenge
What began 20 years ago as a fundraiser to help one athlete, Jim MacLaren, to regain his independence after a tragic second accident has grown to become one of the most highly-regarded and motivational events in the triathlon world. Since that first event 20 years ago, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge has been instrumental in raising the funds that have allowed more than 8,200 challenged athletes around the world to make it to the starting line and inspired a new generation to realize they have no limits.

“The San Diego Triathlon Challenge is the greatest day in our sport. To be a part of what this amazing Foundation does and how they change lives for people was so motivating, it gave me a purpose. I was inspired, and wanted to do more.” — Chris “Macca” McCormack

So as 2014 progresses and I become more and more active in my racing and triathlon I’ve found it important to race to support a cause and the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation falls right in line with what I believe.  So help me support CAF and making other athlete’s dreams possible.   You can click on the picture to donate for a good cause or the line under the title.  I’m starting small with just a $600.00 goal but the more the merrier!

What a Week! Lot’s of Changes.–Long Blog

2013 Races Below.  Next year will have an Ironman Medal.

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As I put my first week of Half Ironman training in the books (15 more to go) I have finally begun to notice a lot of changes with the way my body actually looks.  I can see my quads attaching up to my hips and I can even see where my oblique’s lay.  The downside is the extra skin.  I knew at some point it would rear its evil head, but thankfully I don’t let that slow me down.  People around me have noticed I’ve slimmed down more, and I was able to fit into a pair of 36” pants.  I have not been able to fit into a 36” waist since high school.  Oddly enough though my numbers on the scale and my body fat % has stayed roughly the same.  The biggest hurdle though is coming up and that’s holidays with the family and saying no to the food that won’t mix with my diet!   Sigh… no toffee chocolates, no cookies, and no eggnog (okay maybe a little bit of all those).

I was also selected to be a brand ambassador for a sports apparel company that is trying to broaden it’s US base.  So I get free workout clothes to wear and promote the brand, I can’t wait.  I’ve finalized my out of state races for 2014 and booked my hotels and my bike transport to most events.  I plan to do as many local races as possible so I’ll be close to racing every weekend.   But my Tour De Holley starts with Oceanside 70.3 (not really travel but it’s not San Diego)  March 29th, then ITU Chicago June 29th, Life Time Tri Minneapolis July 12th, New York City Triathlon August 3rd, Life Time Tri Oceanside October 26th, then Ironman Arizona November 16th.  Let’s just say after all the travel is done 2014 travel will have been over $4000 including race entry fee’s..  I do have the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon January 19th and I’m hoping to have a 2 hour time.  I must say that the number one question I get is… Why?  Well I’ve thought about why on several occasions and each time I come up with a different answer but it’s along the same lines as this.  I’ve been an athlete since I can remember.  I wasn’t the best at any sport and some sports I was good, but 1 thing was for sure I was always there either supporting my teammates or giving it what I got.  Now as I’m older and that I’ve lost the weight that I set out to lose I needed more goals and I have found the triathlete community to be nothing short than amazing.  People travel to see the sights of the town, experience local food and local culture.   Why not travel and race at the same time?   That is why.

The Triathlete Community
Whether you’re in the pool, on a bike going up a 5.9% grade, or on the last 3 miles of a 13 mile training run there is 1 thing that every triathlete has in common.  We don’t care what your career is, we don’t care that you’re older or younger than we are, and we don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican.  We are all the same out there on race day.  We are out doing what we enjoy doing.  We are out there accomplishing what other people have said is not possible.  We are achieving our goals, and making our dreams happen.  Everyone that I have met through the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) has been absolutely amazing.  Old, young, fat, skinny, big, small, new to triathlon, or the veteran Ironmen of the club, we all look at each other as equals. 

Training
With my first weeks in the book and looking back it was a good challenge and it’s nice to be training again.  I had to send my Garmin 910XT back because it showed I was training at 30K feet (San Diego won’t ever be 30K feet).  But I’ve been hitting the mileage on the run and I’ve been swimming extra because of USAT’s National Club Challenge and we’re on our swim session right now.  Currently I’m 18th out of 2731 athletes in overall mileage for Swim/Bike/Run, and I’m 8th out of 2731 athletes in swim mileage.  I’ve joined our club swim masters program to improve my swim which I probably won’t see much improvement for Oceanside but come IMAZ my swim should be pretty darn solid.  I am hoping that by November I can have my full marathon to around 4 hours.

Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman Has Started!

16 weeks…  That’s all the time I have to prepare myself for what will be my longest distance race thrown into 1.  I’ve done the 3 stages (swim, bike, and run) individually but never all together.  For this race I went with a coach and a nutritionist, both came highly recommended.  My coach Julie is also a running coach agreed to help me more with my run so we started that a couple weeks early.  Mind you I was not really happy about this cause I did want some time off from training.    But if it’s what I have to do so that I’m a better runner it’s what I have to do.  My nutritionist Jennie is also a power lifter and one of the strongest women in the country and she also has several endurance athletes do their nutrition so I’m confident that things will be good.   So why both the coach and nutritionist you ask?  It’s because I don’t want to just “Finish” my 70.3, I want to be able to move and recover afterwards.  Even though my next A race won’t be till the end of June I will have several Olympic distance local triathlons up till then.

Running, I can say that in the past week I’ve logged roughly 26 miles of running and it’s only going to increase.  I do most of my running on the treadmill for a couple reasons.  My first is that for me it’s generally safer, I don’t have people in my way that I have to dodge cause they are completely unaware of their surroundings.  The second is that I have found it forces me to keep my mind occupied.  I’ve read several race reports where the racers have said that at some point your mind tells you that you are stupid and that you should quit.   I find this happening at mile 1 no matter what the distance.  So yes I’m able to keep it occupied for 13 miles in the half marathons that I’ve done but I’ve never had to do it after a 56 mile bike ride so it will be interesting for sure.  The number 1 question that I keep getting asked is how do my knee’s feel.  Honestly the knee’s feel great, and that’s part of actually learning to run.  I’ve watched video of me running and video of others running and you could see a huge difference in how I ran.  I would highly recommend taking a clinic on how to run.

Run Training Starts and 10K Yards Swimming!

With my Half Ironman Coach all signed up we came to an agreement on some extra run training so that my run times would improve from my tank slow half marathons.  I didn’t like her response at all… “The way to build up running is frequency”.  Yup even more running, the thing I dislike the most!  Oh well, if that is what it is going to take then it’s what I have to do.  So just how much running in the first week you might ask?  Monday 9 miles, Wednesday 6 miles, Saturday 12 miles, now Saturday I cut it short at 10.5 miles since my leg was clipped by a car.  I will say that my run on Saturday just 2 weeks from my Las Vegas Half Marathon seemed to go really well and I was running a 10 minute mile pace.

Sunday marked the start of the USAT National Club Challenge and it starts with the swim.  So what did the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) do?  We started with a 100 x 100 Yard Swim.  Let me tell you that is was not easy to swim for 3 hours and 10 minutes.  I had 30 second rest’s between my intervals towards the end but I started strong and ended strong.  It was fun to get out there and see some new faces and old ones.  That’s one thing I’m finding out about the TCSD community is that there is always people to meet.

So the first week of run training went fairly well I would say.  Saturday night I was on track to have a 2:15 half marathon till the car clipped my left leg and I ate crap on the street.  Thankfully I’m ok but during the run I felt really good while keeping a 10 minute mile.  Tomorrow I got some more running and then more running this week.  I’m pretty sure that if I can keep this up that I’ll be able to hit a 2 hour half marathon come Oceanside which should put me around a 5 hour finish.  Not good enough for Kona but that isn’t my goal….(Yet).   Going to start taking up the TCSD’s JCC swims Monday and Wednesday nights as it’s been recommended that I join a Masters Swim Program.  It’s been recommended by a few people.  I have a pretty solid swim as it is but when it comes to getting in the volume and distance it will help.  Till then it’s just focusing on the 4th sport in triathlon and that’s recovery and staying healthy.