It’s The Small Steps That Create Progress.

WP_20140809_18_15_31_ProWhat a weekend.  I was a date for a friends High School Reunion which meant I had to go shopping.  I stayed away from shopping for a while because I was kind of afraid of buying nice clothes.  It was always an awkward experience for me.  I’d have to go the fat guy section and piece together parts of suits that fit.  I was pretty stoked that I could actually shop in the regular sized part of the store and that I actually put on a L shirt.   It was a huge moral victory for me.  I didn’t really realize how good I’d look in the till my sister happened to catch this candid shot of me talking to my step father.  It was for the first time that I honestly felt pretty damn handsome and people weren’t just being nice by telling me.  They honestly meant it.

I couldn’t say that it wasn’t without my challenges either.  in 2010 I had dropped down to 246 lbs and let the success get to my head and after a snow boarding accident that kept me from working out I let myself balloon back up to over 330lbs over the next 2 years.  My party lifestyle had taken over and I was unhappy with my job at the time.  Everyone loved the big drunk Chris except for myself.  Then in 2012 I had taken a vacation to Japan with my friend Gregg and it really hit me how big I really was.  I could barely sit in the airplane seat and it hurt to squeeze into the seat.  When I was at a baseball game I had to squeeze into those seats as well.  Yeah I know it’s Japan and all but it looked like I was going to spill into other seats.  So over the next 2 years it’s been a lot of small changes like workouts, diets, quitting the party life, getting serious about triathlons, and getting serious about my health that have all stacked up to where I am now.  It’s ok to take your time work hard for your goals.  It’s OK to set lofty goals and have high expectations.  Change doesn’t happen over night though.

When I first decided to lose weight and get healthy back in 2009 I had no idea that 5 years later I would have dropped over 170lbs, ran in over 10 half marathons, a half Ironman, and training for a full Ironman (140.6) miles.  I started small with just the 5K’s which at the time took me 50 minutes to complete and through the years my fasted 5K now has been 24 minutes.  My first half marathon back in 2008 took more than 3.5 hours to finish and now it’s a little over 2 hours.  It’s all those small runs that add up over time that has allowed me to get faster and stronger.  Just like weight loss, it’s the consistent loss of 1-2lbs over time that add up and before you know it that 2 lbs turns into 10 lbs and that 10 lbs turns into 100lbs.  The clothes slowly start to inch down from 4XL to a L.  You’ll notice all those little changes in your life that transform your passions and interest.   Your no longer living to work, you’re now working to live.  All those small changes add up and you’re progressing with each small thing.

Pic_14bf88d7-a1a8-4800-95ec-0149242f1833I also did a Transformation Tuesday picture on my athlete page since it had been a while.  As I was looking through my pictures and I found it incredibly difficult to look at my fat pictures without being completed disgusted with myself.  I kept asking myself why did I let myself get to that size?  What on earth was I thinking?  Why did I let myself get complacent with things?  I thought about them all for a couple seconds and thought to myself never again.   As I’m writing this out what I can see is that aside from all the small physical things adding up so did my confidence and my sense of self belief.  It’s the small mental changes to that add up and build that confidence in yourself.  There are so many small things working together that push you forward and progress you through your life to where you want to go and what you want to do.   Enjoy them, don’t be in a rush, cherish them, share them, and most of all be PROUD of those changes.

New York City Triathlon–Race Report

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I got into this race through the lottery system.  I signed up with a case of the F’ it’s for 10 bucks and sure enough I got it.   It was the final travel race of the summer and what better way to end a racing tour with the Big Apple.  I got to see some friends and see NYC from the outside for once and not from inside a bar.   Life Time Tri is the company that put it on and they really do know how to hold organized races.  I have not had a bad experience yet that has been a Life Time Tri.  From the moment I went through the 45 minute course/race overview to leaving the transition area after the race everything was very organized.  So without adieu here is the race report.

Pre-Race: 3AM Wake Up Call – WTF?
Yup this race starts early with the first wave at 5:50!  We had busses from the hotel to the transition area which made getting through the city easy.  We had to drop everything off the day before so transition setup was easy this time around.  Had a chat with an official because the bike next to me racked their bike wrong and it sucks to be them, they got a 4 minute penalty before even starting the race.  We had a nice mile walk up to the swim start on pavement that wasn’t even swept so it was not a fun walk barefoot.   At time time it was about 5AM and it sure didn’t look like much of a current unless you looked at the wakes coming off of the boats.  I was getting really excited for this 15 minute swim time.  I was in the red transition so we had to wait till all the yellow transition people were completely finished before starting.   Finally as the waves lined up in their corrals it was time to start.  I’m used to only like 10 people in Clydesdale here there was 41 of us!  I really have some people to race.

Swim: 15:12 4th out of 41
I was literally the last person in the water.  They had us going every 20 seconds in groups of 10.  We weren’t allowed to dive which really sucked but I can understand why.  Some people are just not bright and dive straight down instead of shallow and out.  Once in the water it had a salty funky taste and yeah I couldn’t see past my hand.  I tried not to focus on it too much and just swam.  I wanted that 15 minute swim.  Not only did I weave my through the other swimmers but I swam over several swimmers just floating there.  I’m not sorry for swimming over anyone doing the breast stroke or floating down stream anymore.  This is a race and if you’re a slower swimmer stay out of the middle!  There was a small exit ramp that made getting out of the water suck because there was a lot of people there so I wasted probably 20-30 seconds waiting for people to get up the ramp.  Next up was to get out of the wetsuit for an almost 1 mile run into transition.

Bike: 1:38 6th out of 41
The bike course was challenging and had some rollers.  But what made it difficult was the rain.  I had never raced in the rain before, in fact I don’t even ride in the rain.  Again with so many other races I spent a lot of time flying by slower people and yelling “On your left”.  There were a few sections of road that were just horrible in terms of creases in the asphalt and pot holes.  In fact I lost my entire water bottle cage 4 miles into my race from all the damn bumps and vibrations.  So long electrolytes and carbs.  There were some technical turns that I really slowed down more than I should have but that’s after the fact because there were a lot of people who crashed their bikes for not slowing down.  I kept a 19.6 MPH average and felt absolutely great through the entire bike.  In fact I probably should have pushed harder but I really didn’t know my legs would be on the run.   Finally getting into transition I’m ready to hop of the bike in the middle of the dismount and this guy makes a complete stop in the middle sideways on his bike.  I crash into him and he proceeds to tell me I’m the one at fault for him completely blocking the bike in.  F that guy and he needs to learn to keep the right or to the left if he’s going to completely stop.  Then he needs to learn to never turn his bike so he’s blocking the bike in from other racers coming in.

Run:  1:04 23rd out of 41
Well this run again had no flats at all.  Not to mention it starts with a steep climb out of the river park that was congested with walkers.  The best part of this run was the spectators.  The entire street of 72nd St was lined on both sides giving us high 5’s and cheering everyone on.  It was really energizing and it really didn’t seem like it was a close mile run into Central Park.  The course winded through the northern part of Central Park along the road.  Again there were people lining both sides of the street and I was having an awesome time. while holding a pretty good pace at 10:06 for me.  It wasn’t until mile 4.5 or 5 that having not having any electrolytes or carbs outside of the gu packets (of which I lost 2 out of my tri kit) started to catch up to me.  I could feel some cramping in the quads and hamstrings and I had to do a little bit of walking but not a whole lot as the sun was starting to heat things up and really bring that humidity out.   Was able to run through the finishing shoot and I eased up right before the line to let the challenged athlete soak up some spotlight time crossing the finish line.   As I was running it in I saw my friend Nick’s wife Lindsey cheering me on.

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Finishing up: I’ll do it again.
I had a lot of fun and aside from some of the race mishaps I really enjoyed it.  I will do this race again but probably not till after 2016.  I love New York and I loved having the chance to race here as my summer travelling wraps up.  I highly recommend this race at least once to every triathlete.