Category Archives: Ironman

Getting the Fire Back.

Last year after Ironman Wisconsin I was totally burnt out.  I had my best Ironman finish that race even with some injuries including getting ran into on the bike.  I had already accepted the fact that I had to fundraise $50K for Smile Train for the Ironman World Championships.  I had 1 more 70.3 and Ironman Arizona still left on my plate and I really didn’t want to do either of them, but I didn’t want to defer them a year either, so I pushed through them.  After IMAZ I walked away from structured workouts and signing up for any races, I wanted a break, I needed a break.  Someone once said that “When you stop having fun, you need to walk away.”  Well, I had arrived at that destination. The fun was gone from the training and the long racing.  Mentally I was drained, and physically I just needed a break.

So here I am 6 months till the Ironman World Championships and I’m ready to get back to it.  I still have about $44K to raise to even toe the line and anything that I don’t raise, I have to pay for out of my pocket.  I’m not totally out of shape but I have a LONG road ahead of me.   The road to the Ironman World Championship isn’t just about completing a race, it’s about so much more.   When you’re trying to raise money for a cause it’s about making a difference in the world.  Did you know that globally, 1 in every 700 children is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Clefts are the leading birth defect in many developing countries.  Yes this includes the United States.   Yet in the news you can bet that we heard about which couple in the entertainment industry are breaking up, getting together, or who wore what better walking down the red carpet.   So even before starting the training for the IWC my supporters been able to make a difference in raising 28 smiles for children with cleft.   That’s 28 children which might just be a drop in the bucket, but that’s 28 children who are going to go on to have a better life than before.  I have about 176 more smiles to go before I can go to the IWC and it’s by far the toughest thing that I’ve chosen to do.  Yes, I’m very well aware that I could fail at it and I will tackle that if it happens.   What I can keep doing though is giving my best effort and keep accepting help from people that I wouldn’t have thought of being those to help out.

If you’d like to help support me in my quest for the Ironman World Championships, but more importantly give a child the gift of a smile and a better life you can donate using the link below or by clicking on the Smile Train picture on the website.  Your support is 100% tax deductible.

my.smiletrain.org/fundraiser/chris2kona

 

Better than Racing? Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Captain’s Report!

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Saturday was the official start of the Ironman race season as Ironman 70.3 Oceanside kicked off.  Athletes train for months at a time for these kinds of races and give it their all while they are out on the course.  This year was my second time volunteering for this race, but my first year as the captain.  We (Volunteer Captains & Staff) put in months of preparation for this race as well.  We don’t do it for a spot to go to worlds to volunteer, we don’t volunteer because we expect to be awarded, we do it because we enjoy it.  I volunteer at this spot because hearing an athlete say “Thank You!” is worth more than anything.  You don’t know what they are thinking, but I know that they just swam 1.2 miles, they really just did it.

This is the 2017 Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Swim Exit/Entrance crew (minus the ones with a wetsuit) who without them I wouldn’t be as successful as I was at captain.  Everyone braved the 48 degree weather at 5AM to be there early so that the athletes could get the attention from the staff.  We were there for the athletes and not us.  Our spot fills up fast since we are at the water and get to see friends who might come in, as well as be up with the Pro’s.  So with that we might not always get some of the recognition that goes with some of the other area’s, but our area is by far the BEST.  As a captain, I’m responsible for the area which includes the swim areas and making sure the athletes know where the start is and the warm up.   It was a new start this year so we wanted to make things as easy as possible.  All my volunteers absolutely nailed it.  I was complimented by the staff at how well organized we were and how clean the area was once the swim was over.  On a larger scale there was not one single complaint from the City of Oceanside about any area.  Everyone on my team had their spots and owned it as their own.  As a captain I have to be able to be fluid and go where the need is, as well as make sure my volunteers are ok and if they need anything.   Everyone was fine through the entire portion and we were out of their by 10:30AM.

The best part about being at this spot is that you are right there for the athletes as they are coming out of the water.  The energy is high and you’re swept up in the excitement of seeing everyone coming out of the water and you’re smiling which is really contagious. Even the athletes who might not have had their “best” swim smile instantly when they see you smiling and you’re helping them.  This year because of the rolling start it was a steady stream of swimmers coming through.  This was a good thing since there weren’t any big clumps and we didn’t get overloaded.  However, when you’re in this spot you know there is the inevitable last few swimmers that are swimming against the clock.  We are all there cheering for them to swim and make it, but the clock is relentless in it’s countdown.  There are no timeouts or stops, you just have to swim for your life.   Even though we already knew those who wouldn’t beat the clock every volunteer in the area (even from other teams) were on the docks cheering them in.  I however had one of the toughest spots to be at.  I had to be up with the race director letting the athletes know they didn’t make the cut off.  Some people cried, and some people just shrugged and said “I gave it my all”.  It’s still hard to hear that being told to someone knowing that I won’t ever know what that feeling is like.

I’ll be back again next year as a captain and I can only hope that I get the same amazing team year after year.  Being the captain this year cemented what I thought when I first volunteered at this spot back in 2015.  Volunteering at this race in this spot is without a doubt better than actually racing it, and I know a few people who feel the same after Saturday.

Chance Encounter, Changed Forever.

Travel back in time to last year.  I had just agreed to fundraise $50,000 dollars for Smile Train to go to the Ironman World Championships.  It was a regular Sunday where my fiance and I were out shopping.  We stopped by a Lululemon store in La Jolla and met a young lady who happened to have cleft lip and it was repaired.   Now at this time I only knew about cleft lip from what I saw on TV and my friends who had fundraised for Smile Train, so I didn’t really know about it first hand or what someone goes through other than what I was told.   Now I was intrigued to hear more about her story so before I even had the chance C was already getting her information.   Months would go by as life happens and I reached out to her back in December but we finally got in touch as she is an ambitious young lady so she is always on the go.  I wanted to capture her story on video so that I could share it with my friends and tribe.  We had to do this in 2 takes because the first time I forgot to turn on the microphone.   Please watch and share this video.

The people here in the states we see stuff like this on TV or in books, but rarely do we see cleft lip in the US because the surgery is performed when they are young just like in Amanda’s case.   What I really had no clue about though was the amount of care and follow up surgeries that would go into it.  Hearing Amanda tell her story was very emotional but at the same time it was wonderful to see how much she was smiling through the whole interview.  It was very moving to hear her talk about her struggles growing up with things that most of us don’t even think of as we are going through high school.  I had my challenges going through high school since I wasn’t popular by any means and thought I was too fat, I didn’t have the best most popular clothes, but she was able to overcome bigger hurdles and that we take for granted like our smile.  I hope you’re as moved as I was by her story.

It Happened at Mile 53…. Crash

Ironman Arizona 70.3 is in the book and I fundraised for Team Challenge, which provides funding for Crohn’s and Colitis.   When you are out there racing for a cause it brings something special to what would be another day.  I thought about writing up a race report, but quite frankly I’m tired of writing them.  They seem to follow the same format, and for the most part they have their place.  However this race, wasn’t about racing.  It was about bring a part of something greater.

The race didn’t go as planned, but I found inspiration where I least expected it.  As you can see from the picture something happened and that something was a bike crash.  I knew there would be one day that I’d have a bike crash, but you never really want it to happen. So anyways the Arizona 70.3 course was very technical with turns and with it being 3 loops it gets crowded.  I was on the last loop of the course and took a turn at over 20MPH which I’d done 2 times before.  The air pressure in my front tire wasn’t high enough from a slow leak and it couldn’t hold up… and down I went.   As I went down I kept saying “Please don’t let anyone hit me from behind”.   As my thoughts went answered and no one else was involved in the crash I was grateful.  It was bound to happen at some point where I would crash my bike, and I’m just glad it wasn’t serious either.  Just a couple of flesh wounds… lol.

I couldn’t help but to start with the negative self-talk.  I’ve always been one to say that you need to control the self-talk.  Self-talk is one of the only things that we have complete and total control over in any situation.  That self-talk can either inspire/motivate us, or it can deflate/demoralize us.  I got up and immediately started to question if I should even bother walking up to the aid station.  I started to talk myself out of racing and just say “I Quit”.  I ran through all the “if’s, what’s, reasons” that I could think of, all while I was walking up to the aid station.   Then I saw another Team Challenge kit go by and it reminded me of something I had heard the day before at our team breakfast.  The manager talked about how when we race and we cross the finish line, or race is done.  Yet for people with Crohn’s and Colitis their race is never done.   The part that really struck me was that their race is never done.  I was still walking forward towards the aid station and I that one moment turned the negative self-talk to a more positive tone.   I thought, that I’m still walking forward.  I’m still able to walk and I got 3 miles to ride into town.  If I could keep moving forward then how on earth could I tell someone who is battling any disease or any physically challenged person that I quit.   What would I tell the people who donated to my fundraising?   I was still able to move, I was bloody, but I could still walk forward.  My bike wasn’t broken and my helmet was intact.   My body didn’t want to quit, so why was I trying to talk myself into quitting?

I went on to finish the race bloody, bruised, and during that walk I remembered another thing that our team manager said during that breakfast.   She asked the team who inspires them to race.   Well on this day it was everyone who’s fighting Crohn’s and Colitis and all of my teammates both in San Diego and across the US.  I don’t know where my mind would have got me if I didn’t see that other Team Challenge kit ride by.

Ironman #3 Wisconsin

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Here it was…  Race Week!  The weeks leading up to race week were busy with the day job, coaching, swim lessons, and trying to plan a fundraiser for my Arizona 70.3.  It (race week) snuck up on me like Ashton on Punk’d.  This Ironman was different, I was having a hard time overcoming some nagging injuries and for the first time, my work really affected some of my long training days.   Anyways, we flew into Madison on Thursday and stayed with family outside of the Madison.  This was awesome because I rarely get to see family in the midwest.  It also kept me out of the excitement and I was able to focus on things for the race and stay off my feet for the most part.

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Sunday morning I arrived early and got everything situated with my bike and my bags.  My race support crew had already begun her plan for the day of spectating and supporting me.  What was cool about this race is that everything is inside.  That means no dirt or grass, but it was a long run UP to transition.  I got into the chute early so that I wouldn’t be just getting into the water as the gun went off.  As we made our way out to the start line there was a 9/11 tribute and the national anthem was playing.  I was getting ready to get this show on the road.

The Swim: 1:13:xx
56_m-100735778-digital_highres-1364_104123-3746856The cannon went off, and whoa.   This mass start was a washing machine the entire 2.4 miles.  From the start I had some people not just brushing my feet, they were grabbing them and holding (WTF?).  So I kindly kicked them in the face.  I’m sorry (#notsorry), but you don’t need to be holding onto someone’s feet when they are trying to swim.  It’s dangerous for them.  So for 1 hour and 13 minutes I endured a constant body to body contact sport.   Thankfully I am very confident in swimming and didn’t have any issue’s of panicking.   I can see how beginners hate the mass starts, it can get downright insane.  From the swim I had a nice run up the parking ramp up to transition.

The Bike: 6:26:xx
8_m-100735778-digital_highres-1364_022787-3746808There really isn’t much to write about when it comes to one of the best supported bike courses by the community other than, it was fan-f8ckin-tastic.   Getting out the doors and finding that a volunteer had my bike ready to go was awesome.   I rode it down the helix and got my Edge 1000 situated and my HR turned on.  The first thing I noted that was missing was my power was gone.  It wasn’t pairing or something.   So I took 2-3 minutes to mess with it, and then said F it.   I was to ride this old school by HR zone and feel.  Humming along at an avg 20 MPH my HR didn’t go above 141-150 much and I didn’t feel like I was over-extended which was good.  The hills were rolling and the climbs were easy since you had a really good downhill leading up to it.  There was only 2 hills that presenting a challenge:  Barlow and some other.   I had driven the course the day before with my family.   I knew what to expect so I tried to conserve leading up to it.   Then finally it where there.  Both sides of the climb were lined with fans cheering everyone up the hill.  There were people unclipping at the bottom and mid-way through.  As I approached the guy next to me looked at the hill and said F-This, and unclipped.  I powered up it out of the saddle and felt surprisingly good.   The other hill wasn’t as bad, but again it was Tour De France style cheering which helped out alot.  I got to special needs and as I was swapping out my bike bottles I was hit by another rider.  I went to the ground pretty hard and was totally unexpected.  Could tell that something was wrong once I started pedaling again and my entire right side of my butt started to really hurt.  Thankfully I didn’t have to ride up Barlow again, but loop 2 had more wind.  As I headed back to Madison, I was really worried about being able to run.  As much as I wanted to let the crash disrupt my race and get frustrated, I kept remembering what I tell my own athletes:  Don’t waste anytime worrying about stuff you can’t control, all it does is waste time and energy.   So I kept my head up and hit T2.

Run: 5:33:xx
As I set out on the run I didn’t really know what to expect since I did virtually no research into this course.   I wanted to be healthy enough to run it.  I was a bit concerned about my legs from the bike accident but I set out anyways.  At this point the course was very high in energy as we ran through the capital area and out around the University of Wisconsin campus.  Soon we were on the field of Badger Stadium which as awesome.   It’s been a while since I was on the field and it was great to relive some of the memories of being a football player under the lights.   I was cruising a 10-12 min mile as I was walking up the hills and had a positive mindset the entire time.   As I approached the first turn around I was able to see my family out there cheering me on.  This was a welcome sight since I’m normally doing these things with my main girl as my on-course support.  The Base Performance tent is always the life of the party out on the course.  Matt Miller and Tony Demakis always have the energy to get everyone going, and being a part of their team is a blast.  The 2nd loop I decided it was time to enjoy some of the scenery, so I walked the entire field of badger stadium.  When’s the next time I’m going to be on the field?  Here I was at mile 20 and it was still light out and I was feeling really good still.  Everyone has read stories about the finish line at Wisconsin, it’s what sucked me into wanting to do it.  As I approached mile 25, you can see the energy on both sides of the street.   As you’re running through it, you suck the energy in and you turn the corners to the chute and it’s nothing short of amazement.   The community there is fantastic and the best that I have encountered at any of my races of any distance.  As I was running down the finish chute I made sure that there was plenty of time between me and the next person.  I was pretty happy to have a 5:30 marathon time after everything.

I really recommend this race to any athlete who wants to do an Ironman.  I believe the course and the community really set this race apart from all the others.  Yes there are so many other races out there that have scenic courses and great community support, so what makes this one different?   In my opinion having Mike Reilly there and the transition being inside really bring it out, but what brings it over the top is the bike course support from the community.  Having them out there on those climbs kept us all going and lifted our spirits.

 

$50K to Kona in 2017.. #50k2Kona

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It’s most Ironman triathlete’s dream to go to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  Some triathletes are fast enough to qualify year in and year out, and others will do 12 Ironman triathlons and try to get into through the legacy program.  Then there are the charity fundraising slots.  It was my plan to age up into a slot where I could be fast enough to qualify and be an old guy who thinks he could race.

A good friend of mine ran it by me that I should try and raise $50,000 to race in Kona.   That’s right, the Super Bowl of triathlon.  He was able to raise it for his 2016 race, and immediately thought of me for 2017.  My first thought honestly was, why me?  As we spoke it became clear that my story is such an inspiration to many, and that I deserved it.  As we spoke more I shared my concerns in that $50K is a LOT of money and that I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it without A LOT of help.  I’m just not a good fundraiser.  We spoke some more and I told him that I would think about it and get back to him.

SmileTrain is a charity that fixes cleft palate for children around the globe.  I mean who doesn’t want to help kids smile?  Shouldn’t everyone have a smile?  Those of us without cleft palate take for granted what a smile does for us.  A smile tells others how we feel without having to physically say anything.  A smile that we see on others makes us feel better when we’re having a bad day.  Personally, I love making people smile.  It doesn’t matter what the age is.

The seed was planted.  I immediately started to think about it, and weight out all my options.  I questioned myself, cause my gut feeling was to do it.  I was pretty much afraid of failing.  It was a huge leap, but I couldn’t ignore my gut.  I’m always preaching to my clients that they need to get outside their comfort zone.  You can’t let the fear paralyze you from making a choice.  I spoke to my mom about it, she’s always been my biggest supporter and she mentioned that I’ve always found a way to overcome every challenge that I’ve taken on.  She was right.   I’ve overcome obesity, alcoholism, self-confidence problems, and most anything that I’ve put my mind to or decided to accomplish.  I’ve got a killer team helping me with this and plenty of support.  I deserve the chance to continue to inspire others and embody the mantra of Ironman “Anything is Possible”.

So what’s next?  Well, first will be a strategy pow-wow with my team.  First though I still can’t believe what I just did.

Big Life Changes

 

It’s been a busy summer since I last wrote of my Oceanside race.  I had a couple more races up my sleeve.  The Xterra Black Mountain 5K trail race, TriRock San Diego, and the Carlsbad Triathlon

April was filled with mostly sports nutrition workshops.  One was for my Primary Sports Nutritionist certification and the other was for my Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist Level 1 certification.  I’m proud to announce that I passed them both.  I was extremely nervous with both of these since they are very limited with who is able to get the certification.  It’s one thing I learned going through both certification processes is that I wish I knew all this stuff when I first started to lose weight.   I chased my tail in circles for a while thanks to all the misinformation out there on the internet.

May was the official launch of my Evolution Multisport.  It took a leap of faith, but I did it.  I knew it wasn’t going to take off, and I knew it was going to be challenging.  I partnered with TriDot which I’ve used in the past for coaching for my athletes.  All of them showed amazing improvements, which is what we like to see as a coach.   Running a business isn’t easy that’s for sure, especially when you’re just starting out.  One of my athletes who decided to go her own way but used the plan I gave her went on to take 3rd in her age group at TriRock San Dieo.  I was a very happy coach.

June few by, I was finally able to take a vacation and I went to Ireland for a week.  It was amazing and I could totally go back as well.  Back in May I started the Adult Learn to Swim program at Coggan Family Aquatic Complex which is slowly taking off.  I can’t say enough how rewarding it is to watch people swim for the first time in their adult lives.   I picked up an Art History class that is proving to be the end of me.   I know I’ll fail the class but I’ll do my best and see where I end up.  My book that I co-authored “The Silver Linings Story Book” is officially released and a best seller on Amazon, you can order the book here.  It was hard to keep my entire journey to 1 chapter of 3000 words since there is so much to write about.  Looks like I’ll have to write my own story book.

July so far has been a pretty solid month.  I did a relay at the Carlsbad Triathlon and rode to a personal best 22.6 MPH avg over the bike and felt great the entire way.  My knee has been finally feeling good enough to where I can start adding some serious mileage to my runs on Sunday.  I have Ironman Wisconsin in 50 days and can’t wait.   The one thing I learned about me doing Ironman races is that I’m not super fast, but I love the experience.