I’m 31 years old with two awesome kids and a beautiful wife. My third awesome kid is coming in July. During the day, I manage the marketing of UPS freight forwarding products in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Early in the mornings and many Saturdays, however, I am an passionate amateur triathlete.
But I wasn’t always like that – not by a long shot.
Before triathlon, there was a LOT more of me
In 2013, I was 80 pounds heavier than I am today. I topped out at 233. When your wife is an incredible southern cook, it’s hard to not eat three plates at dinner. However, I decided that might be a bit much. Over three years, I gradually lost weight at about a half a pound a week, and I came to love running. It mostly involved diligent, daily use of MyFitnessPal food tracking and running.
Shockingly, running became a whole lot easier as I lost weight. Eventually, a mile didn’t utterly destroy me. A couple miles did, but I just kept working at it. In April 2015 I ran my first half marathon, and in November 2015, I did my first full marathon in Richmond, Virginia, with a time of 3:35. That was the first major race I competed in, and the enjoyment was addicting.
My legs started to feel the stress of serious running six days a week, so I had the desire to start cross training to prevent injuries. The big problem, however, was the funds. I was finishing up graduate school and budgeting every penny. My wife was supportive, but I knew we had to be very wise about what I could spend money on for my new interest.
The super-frugal triathlon newbie phase (hasn’t ended yet)
I got extremely lucky and found a road bike on craigslist that was fantastic. I started riding, and (very) slowly buying tri gear – clip on aero handlebars, clipless pedals, etc.
Swimming was the next hurdle. Every time I went into the pool, I felt as if I was drowning. I did my best to learn how to breathe – but I was still gulping in water by the mouthful every lap – and that was if I could even complete more than one lap. Two months of almost drowning finally paid off, and I slowly started to actually enjoying swimming. I finally figured out how to breathe – although coaches have told me I was doing it all wrong (and still have some bad habits from being self taught).
As my final year of graduate school came to a close, and I prepared to start working full-time with UPS, I gave myself a graduation present of entries into a couple of the Trivium Multisport series, a fantastic local series around Greensboro, North Carolina.
My first race was the Hagan Stone Park Duathlon. I really have to hand it to Trivium for making the event approachable for a first-time athlete. I talked with the race director, who gave me lots of encouragement and eased all my worries. Only about 100 people competed, which was perfect for me, and I ended up in 13th place overall. It was such a blast, and the people were all so fun, cool, and supportive, that I knew I’d found my passion. Best of all, I had the most enthusiastic cheerleader – my daughter Rachel.
Phase two: my first full Ironman and continuing to learn and grow
My biggest race was Ironman Texas in Houston on April 22, 2017. I had a great first season with several sprint triathlons and an Olympic distance one as well – I felt ready to take on the big one. My goal was to finish the race in under 12 hours – although it was my first one, so finishing at all would be a highlight no matter what my time is. My longer term goal would be breaking 11 or even 10 hours. Everything went well with the race, and I did it in 10:50 – blowing away my goal. Race Report Here.
To train for the race, I did about 10-12 hours a week, generally following Kevin Coady’s Sub 10 Ironman in 10 Hours Per Week, although I add in a couple functional strength sessions, and I take Sundays completely off to attend the LDS church.
Phase three: growing with 70.3s
Far into my second full-fledged season, I’m focusing on 70.3 racing. I have a supportive family and a ton more to learn. My hope is that my experiences can help guide yours as well. Let me know if I can help.