To say this was a big weekend for me would be an understatement. I
was heading to Ironman Chattanooga to do my first Half distance triathlon
with a lot offamily and friends there to share in the moment; it was
lined up to be an epic event...as long as the weather would cooperate on
Not only was this a big weekend for me, it was also a big weekend
for the whole family, you see the end of May is when everything happens.
It's my oldestdaughter Kelsey's 23rd birthday (May 22nd); it's my wife
Katie and mines 24th wedding anniversary the same day (I still say Kelsey is
the best 1st anniversarypresent ever), and it's my youngest daughter
Brookes 19th birthday (May 27th); oh yeah and my birthday (May 26th). So we
would go celebrate all these thingswhile also "squeezing in" a race.
After celebrating Friday night with a nice dinner we called it quits
and made plans to get up early and hit the IronKids 1 mile run that Marvin
would do withbig sis Kelsey. About halfway through the run he looked at
Kelsey and said we should've done the half mile race. He's a sprinter.
Remember he's Haitian notKenyan.
When the run finished we decided I would go check-in and get my
packet while they checked out the village, little did I know they were
secretly buying mybirthday presents. A cool beer tumbler, visor,
shirt and some other cool novelty items.
After getting all checked-in I hooked back up with them and we
planned on heading back to the hotel pool for a swim and some hot tub time.
I checked out mynew goggles and they worked great. Now it was time
to take a spin and then run afterwards, all coordinated around the bike
check-in and the athletes meeting, while The Fam hit the discovery
museum with Marvin.
While dropping off the bike at check-in I ran into Jennifer Powell
Parker and Sarah Lamont. I had gotten behind schedule and wanted to run
longer but theyconvinced me that I should go to the meeting and not
skip it to go run. So I went, and as I was leaving I see the two of them
walking up with bags in hand. I asked where they went and they said "we
had more important things to do you know"; shopping!!!
The final spin and run went well and it was time to meet up with The
Fam again to do our favorite thing, EAT. One more family meal, the pre-game
meal wasfinally picked and the winner was Mellow Mushroom for pizza
and maybe a beer (don't tell my coach). After eating we went back to the
hotel and I began toprep for the big day by getting all my stuff
prepared for the morning and T1 and T2 and boom I'm ready to go. About the
time I finished after a beautiful twodays the dreaded weather we all knew
was coming finally arrived. It looked awful, I checked the radar, even
worse. What had been a lot of fun up until thenjust become a
nightmare. I'll admit I was kinda bummed, but as Katie prayed that night
for my safety and the other athletes safety and that the weather notbe a
factor, I felt a sudden calm about everything and not anxious.
I slept well and when I woke up I was pleasantly surprised to see
that the rain had subsided and the winds had calmed. Hallelujah!!! Brooke
was up with meand planned on driving me down to the drop off for
transition. At breakfast we met a young man from Sweden via Atlanta who was
going to walk down totransition, over a mile, but I convinced him to ride
with us. Good thing he did otherwise he would've missed the race (I'll
As Brooke dropped us we wished each other luck and parted ways, and
as I approached transition I could hear them announce 15 minutes until
transition closes?? WHAT THE HECK? 15 minutes..that must be wrong, I've
got 45 minutes according to my faulty calculations. The time I had recalled
was 6:45 that it closed not6:15. Crap, I was all of a sudden in a rush
and flustered. I didn't get my T1 stuff set out, my bikes shoes, my socks
(I always wear socks), my glasses, etc....none of my food. I quickly
grabbed my wetsuit and goggles(which I remembered at the last second) and
was ushered out by the transition staff...My swimcap I didn't have my
swim cap. I was in a rush and forgot it in my wetsuit bag, which was in the
transition area. They would not let me back in. I slothedover to the
buses and got on and took the first seat inside the door; the next two faces
I saw; the duo of JPP and Sarah Lamont. They took the seat directly
behind me and we talked, they calmed me down it was good seeing their
smiling faces and hanging out with them.
We would soon see more familiar faces in the form of Katie Dotson
and Renee Black. They snapped a photo JPP/SL and me. Thanks for being
As the swim was about to start I saw Paul Horton, one of my favorite
45-49 yr old age groupers. He quickly introduced me to Andy Jones(more on
Andy later) and Jim Hall. Good group of guys.
As we waited for the swim start they announced the upriver portion
was cancelled that the current was too much. As we walked down the ramp I
wa ready to go.
I hit the water and started churning. Everything went great and
before I knew it I was getting out. I saw and heard my family yelling my
name and cheeringfrom the crowd and it made me excited to be here.
SWIM TIME: 18:34
RANK: 415 OVERALL 48 DIVISION
On to T1...I lost a ton of time here looking for my socks, where
were my socks, dang it I can't find them. Finally got them. I finally got
them and my shoesand my helmet and glasses and I was off and heading
to the bike out (After 8 long minutes, not acceptable just plain awful).
Finally off and rolling on the bike I began to pick off people very
quickly. Although I had 1 guy that I would go back and forth with for the
next 32miles (until I dropped my water bottle making a transfer
from an empty to a full one from behind my seat). He was as sad as I was as
I heard him say "oh noooway man", as I slowed to stop and retreive
the rolling cylinder. We had pushed each other up to that point and it had
kept our paces up. I leaned the bikeagainst a mailbox while I
frantically ran around looking for my bottle. While I was stopped Andy
Jones came up and as he passed by asked me if I was Ok? andif I needed
anything like a tube or something? did I flat? He was concerned enough to
ask just a couple hours after meeting for the first time and risk hisrace
to see if he could assist me. This says a lot about him as a person.
I was off and rolling again and back to doing my most favorite thing
to do on a bike tri course...pass people. Another mistake, while on the
bike I wouldonly take in two bottles of fluids and two gels packs. This
course was awesome though.
BIKE TIME: 2:27:36
RANK: 291 OVERALL 37 DIVISION
RANK: SWIM + BIKE 192 OVERALL 25 DIVISION
On to T2...another slow transition; if I cleaned those up I would've
broke 5 hours, which was my goal initially.
Once again, I was spurred on by the cheers of my family and friends
as I exited the run to start my first ever venture into running double digit
miles. The most I had evere done beofre today was 9.5 roughly.
Now that I was on to my achilles heel, pun intended we would see how
things went. After high fives with The Fam to keep me reved up I hit the
first hill outof transition an knew that it was going to be a grind. I
felt my hamstrings start to twitch and remembered that feeling just before
both of them cramped on aprevious brick. Yep not too much after that
both of them seized up and had me straight-legging it while trying to
continue to walk. I reached in my pocketand grabbed this thing
called a HOT SHOT that had been included in my goodie bag. I proceeded to
slug this down while walking...it tasted like a shot ofFireball and
I don't like Fireball. I began to run again and made it about 100 yds
before I leaned up against the guardrail and hurled. I glanced up to see
a lady running by, as I continued to dry heave, that had a major blowout and
had I not just puked I certainly would've after seeing (and smelling her run
by). A fellow racer with a good sense of humor pat me on the shoulder and
said atleast you didn't $h!t yourself.
I laughed cause that's all I could do; then I started to run again
and a strange thing happened, no more issues with the hammys or claves or
quads. I was offand running again. I got to mile 4 or so and passed
by a large aide area with everything inlcuding porto-pottis, because I
didn't need to use one at thetime. Too bad I suddenly got the urge about
3 minutes after passing this area cause there wasn't another close enough
for me according to the way I suddenlyfelt. Oh man this was bad, I was
about to like that lady I was smelling earlier, nasty!!! I did all I could
to squeeze my cheeks and run at the same time, this is hard to do, all
while trying to look like a normal person.
I finally got to another set of porto-pottis, thank goodness, but
wait, what, I don't have to go it's actually only gas, I could've done that
on the coursehad I not been afraid it was more. Get your butt up and get
back out and keep running man lets go.
Got out started running again and passed the split for the first
lap. I got to high five my son and wave to the Fam and hear some
encouraging words fromthem like "are you really that slow a runner"? I
know I am. I was off and running hard again after that boost, but wait, it
wasn;t just gas, it was Back.
2 miles up the road was going to be the closest place to go; could I
make it? YES I did. At last, relief. As my son Marvin would say, "I
didn't go #1 or #2that was a #22". You don't want to ever go #22.
WHOA!!! I got out and the next 5 miles were like a breeze.
I would see Katie and Renee again at the top of a nasty little hill
cheering people on, that was a needed boost after that climb.
I started to realize that short of a disaster I was going to finish
my first half, which was goal number 1; I knew it was close but I was sure
my ship hadsailed on my second goal. I wanted to break 5 hours. I
knew I had to just keep churning and after I came across that wooden bridge
and made a left turn Iwas getting pumped up.
I came down the last hill towards the finish and heard Brooke first
yell way to go Dad, then I saw Katie and Marvin and my triathlon buddy
Kelsey and Istarted to get a little emotional after I had crossed the
finish line. I was so thankful they were there to share in this with me and
to genuinley beexcited for me to complete the race and we all
hugged. It was a great day and my main joy came from having them there with
RUN TIME 2:08:39
Rank: 586 Overall 64 Division
OVERALL TIME: 5:07:48
Thanks to Katie and Renee and Derek for being on the course and
thanks to Dr. Hicks and Nick Morgan for answering all my texts and phone
calls about what todo about anything I had questions on, and any others
for being out there; if I failed to mention you I'm sorry. Thanks to Dr.
Sprouse and Podium for puttingthis team together and for the sponsorship
and I look forward to the rest of the season. Oh yeah, first race blog, so
all others will be much shorter if Iever do one again.