Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Road to my First IM..........Part 1

21 June 2011-

With IRONMAN Korea just 12 days away I figured I better get started on this blog that I wanted to post before I started my first IM. I think I will break it up into 3 or 4 parts and explain where I came from and where I plan on going. I will break it down into the last couple of years of training and where it all started. I figure the easiest way for me to reflect back is to do it by military assignments, and fortunately there has only been 3 since I started all this craziness. One of the most frequent questions that I get is, "What/How/Who got you into this?"

So the journey began in December of 2007, well that is when the thoughts of doing a tri crossed my mind. I got a random email with a flyer about a tri on base in June of 2008. I thought perfect, I have leave planned to go home in June and I was getting on the chunky side, yes for some of you that is hard to believe but I was close to 185lbs. I was staying somewhat active my first year in Korea, well if you consider playing Volleyball once a week and then drinking 2-4 nights a week active. Yes, Korea is known for its drinking, I can tell you skip 4 years of college partying go to Osan for ONE yes ONE year and you will get 4 years of college partying out of the way. So I drank quite a bit, wouldn't say I had a problem, but I was just tired of waking up hungover wasting the days away and not being productive.

I found a beginner tri plan online, picked up a cheap $250 bike and it all began in March 2008. I started riding with the local group of roadies and was getting my legs torn off for the first couple rides, well months. They all feared the beater bike that I had as the rear wheel was so out of true it wobbled from side to side and creaked like crazy. No one wanted to ride behind me as they feared this wheel was going to just come apart right in front of them. I finally upgraded two weeks before the first tri and did my first century on the Trek 1200 that I had purchased used. On that first century, me being the newb I was fell over about 25 miles into the ride, since I wasn't use to being clipped in. Pretty comical as everyone looked at me like I was a complete idiot, but I guess everyone has done it at least once ;)
Really, Who rides in basketball shorts, a t-shirt and reflective vest? I am surprised they even let me ride with them ;)The first bike, AKA A POS, A CLUNKER!

The first tri came and went and then I really got the bug. I went home on leave and lined up a bike to borrow from my uncle and signed up for another tri. That was my first open water swim, and both of my parents feared that I was going to drowned, well I thought it was a possibility as well as I was out there doggy paddling, side stroking, treading water and so on. Yes the swim has been my weak point since day 1! I got back from leave and met an awesome guy, which I have referred to before as "my logistical manager", Des. This is when all hell broke lose. From June-November I raced 16 different events, which included my first Marathon. To look back on that experience and how DUMB it was, click HERE. I didn't include it in there, but the longest run I had before that Marathon was an 18 miler, 4 days before. Then other than that was a half marathon the weekend prior and a few 5-6 miles run before that. Yes, I was young and dumb, well I still am, but I am slowly learning ;)
The first race, really who races topless? What a newbie!

All of my races throughout 2008 took place in Korea with one race at home while I was on leave. I was scheduled to depart Korea in April of 2009, so I signed up for my first Half IRONMAN with China 70.3. I came across a great deal over the winter and picked up my first tri bike with the Cervelo P3C. I got it on closeout and could not believe the deal I got on it and was really happy to be on a fast bike for my first big race. I went to China somewhat prepared as I had been training with some great people all winter long and was probably not properly trained, but I followed once again an online beginner plan and then did some other stuff on my own. I went to China really wanting to qualify for the World Championships, I had no idea how hard or easy it was going to be. I just thought I was in good shape, little did I know how rough of a day it was going to be and in what decent shape I was in. The one thing that saved me is that it got HOT, if you don't remember check out the race report and pictures. So I got that slot to the World Champs and had a great race for my first 70.3, well a great finish, I wouldn't call it much of a race.
Picking up the AG Win in China and the WC Slot to Clearwater!

So with all of this time spent in Korea there were some very very inspiring/influential people that impacted me and that have contributed in someway to where I am today. I owe it to them for shaping me into the athlete I am today, this has been a journey and without them it would not have been possible. So in no particular order, the people that were along for this portion of the journey:

Family- You guys have been along for this crazy ride the whole time. The support that you have provided is amazing and of course I would not be where I am today without you!

Col Becker (now General Becker)- For starting the sprint tri on base and being a mentor for me throughout the whole stay in Korea. Truly inspiring to see you at your "young" age still take it to us young guys and tear our legs off. To have a second family in Korea was really nice, for you and Sherri to open your house up for the Holidays really made me feel like I was at home, Thanks!

Mark- Once you arrived in February, everything went into fast forward and we trained HARD. You pushed me day in and day out and it was always a guarantee that you would show up for a workout. Crazy how fast two people can become great friends, but I guess when you spend crazy amounts of hours putting miles in that tends to happen. You and your family are truly amazing and you are an awesome role model that I look up to!

OC- Man o Man did we have some journeys throughout Korea. For making the trip out to Cali for WF and for all the memories, it was a good time.

Super Dave- For kicking my rear end on the bike day in and day out and teaching me the beginnings of becoming a cyclist.

Jeff- Man I was scared a few times you were going to run me off the road. You had to been tired of my newb ass the first couple rides always asking dumb questions ;) Thanks for making some awesome journeys throughout Korea and mentoring me on the tri scene!

Des- Dude you have been along on this whole journey. You have to be tired of all the favors I ask from you, but a lot of this wouldn't of happened without you there at Osan. I mean not being able to walk for a few days after my first marathon, I can thank you for that. Who convinces someone to run a marathon with no training...........YOU!

Eric- For making the journey out to China with me and experiencing that hell of a race. You have been a great mentor throughout this whole journey, thanks for all of your knowledge and expertise! Hopefully someday we will both be racing Kona together!

Tim R.- Once again another roadie that taught me about biking. Always good to share the road with you and enjoy some of Korea. I will never forget our stop at the Korean soup place out by the Ocean and how you didn't like sea food but still ate it.

Jess- For showing me what it was liked to constantly get "chicked" on group rides as you would tear my legs off. I was scared to go ride with you as it was never fun getting my legs torn off by you!

Shauna- For trying to make me a swimmer, I have come to the conclusion that it is a lost cause ;) I will get more into how great of a person you are in the next blog. But thanks for the great memories in Korea, and always telling me to get off the wall and swim more!

Tim L.- For being like Shauna and trying to make me a swimmer. I have come to the conclusion it is a lost cause!

Pyeongtaek Tri Club- These guys have been a huge help throughout all of my travels and racing in Korea. Without Mr. Yu and Bobby I would not have made it back from a few races or of gotten into some races. They have been an incredible group of people!

The Girls ;)- I won't name any names, juts that there were a few, very small number that put up with my craziness. I mean what kind of guy gets out of bed to go ride his bike and leaves a girl in bed on the weekend? Well I can say that the stupidity of that has paid off with the training and results, but not with the girls as obviously I am still single. But for the ones that put up with it for the time while I was in Korea I appreciated it!

Anyone else that I left off, I am sorry. It was a few years back and I am getting old so my memory is slipping me. The first couple of months were really just a blur as it seemed all I did was just race, well more than train, it has been said that when starting out you can race your way into shape, and it seems that I successfully did that without getting injured, lucky me!

So that was the first portion of the journey in a nutshell. I tried to keep it short and sweet and I am sure I left out some funny stories, but man it seems like that was a long time ago.

The group ride where everyone got to see me topple over. For some reason whenever we would have a century ride massive amounts of people would come out. I don't think we have this many roadies at Osan right now. Maybe all it takes is putting together a century and they will all come out.

Meeting Triathlon Olympic bronze meadlist Jan Rehula.
My first podium and AG Win!

Myself and Mr. Yu, this man speaks very little English, but he has taken me in as one of his own team members and has helped me out throughout all of my time in Korea. Great man and kick as Triathlete!

Well until I get around to typing up Part 2, this will have to do...........

1 comment:

Dad and Brenda said...

Loved reading your update. You really have come a LONG way as the pictures and races prove!