Sunday, April 23, 2006

After the race I was disappointed . . . Now I am grateful.

After the race I was disappointed . . . Now I am grateful.

There are many things I could write to you about concerning this race today. I beat some personal records; I have never felt better before a race. I finished 22 minutes under my goal time. I was beaten AGAIN by my friend Mike Pate, but after I took time to actually think about that disappointment of letting down my team of Brian (hope you feel better soon brother) and Vanilla, and just not being able to step it up mentally, I came to a real peace in my soul. That sounds a little deep. Insightful! Dramatic! It’s not. It’s really simple.

I am grateful. I am grateful to my friend Mike Pate. I am thankful to Bamaboy, and DonC. I am truly thankful to Konaboy, and Vanilla. I am thankful to God. I am grateful to all of my new friends who keep me motivated when I want to stop, lie down, and take a nap.

I am grateful to my new, but so awesome friends who I hope to become closer with, Brandy and John. I am grateful to Big D. I love that woman! I will tell more later! I am grateful to ALL of my BRtri club fiends and their family and their friends that push me along.

I am so grateful to m beautiful wife, Amanda. She questions me at times, but supports me unconditionally. My family and I could go on and on and individually point out so many of you who have made me truly grateful to participate in this wonderful sport we call triathlon.

The race, named Louisiana Tri and New Roads. 800m swim, but I think as do others it was a teeny bit longer, by maybe 200m. Then to an 18.5 mile bike and caped off with a little 5k.

I will take you through the night prior to the race since it is truly entertaining, then the race it ‘self.

Amanda and I are stuck in Atlanta GA. Sitting in a little sardine airplane, packed with people, crying babies, and one mother of a storm front on top of us. Our flight had been delayed for over an hour as we let the worst of the storm pass over. The worst of it, mind you.

Finally, cleared for take off, we head of into the wild blue . . . Scratch that, we head off into the clouded, thunder and lightning, raining black yonder. I have flown in just about every situation imaginable, Amanda however . . . Not so much. I felt really bad for the children, this flight was going to put a scar on them for life when it comes to flying.

The pilot seemed to want to hurry through the front as quickly as possible, until he hit a massive, I mean massive pocket and if it wasn’t bolted down, it went flying. Water bottles, magazines, baby bottle, glasses, it was nasty. This continued for another 20 minutes, not as bad as the first drop, but bad.
After while we headed north to get around it and we had a lot of clean air, but then was THE mother of the night. It wasn’t as bad as the first jolt, however the pilot had briefly turned off the fasten seatbelt sign. I think it was to let the many who were quite sick, go to the bathroom. However, I am sure that after one lady was sprawled out on the floor and one guy hit his head on the compartment above, he regretted that decision. The sign cam right back on.

Finally we land in Baton Rouge at around 1:30ish in the morning. We were supposed to land at 11:40ish. Amanda, well, let’s just say that she may not fly for a few weeks after that little voyage. We get our bags and off to the SUPER WAL-MART, MART, Mart, MART . . .


I was responsible to 3 boils for our club crawfish party we were having after the race. I was in Phoenix ALL week at a conference. Amanda and I had it all planned, she would go get the produce off of the list, I would get the spices and meats, READY . . . Closed.

I thought the SUPER meant 24 hour. I, was wrong.

We get home unpack and then I re-pack my dirty vehicle with table, and other crawfish gear, then my tri gear. I kiss my wife good-night and I am snoring before the pillow meets my head.


What in the world, went through my head. It was my alarm. Crap, I thought, I must have set it wrong, and I just got to sleep. I put o the glasses, and went to set my wake-up time correctly, for 5:10AM. I grab my clock, look for the button to set the alarm and I se that my clock says . . . 5:10AM.

Oh Boy. I jump in the shower. Load my bike, drive to SUPER Wal-Mart. It is a quarter to 6:00AM/. Wal-Mart opens at 6:00AM. I am thinking, be there, the door opens, you’re in and out! Not so. Let me tell you about Wal-Mart at 6:00AM. One word, BOXES. There were boxes everywhere. People! People everywhere, unloading boxes, everywhere! I would slither and for a guy my size it is quite difficult to “slither”, down one isle to be blocked at another. Cart, don’t even try it. I would leave my cart at the end of the isle, go get stuff and run it back. I had fun.

In my truck by 6:35AM and I am off!

I get to the race site at 7:20AM. I check in. Once again, the only T-Shirt they have is a Large this time. Talk about motivation to lose weight, it is all of these XL and Large T-shirts I have in my tri shirt drawer!

I set up the transition site get Brandy to fix my AWESOME Garmin 305 and I begin to do the race in my head. In my head I was quite successful.

We get on the starting line for the swim. Mike and I are joking around and chatting. The gun goes off and both Mike and me . . . I am laughing out loud at this right now, we BOTH slip on the algae covered boat ramp and fall butt first onto the ramp, in the water.

The reason this is so funny to me is this. I realize there are folks there as spectators and fans that see Mike and I and think to themselves, initially, “What in the world are those fat guys doing out there?” So in my mind, what better way to solidify their lingering question than for BOTH of us to fall flat on our butts into the water at the SAME time!!!!

The swim was leisurely. I felt ok, but knew I needed to pick it up to pace Mike, he is a good swimmer, not by fat guy standards either. Problem was, every time I tried to pick up my pace I would get out of good swimming motion. I would actually slow down and get out of rhythm. I need to work more on my swim technique. I see the end and reach the same boat ramp I fell on. I was determined not to do this again. I didn’t.

As I entered the transition I saw Mike, he was heading out on the bike. He was going to be a good 4 or 5 minutes ahead of me by the time I got out on the bike. As I exited the transition I jumped on my bike and clipped into the pedal and cranked down one only to jerk the chain right off of the rear cogs. CRAP! I jumped off, linked in back on and off I went. I made a pact with myself to win this race on the bike. I wanted to catch Mike as we were coming in on the bike into transition and stay with him on the run. I was cranking on the bike. I was being passed by a few folk, but I was also passing folks too.

I saw Mike at the turn around and knew I was only about 3 miles behind at the most. I began to crank harder. I felt pretty good. My right calf, the one that always cramps, began to do so at about mile 14. I rode the rest of the bike with a cramp. I zoomed into the transition. As I entered and racked my bike, Mike was leaving the transition. I didn’t make up the time I wanted to. But I transitioned quickly for me and took off.

As you leave transition they have water and Gatorade there for you. I grabbed some and started up this ridiculous hill that was sick to have to do right after you jump off your bike. I cramped a little more, but shook it off. I could see Mike about 300 yards ahead, he stayed 300 yards ahead the first mile and a half.

If I had on complaint about this race, it was the lack of water stations. There was only one on the run course. I went through it watered up and began to crank it on the run. I was catching up. I think by the time we entered the park towards the end I was around 150 yards behind. Then the physical and mental drop of the ball happened.

As many of you read, I ran the CCC last weekend. You can read that post below. During this race I formed 3 massive blisters on my left foot, two on the sole and one on my heel. At this point they hadn’t been a problem. Now, they were. The largest blister opened up on my sole. It was hurting bad, but not so bad that I couldn’t keep the pace I was running. Then, the blister on my heel came wide open. This was the part where physically I was losing it. As we entered the park, I could still see I was gaining on Mike and then, my mental block.

This really sucked for me. Once we got into the park I thought we were really near the finish line. I could see Mike rounding the corner to what I thought was the finish. Here I let my mental focus go and began to slow down from the pain, thinking he was about to cross the finish.

Problem was, he was no where near the finish, but I didn’t know that. I began walking. Then I see Mike coming towards me. I am thinking he is coming to cheer me in, but he is across this little spillway. Then I realize, we have a ways to go!

Here is where my biggest disappointment of the day came. I tried and tried to make my legs go. They wouldn’t. Mike had one of his team mates who went back and ran with him to motivate him. I just tried to get my legs to move, but the pain in my left foot was too much. I gave up and I am disappointed in me for that.

Mile crossed about 4 or 5 minutes before me. One of the BRtri club members, a real nice guy I see at every race, but have yet to remember his name and I feel horrible for that since he has always been so awesome to me, he came back and ran the last ½ mile with me, then Big D and another BRtri’er came back too.

As I was dying, Big D asked if I wanted her t sing to me. I think I was a little rude, but I could only get out, “NO.” She laughed. Big D is such an awesome person. She is kind, motivating, and genuine. Those are hard traits to pack into one person, not to mention she is a kick butt triathlete! I finally crossed the finish and mike and I congratulated one another with high 5’s and hugs. I began drinking massive amounts of water and Gatorade that people were giving me. WHERE WAS THIS ON THE COURSE!

Mike stayed with me for a good while. I think he saw I was losing it mentally. These races take a lot out of you mentally as well. We walked about 100 yards and I began to fire hose puke. I am not sure how many times, but it was enough to put out a small forest fire, I think.

As I calmed down and caught my bearings, Mike and I chatted with a few folks and I sat down on a cooler. I know I look like crap after a race, but today I think I looked even worse than normal. What a sight for sore eyes.

After loading up my truck and saying goodbye to my friends, Brandy and John, I climbed nimbly into my truck and said my thanks to the Big Man upstairs and drove to the crawfish party.

I was dead tired, but excited to boil crawfish for everyone. We had the party at Clay’s family’s camp right there on the False river which was also where the swim of the race was.
Clay and his family are wonderful. They are always so welcoming to us when we come out to swim and today they turned their camp over to us as we had one heck of a festival.

We boiled and ate many a good crawfish. Drank beer and had fun with our group, while children fed dogs and adults fed their faces. Thank you Clay and thank your generous family for us as well.

I am thankful. Mike, Bama, DonC. Vanilla, Konaboy. I have races harder and faster than I thought I could, because you guys have helped me in creating this competition. While I know I am not much to compete against at 375 pounds, it is the idea of the competition and doing my best, then some, that has me indebted and grateful to you guys.

I am losing weight and having fun doing it.

Thank you to all those who support me through this blog, your emails and posts are so inspiring and helpful.

Until next time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really don't know how you have the guts to do this. Again and again. And you are not a quitter.
I wish I could be more like you.
momda loves you.