Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Before and After . . .


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Let's Ride 112 miles!

This is the link to the IRONMAN video – I show up about the middle-ish. Red Transition black spuik helmet – BIG OLE BOY – eating a sandwich!!!

If you want to go directly to where I am in the video – PUT the play cursor (the circle that moves while video is playing) right above the A in ironmAn.


Let’s go ride 112 miles!

Before I begin my Ironman race recap – Let me apologies for taking so long with my Race Report. It is a very busy time at the end of the year, but I will complete this in its entirety by next week.

Now to the good stuff!

As I jogged through transition I repeated my cycling mantra – EASY DOES IT!

Again, I had good people sharing their experiences with me (Which I suggest everyone do.) regarding the do’s and don’ts of an Ironman. I heard loud and clear from each of them . . . Don’t go out too hard on the bike. They warned me of the experience and the push you may get from the cheering spectators and then once that is over I might experience the desire to push hard when someone passes me in the first couple miles. “Stay focused, stay calm, stay easy” is what I was told and I did just that, but it wasn’t easy.

As I jumped on the bike I could hear the screams of people around me, “GO 1129!” or the same ole “Go Big Boy!” (I think I will always be big boy!!!) When you ride through the chute it is exciting and remains so until you get on the first stretch of road along the beach. People are cheering you on non-stop in that stretch on Thomas Drive, but I just settled in remained calm within myself and began to think about the day.

Once I was on the gulf front road I was surprised at how low my HR was while I was holding 23mph? Odd? I was passed about 4 or 5 times and it WAS difficult to sit back, but I had my plan and I was going to stick with it. The good news was that I was passing many more folks (Not that I get pleasure out of that, but If I am being passed, I don’t mind passing!) After about 4 miles I felt ready to roll. My sea legs were gone quickly, which I didn’t expect.

As we turned North headed to the only real hill on the course (which is an overpass) I noticed the wind pick up slightly. From this point it would be about 20 miles until the turn east. They have been doing a great deal of work on this hwy. I have ridden the Gulf Coast Half course many times and this road has changed over the years.

There was a guy with a cowbell wearing a cowboy had and an accent. I am not sure, but I think it was Australian? He would park across the hwy, come over and cheer us on with his cowbell. Then jump in his car ride ahead 20 miles or so and cheer us on again. He did this the entire ride. I appreciated it, A LOT!

I saw him the first time about 3 miles before the overpass. My goal on the overpass . . . SPIN BABY SPIN! But some may argue with my spin method. See, I never ever get out of the big ring. I know I am working on it! As I reached the top of the overpass I felt great. As I descended at a wicked speed I used my same old boring on bike conversation starter, as I would fly past people – I say “Man if this were an all down hill triathlon!” I know, goofy, but for some reason I feel guilty flying by everyone!!!???

The road surface after the overpass was smooth as a baby’s butt. The next 15 or so miles were heaven. I thought to myself, (self) if this is what the day has in store for me – Today will be a GREAT day!


It wasn’t 2 seconds after we made the right turn east onto hwy 20 that I was introduced to some really sucky headwind! I told myself it wasn’t going to last . . .

As I passed the first penalty tent I hollered out to my peeps! Luke, Vanilla, and all those folk were working the first penalty tent. It was nice seeing them if only for a second.

The wind never let up. The long stretch on Hwy 20 was miserable. There were a couple highlights.

As I was at about mile 50 a van pulled up beside me and the rear tailgate was up and there was a guy with a camera. I said hello. Of course I am eating!!!! Speaking of . . .

I am a planner. It is what I do for a living. I plan everything to a T. Here was my nutrition. At the top of every hour I had an Uncrustable peanut butter and honey sandwich, 200 calories. These are great. My friend Caroline introduced them to me. They are in the frozen section of your supermarket. At the 15 minute mark I would take in 2 endurolites from Hammer Nutrition and lots of fluid (I use NUUN cola). At the 30 minute mark I take in one gel which I use Hammer Banana and again, lots of fluid. At the 45 minute mark I take 2 more endurolites and more fluid. Then repeat this every hour!

This is the link to the IRONMAN video – I show up about the middle-ish. Red Transition black spuik helmet – BIG OLE BOY – eating a sandwich!!!

If you want to go directly to where I am in the video – PUT the play cursor (the circle that moves while video is playing) right above the A in ironmAn.


I was holding my goal of LOW heart rate. Taking it really easy. This was my first IM and I wasn’t going to blow up. But, I was a little frustrated to be going 16-17mph heading east on Hwy20. BUT THEN . . .

We turned South.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!! I averaged 25mph on the short stretch south before heading to 388 west. I felt great. I had just stopped at my special needs bag and re-lubed (you can’t do this enough!) I dug into my small bag of Pringles (yeah yeah – I’ve heard enough from you skinny tri freaks of nature on my Pringles – It worked for me!) and I was off.

How funny was this – My Momma drove all the way out to the turn to see me pass – I was literally making the turn and she was getting out of her car with her chair and all to set up shop!!!! How funny! I love you Momma!!!!!

I held a pretty nice speed and a low HR all the way up to 388 where we turn right for about 6 miles then make a U-Turn and come back. THIS ROAD SUCKED!!!!!!!!

Not only was the wind back in our face but this road surface was miserable. MISERABLE!!!!!!! I think the only good news was that I THINK the road was so bad at a perfect place in the race (about the middle) and it made the remaining bike spectacular!

When we did make the U-Turn . . . The road was still crappy, BUT the wind was beneath our wings!

My next concern was the Gulf Coast Half IM course on 388 heading west is UGLY and the road surface is not pretty. But to my surprise . . . THEY have redone the road surface and this road is now like BUTTER!

I couldn’t have been happier. As I passed the last penalty tent ON THE COURSE I hollered out to my friends Susan and Nancy and Greg Cole who were working that tent.

I was having a hard time holding back and keeping my HR at the 145 to 155 I had set for myself. But I knew I had to because my run is so horrible.

As I came to the overpass I powered up it and knew I was home free and feeling well. Just before we turned onto the Overpass road I saw my friend with his cowbell and he gave me a “Cheers! Good job!” I thanked him and headed to the house!

When I hit gulf front road and headed towards transition . . . I admit – I picked it up a little. I also did what I said I wouldn’t . . . As I hit the chute off of Thomas Drive I was a little hyper. After New Orleans 70.3 I thought I had learned not to act a fool and exert a lot of un-needed energy. NOT!

I hollered and screamed like a moron. I flew into transition – gave up my bike and headed to get my transition bag.

As I did I saw my friend Will. He is a hell of an athlete and a better coach/trainer. I don’t plug things on here. This is his website and he does a hell of a job.


I was all kind of pumped up! I grabbed my Transition bag and headed into the transition room.

Good news was – Not so many swinging Richards this time!

I sat down and took off my cycling shorts. I wore my tri shorts underneath and I think it worked out very well. I lubed again! This time I hit my toes and between my toes really well. I thanked the transition team and headed out to run 26.2 miles.

Up to this point I am loving life!

Run Race report coming soon!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Let’s have sum fun!

3:13am Wake.

3:15am Eat micro waved breakfast burrito – Begin hydrating

4:00am Shower

4:45am Meet Greg and Nancy in Lobby for ride to Race Site

5:00am Double check bike, inflate tires, fill Speedfill, relax!

7:00am GO TIME!

Sounds easy enough right! Right?

Here we go.

I woke right at 3:00am which was fine and threw my breakfast in the microwave and double checked my special needs bags. My friend Vanilla left me with many pieces of wisdom and one was – LESS IS MORE – and I took it to heart. I had minimal items in both special needs bags and on my bike. I had the most stuff in my bike special needs bags. And minimal items in my run bag. I will post in another post what I had in all of my gear and special needs bags .

After eating my breakfast slowly and sipping on Gatorade with Hammer pre race fuel in it I decided I didn’t want to wait for my show and jumped in about 3:30am.

After a LONG hot shower I LUBED BABY! I was determined not to have a single chafe issue. I had Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in every crack and crevasse on my body. I thought I might slide out of my tri shorts when I put them on!

All morning I visualized my day. One sport at a time seeing myself finish with smiles at each point. After having a good 5-minute one on one time sitting on the balcony I headed down to meet my friends Greg and Nancy. How awesome are they. They were volunteers on the bike course, but woke extra early to take the stress off of me worrying about driving and finding a parking spot etc. They were also full of wise advice for me.

After arriving at the race site (which was like an ant farm!) I dropped my bike special needs bag at its point then walked my run special needs bag off down by Alvin’s. I felt like I should have been a little more stressed, but I was reasonably calm with all things considered . . . Would that last?

After pumping my tires up to 110 and filling my speedfill hydration system, I went through the rest of the check list . . .

I had my cycling shorts on over my tri shorts and was wearing my race top as well. Bike was in race mode. Computers all zero-ed and head was on my shoulders.

As for my bike and transition area . . . Good to go.

I headed up to the boardwalk condo where my wife, sister, and baby girl were in a dead sleep when I arrived! I kissed Amanda on the cheek and rubbed Melaina’s belly as I have done every morning since her birth.

My friend Lance, who Amanda was staying with at Boardwalk, was also racing today. We hung in the living area for a bit, took some pictures, and I am sure we were both thinking about our day.

It was time.

Our wetsuits half on and my gonads in my throat we headed to the beach. I met Lance’s Mom and Dad on the way and we again took a few more pics of Lance and the family.

I saw my friend Andy and a few others as I hit the cool white sand. “Here we are” I thought to myself. “Hew were are.”

As I walked down the beach to the swim start I was visualizing and I was really caught up in the moment. I don’t want to say I was overwhelmed, but I was absolutely on the verge of suffocating inside of myself.

Here were my thoughts.

“I was 453 lbs 5 years ago. I am still so big now at 240lbs. Can I do this? I can do this. I WILL DO THIS. Shit. (BIG SIGH) Where’s my wife? My Dad? (Big Sigh) Wow there are a lot of people out here. (I laugh to myself) I forgot my 2nd wave starts here – sign! (Laugh again – out loud I think) This is going to rock. Remember to smile all day. “

Then a familiar voice from behind. It’s Gloria, Scott, and Charles (Vanilla)!!! What great faces to see just before I take off.

I was having problems with my wetsuit and how awesome to have the two people I trust the most when it comes to triathlon right there to help me. They pulled my suit up and got it into a perfect fit position for me. Zipped me up and offered some encouraging words. Scott suggested I take off my chain with my cross off. He was worried about chafing – But call me crazy but, I couldn’t do it. Yes – I regretted later when it came to the pain and chafing, but mentally and spiritually I am glad I had it.

After hugs to them I head the announcement that the pros were about to start . . . WHAT!!!!!

I wasn’t even close to the corral yet. How do I get into the Corral?????? Oh man! There were so many people. I was politely saying excuse me for a while then PURE PANIC SET IN!!!!! I think I put a little old lady in the sand face first at one point! I ran to the front and went into the water and then into the corral. Whew.

About this time I am standing in the very back of the racers. Wow. I was taking in all of the red caps. All of the people. Then I heard my wife yelling for me.

I can’t explain exactly what happened here, but I just saw them. I simply walked over and looked and my wife and child and this burst of emotion took over and began to pour out of me. I didn’t begin to cry, but I had a physical reaction to this little emotional episode. Like I said I can’t explain it, but I was as close as a big grown burley man can be to tears without actually crying?????

Then the National Anthem began and I sang like a rock star!

Here we GO!!!!!!!!!!!

The cannon went off and I began to walk. My mind told me what was going on, but my legs were well in front of me. They were on a mission.

The water was cool but not cold. The churn ahead of me was less intimidating than I thought it would be, but more beautiful. All of those bodies with their red swim caps, fighting to take full swim strokes while someone else was stuck in their arm pit . . . It was awesome.

I’d say the first 250 meters was not really swimming, but more surviving and half stroking. I hit a few people and felt bad. I was kicked and then I didn’t feel as bad about those I accidentally hit!!! HA! The water was pretty nice on the way out on the first loop. I finally got into a rhythm at about the 600 meter mark.

I spoke to soon.

I had a guy who was a faster swimmer than me, but a much worse spotter. I stayed positive even after the 3rd or 4th time he crossed literally right over top of me. The poor guy probably ended up swimming 3 miles since he zig-zagged the entire course. I decided to sit up for just a second and let him get a little in front of me. MISTAKE!!!!!

There were more people behind me and around me than I thought. I quickly got back into my stroke and battled with a few folk for another 200 or 300 meter until we hit the first turn to the left. The water had begun to sell just a little. It was getting kinda rough. But after the first turn I began to hit a little bit of a rhythm.

I am not sure I mentioned this yet . . .

My goal for the first 127.5 miles of this day was to keep a LOW LOW LOW Heart Rate and never feel I was exerting too much at all. I was afraid of that proverbial “wall” everyone talks about. So I was taking it easy on my swim and felt great up to this point.

As we began the stretch back to the beach on our first loop I ended up right next to a female swimmer. We were stroke for stroke. Our cadence, speed, everything was identical. It was nice having her on my right. I didn’t have to worry about anyone or anything on that side. Thank you nice lady from England who ever you were.

When we came up to the beach to cross the timing mat on our first loop I saw my family.

Here was what happened throughout the day when I saw family . . . Stop, hug, kiss, tell them how happy I am that they are at the race . . . Move on. We will talk about this more in the report, but I would say I spent about 20 minutes of my day doing this – BUT I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!

I felt strong after the first 1.2 miles of the swim. I was a little faster than I thought I would be and I was happy about that. I talked to the nice lady I swam beside for a second – Hence me knowing she was from the UK. Then It was back into the swim!

I am not sure how this happened and how many others noticed this, but the water was ROUGH on the second loop.

Spotting was very difficult on this second loop since I couldn’t see over the swells at some points. People were all over the place on the second loop. It wasn’t too bad on the way out, but when we made the first turn, it was obvious what we were in for and it were not purdy!!!!

At one point I came through my stroke and as my right hand came over and I went to breathe on my right side . . . There was no water?!!! I looked ahead and the front part of my chest was in the air and I was looking down at the water and BAM! I was drinking a nice mouth full of gulf water! Oh it sucked! I buckled in and tried swimming with the waves timing my spotting so that I was looking ahead when I was on top of a wave.

I don’t want to over blow the waves. They weren’t surfing height or “Perfect Storm” crazy, but they were 3 footers with white caps and I wasn’t really happy about it.

The turn back to the beach was a welcomed affair, but the waves were still a pain in da booty since I wasn’t able to ever really able to get into a rhythm. I like swimming with some type of rhythm. I know you can expect that in an open water gulf swim, but this was a little more ugly than I expected.

The other great part about the stretch back to the beach is the spotting. It is so easy to spot since you just have to pick out the condo at Boardwalk and swim to the building to the left. EASY.

As I stood in the water – knowing I had finished round one – 2.4 miles of gulf swimming – I was happy. I saw my friends and family! It was so easy to spot them now!!! WHY? Because I am so slow in the water most people had followed their friends racing into transition and I was one of the few still in the water!! HA!

I’ll give you one guess as to what happened next?

Yep. I hugged everyone! EVERYONE!

I headed into transition. I decided to strip my wetsuit myself. I don’t like sitting on the sand and getting sand all over. I do a standing wetsuit removal. And I think it is just as fast as laying down having someone rip off our suit and standing up, then going. I don’t know?? But I stay sand free.

Second EXCELLENT piece of wisdom from my friend Vanilla . . . Take your time in the shower. Get all of the sand and salt water off of you. I almost took a shower I was under there so long! I stood far to the right so I wouldn’t be in the way, but I showered and showered!

What an experience the transition room is . . . Swinging Richards everywhere! I was worried about sitting down. I had my race gear under my wetsuit so I only had to re lube a bit and put on the shoes, helmet, glasses, and rub down with a little pain gel . . .and I was OUTTA THERE! There was just too much nakedness in their for me. Maybe I was having an inferiority complex? Nah!!!!!!!

As I ran out of the transition room I saw several people I knew and was ready for the sun-screen application. I asked the nice volunteer to lather me up and she did for the most part.

SUGGESTION: When you ask the volunteer to apply your sun-screen ask them to get under your race bib a little. She covered me very well – except for on my back right by the race bib area. Jump ahead to the next week and I had 2nd degree burns with blisters and all. Take time to handle this right in transition or it won’t be pretty.

I saw my family up on the hill and blew them kisses. As the volunteer was bringing my bike a recognizable face ran up to me. It was a volunteer, BUT it was also the guy I rode the sag wagon with at redman half after my third flat. He flatted twice as well. We had a good ride back in the support vehicle in Oklahoma. Neither of us was happy, but it was nice meeting him and nice seeing him in the transition area. He is from the Boston area I think . . . Wish I’d gotten his name. Nice surprise.

Swim done. T1 Done.

Bike race report soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday (Day before RACE DAY!)

Friday November 6th (The Day Before the Day!)

This day was different from all the other days.

I am nervous and questioning everything. “You know, I did skip those three days on my training program . . . “ or, “Should I really be doing this? “ All the way to self-doubt.

It was going to be a long day.

I wake early and follow my Race Day routine. 3:30am have breakfast, double check my carry-in gear, rest. This all went smoothly.

My most awesomness friend Shannon Roddy was meeting me at my condo to help me out this morning . . . Little did she know – or little did we both know!

Roddy is driving my vehicle to the race site so that I can get in a 30 min ride and follow it up with a 20 min run after I drop off my bike.

When I pulled out of the condo in my bike I felt something was off. I was laboring to hold a simple 18mph. My heart rate was up to 175-180 and I was only holding 18mph???? Really? I thought that maybe I was in a strong head wind and once I turned around and headed back towards the bike drop off/transition that I would feel better.

Normally with no wind on a semi flat road (as I was on) if my heart rate is up to 180 I am rolling at 24 (plus) mph easy. Not today. And nothing changed on the turn around. As fact I actually SLOWED down and worked harder. It was about 11 miles to the transition area from where I was and about 2 miles into it a group of guys buzzed by me and they looked like they were barely working. WORRIED.

I jumped on their wheel, but I still couldn’t keep my heart rate below 180 but, we were doing 23 mph now.

We arrived to the bike drop off (the day before the race you drop your swim to bike and bike to run gear bags and you bike off at transition – You bring your special needs bags on race morning). I was winded and pissed.

I hopped off my bike and began rolling it towards the bike drop entrance and my rear wheel would not roll . . . WTHECK!!!!!!!!! Then it hit me!

Until Tuesday I was planning to ride my ZIPP sub 9 disc and my 1080 front TUBULAR (which means you use no tube and there is no metal or aluminum area on the wheel for a non tubular tire to “clinch” on. I decided to use my ZIPP 808 race wheels which are clinchers (MOST bikes will be clinchers this is where you have and open tire that you put the tube inside and then the tire clinches onto the rim of the wheel) The major difference in this case was – There is about one centimeter difference between the depth of the clincher and the tubular wheels and the clincher is actually larger.


My tire was up against my frame rubbing to the point that the tire wouldn’t spin and with my weight on it THAT is why I could barely get my bike moving. It would be like trying to drive your car with the bake on.

Here is where the craziness kicked in . . .

The Ironman crew that does last minute repairs on bikes are awesome bar none. They can fix a bike like no bodies business. Where they are lacking is their time management skills. Roddy and I were told the bike would be ready in 45 minutes from when we dropped it off and 2 hours later the bike was ready. The good news is we had a lot to fill our time with like walking through the expo and then making motivational signs at the Janus tent.

This is where we spent most of the time . . . Roddy made me a kick ass sign and I made myself one too. Mine said – BOGGS You’re slow! BUT you’re not fast!!

Speaking of signs – My friends Nancy and Greg Cole made me a sign on Wednesday that said “2nd Wave Starts here” I am still cracking up about that.

The tough part about the bike taking so long was that we were meeting several people from the Baton Rouge Triathlon club and family for lunch and we were going to be very late. I don’t like late. However, they fixed the bike and that was all that mattered since I would have to sit my fat butt on it for 112 miles the next day!

Lunch was great. I sat next to my Momma who drove over from New Orleans and took precious time off from work to be there. She is awesome and LOVES her some Melaina (my daughter). I noticed something funny, we eat the same things . . . At more than on meal when we order we order the same thing or before we order we talk about what we are going to order and usually I am thinking about the same things she is. We had lunch at Sweet Basils. Very good lunch place.

Now it was relax and rest time.

I had an oven pizza in the frig and ate it about 4pm. Then read on my kindle until about 7p before I decided I could go to sleep. I took my shower and lay in bed.


AND . . . . You get the point.

It is now close to 10p and I decided to visualize myself sleeping . . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday November 5, 2009

6am wake up – begin IM Focus . . . . . . . . . . NOW!

I spent most of my morning hanging around the hotel and making a list of the items I’d forgotten! I knew this would happen so I didn’t stress about it at all, just made a list.

After a couple hours I headed down to the race site for a little open water swim in the gulf on the racecourse. I wanted to get a little feel for the water before race day and test my ocean water swimming skillzzzzz.

After slipping into my wetsuit and slapping on the goggles I headed off the beach and into the gulf. It were a wee bit BRRRRRR cold, but not too bad.

I headed out easy does it and tried to focus on my sighting. This can prove fatal for me. I am either SPOT on when sighting or I can be way off. Spotting is when you have to check ahead for the buoys’ to make sure you’re on course and not swimming all over the place wasting time.

First 1500 or so meters was great then I saw a sting ray about 4 feet from me and it was not small. I think it was about 40 feet wide!!!!! OK, in reality it was more like 4 feet wide, but it was crazy and freaked me out when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I waded and looked around to see if there was any other marine life near me and after I saw it was all clear I headed back.

Heading back was much rougher in the water. I took in a couple mouths full of salt water – YUM – and lost my sighting a bit . . . Then I had a DUH moment. Sighting on the way back was simple after that. There are these big things called hotels and condos that line the beach, I’m sure you’ve heard of them . . . I don’t know why it took so long for me to figure out that spotting the hotel was WAY more easy that trying to spot a 3 foot orange buoy! Life was good after that and I headed back.

I did the full loop (half of what I would swim Saturday) in 46 minutes and I was taking it really easy. REALLY EASY. So my guess was 1:35 on swim come race day.

Next – MASSAGE! Woo Hoo!

The dude that massaged me was awesome and after one hour on the table I was ready to rock and roll. I felt great and told him I hoped to see him again soon.


BW3s! I know. 5 Guys hamburgers for dinner followed by Wings for lunch?? Maybe sabotage was in the back of my mind??

After a healthy lunch it was time to head out and drive the bike course. I am glad I did because it gave me a great idea of areas of the course I wasn’t aware of before. There are a couple little hills on the backside of the course. Nothing bad, but I am glad I saw them before hand to mentally prep for them.

After we almost ran out of gas, my DadJ, Roddy, Scott and I headed back to PCB (Panama City Beach).


Fancy Schmancey! Great little Italian restaurant in Grayton Beach FL call Borago. Good stuff. We had all my family there (including Roddy) My Dad picked up a majority of the bill, which was not expected but, super cool! Thanks Dad! I had pasta with shrimp, but the ravioli appetizer was my favorite thing.

It was a long drive back to PCB after the dinner. It was good to spend that time with everyone since I know I won’t really see them again until Sunday after the race.

Amanda is at a condo located directly ON the race site thanks to my friend Lance. He had an open room and kindly asked if we wanted to stay. LIFESAVER – since it will be great for Amanda on race day with the baby.

I arrive back to my condo and begin the laborious job of finalizing and packing all my race gear bags . . . This might have been the most stressful part of my week. Packing and re packing and un packing (because I didn’t know if I had packed IT) just a bunch of stress all balled up into this gear bag thing BUT – I did it and I was ready to turn everything and my bike in for Saturday.


I am thankful for soft beds and fluffy pillows. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Count down – less than 36 hours till GO TIME!

Monday, November 16, 2009

IMFL 2009 Picture Video

I am still working on the written account of my week in Panama City Beach Florida for Ironman Florida.

But I thought you might enjoy a little slide show of the day . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Arrival Day at IM Florida

As I said below I am going to take my time and go back and re count the 5 days I spent in Panama City BEach FL and my full experience at IMFL.

This first post is my arrival day on Wednesday.

Wednesday November 4, 2009.

Amanda is a little anxious and concerned about this weekend. She is concerned about me and the outcome of the weekend.

She reminds me that “2.4 miles swimming in the ocean might be difficult with the potential hurricane headed into the Gulf AND won’t it be really windy out on the bike course?”

I love her so much. I just look at her and my face says it all . . . It says, “how about we not talk about that right now”.

After a long day of driving we arrive into PCB FL and head directly to the IM check-in.

I wanted to take a second to talk about the sacrifice my beautiful wife Amanda has made for my selfish endeavor to become an Ironman. While I do believe that triathlon has helped save my life by pushing me to become more and more healthy . . . It can sure put stress on a family and mine is no different. I truly have a perfect wife FOR ME and therefore she is perfect period. Between my work, our band new baby girl (born in July) and my training for IMFL . . . My wife has been very lonely and had received very little QUALITY attention from me over the past 4 months.

Today is no different. We drove separate so she could go directly home after IMFL since I had to go to a class in Orlando. Now as I am about to experience the thrill of checking into Ironman – She sits in her car in the parking lot across the road – just waiting.

I love you Amanda. You are my best friend. You make everything I do worth it.

Back to the day . . .

As I turn on Thomas Drive where the race start is located I see a guy hitchhiking. He is not your average hitchhiker. He has a smooth pair of Oakley’s on and a bad to the bone tri bag over his shoulder. He is also only about 5’6” a d maybe 135lbs so I decide if I pick him up and he is a freak I could shove him out pretty easily.

Turns out he is Romain Guillaume a pro triathlete and a really cool dude. We talked for a while and I saw him a few times through the weekend. I think he finished 10th overall. A very nice dude.

There was no line Wednesday at 3:30pm to check in and I whizzed in and out. The only disappointing part of check-in was the weigh in. I put on my sheet I thought I was at about 245lbs. When I got on the scale I was 263lbs!!!!!

I think the main point here is – Arrive on Wednesday in the mid to latter afternoon to check in to your Ironman. I was speaking with Andy, a fellow BRtri club member from BR, and he had checked in Wed Morning and there was a long line. And As I will discuss on my Thursday recount – The line to check in was OUT THE EXPO INTO THE STREET when I went for my massage.

After walking through the check in tent I exited thanking all the volunteers – who without them – this whole thing would not be possible. The y are very supportive and excited to be a part of this crazy thing too it seems . . .

Next I go to confirm my massage . . . And there is where I saw one of my favorite people! Bridgett Flannigan . . . It is very bad that I don’t know her married name, sorry Scott. Bridgett played ball for NKU where I was a student coach during college and she was on the team that won the National Championships . . . As a matter of fact against St. Rose, she was THE impact player behind Jecca shutting down an Olympian with her D.

Bridgett’s husband Scott, is also racing and he was getting his massage at the time. We all say hello and catch up for a second and make plans to do dinner that night.

As I began to look around and take in the expo area I began to feel a little hint of nervousness kicking in and I didn’t like it . . . But what a magnificent place. I was happy to be there.

Knowing Amanda and baby were waiting for me I rushed out and we headed to check into my hotel.

We settled into my room and I stretched out on the couch for a bit before we had to get ready for dinner.

Since my daughter was born I have been experiencing these mortality issues. I have a fear of dying and leaving my wife and daughter to fend for themselves . . . The past few weeks these feelings have intensified and as I looked up at the ceiling I began to cry . . . Now not a blubbering uncontrolled cry, but this feeling that my daughter may never know me. I am working on those feelings, but the rush I was having at that moment overwhelmed me so I called Vanilla.

Charles (aka Vanilla – Think ice ice baby) and Scott in our tri club are IM Vets. They have done most (if not all) of the NA IM races. He is who I have been bouncing my thoughts off of when it comes to my race. He and others that I will mention later helped me by simply telling me their experiences and what they have done well and badly – or over came issues they might have had in previous IM distance races. After a 15 min conversation with Vanilla – My mind was back in the right place.

Shannon (Hotrod) Roddy drove all the way down from Cincinnati to support me in my first IM. Just me. She drove all the way down to Panama City Beach JUST TO SUPPORT ME! How special I feel. She is one of my most dear friends and I love her as I do my own sisters. Shannon also played ball at NKU and holds the record for 3-pointers made in one game at I think 8?

I was looking for a good, healthy, smart place to have dinner Wednesday night. I had many choices and I went with Five Guys Hamburgers!!!!!!!!

I know – I didn’t accomplish the good, healthy, or smart goal, but I did succeed in the “One hell of a good hamburger and fried” goal!!!!!

I figured it was Wednesday and if I ate a small amount of this deliciously bad for me burger, it wouldn’t hurt me in moderation . . . Right???

It was great having dinner with Bridgett, Roddy, Scott and his Rents, as well as my precious baby girl and Amanda. Bridgett held Melaina like a pro . . . hmmmmmm ? Roddy also took a real liking to Melaina (even though she swears off kids).

Dinner was good, company was better.

I wanted to try and make this blogger party that night, but after an eight hour drive and the fact that my condo was almost in Rosemary Beach I was too pooped to make it over there. I will plan better next year.

As I laid my head down to sleep I told my wife how much I loved her and that I wasn’t sure what was going to happen Saturday, but that no matter what I loved her and was going to give it my all . . . then I literally passed out she said!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

IRONMAN FLORIDA 140.6 11-7-2009


I want to do this post justice so please forgive me for taking my time to re-live the experience of my first Ironman.

My plan is to post a daily journal of the arrival to Panama City Beach all the way through my crossing the finishing line!

I will start today.

Thank you EVERYONE!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

18 Days!

November 7, 2009


Dear Family and Friends,

I have had a few of you ask questions regarding what the Ironman experience will be for spectators and many thoughtful questions as to how I might be helped by you during this unbelievable experience. Therefore I thought it might help if I put together a document that you can print out and have to provide some direction and assist you in having a great experience too!

Amanda and I will arrive on Wednesday night late. I am going to put an itinerary below so that everyone has an idea of where I will be and when. Amanda will have the baby girl Melaina Kay and all we ask is that you come to her to see the baby since this is going to be a long week for Mommy and Baby.

Leading up to race day I welcome family and friends to visit with me for meals listed on itinerary and on the course rides where I just ride in the car and check out the course and make mental notes. This might be fun for you guys so you’ll know where I am and what I’m experiencing.

I really want to have everyone get together Sunday morning in Grayton Beach for breakfast. This is our favorite place and Amanda and I really want to see everyone together that glorious morning. The restaurant in on the way out of town for everyone headed back north or west so you won’t be going out of your way to get there.

The swim: First parking – You may be able to find something close, but I recommend you park at Wal-Mart and take the shuttle to race site. The shuttle will be running non-stop.

This is the most awesome part of the race besides the FINISH. Experiencing an Ironman start as a spectator is a true MUST DO. You will see me enter the water with thousands of other racers then you will see me when I make the first loop and again when I exit the water.

Swim to Bike Transition: Before the race I’d recommend that you locate where my bike is located so that you will know where to look for me, but more importantly – While I am going through transition I recommend that you fins a good spot by the bike ext to see me go out on the bike.

The Bike: You have two choices.

1. Hang out at the hotel and relax for the next 6 hours (which I say go for it since it will be a long day)

2. It would be much appreciated if a few folks would load up in the car about and hour after I leave out on the bike and head up HWY 77 to HWY 20 and park there while waiting for me to pass (it will take me about 2 hrs to get there). That is about the 35 mile mark. PLEASE BE MINDFUL that there is a race going on and only drive on HWY 77 NOT on the race course. Thank you.

Once I’ve past you there then drive a short distance back south on HWY 77 to HWY 388. On HWY 77 there are a few places to stop off and eat. I recommend that you do that and then go to the intersection of HWY 77 and 388. It will take me about 2.5 to 3 hours to cross HWY 77 and HWY 388. Also Bring folding chairs to sit in while waiting.

Once I’ve passed you there you should head back to the transition area driving back down HWY 77.

Bike to Run Transition This is where you can see me the most if you want. Again you have two choices.

1. Hang out at the hotel for the next 3 hours, relax and come out to the turn around to see me make the first loop and head back out for the last 13.1 miles. Then come back out again 3 hours or so later to see me finish.

2. Roddy and Cousin Boggs are going to have mountain bikes. They are going to ride to different points of the run course to see me pass and cheer me on (which I am VERY thankful for). You can do the same in your car. You can see me leave out on the run then drive out to the entrance of the State park at the end of Thomas Dr and see me go into the park and come back out. Then drive back to spinnakers to see me turn around (I would suggest stopping and eating at this point again). Then drive back to State Park Entrance and see me enter and leave the park again. Then drive back to FINISH LINE!!!!!!!!!

You all are very special to me and I think you very much for your support. I will need it and I will be forever grateful. We will have your T-Shirts with us for you to wear on Race day.

Lastly, I suggest you all exchange cell phone numbers on this email so that you can connect and share information on where you are and where I am etc.


Thank you and I love you all!


Florida Ironman: Christopher’s Itinerary

Wed Nov 4

8:00pm Arrive and Check in – Relax feet up

Thur Nov 5

10:00am Athlete Check-in (Spinnaker Parking Lot)

12:00pm Lunch – TBA

2:00pm Drive Bike Course (anyone welcome – will take a couple hours)

5:00pm Dinner–Borago


7:30pm Mandatory Athlete Meeting (Board Walk Resort Ballroom)

9:00pm Pack Transition Bags and Special Needs Bags

10:00pm Bed

Fri Nov 6

6:00am Bike 20 min then Run 10 min

8:00am Swim 10 minutes – (Boardwalk Beach Resort at beach)

10:00am Check-in Bike and Gear Bags (Spinnaker Parking Lot)

12:00pm Lunch – Sweet Basil’s http://sweet-basils.net/contact_us.html

2:00pm Drive Run Course (anyone welcome – will take about 1 hr)

3:00pm Rest and visualize

5:00pm Dinner – I’ll eat in hotel (You guys go have fun!)

7:00pm bed

Sat Nov 7 – THE DAY

4:00am Wake – Breakfast

5:00am Arrive at race site

7:00am RACE STARTS!!!!! 2.4 miles of swimming!

7:40am I should be making first loop lap

8:30am Exit swim – head to bike transition

8:40am Exit transition for 122 miles of biking

3:15-3:45pm Return from bike course

3:25-3:55pm Exit transition to begin 26.2 mile run

6:45-7:45pm I should be making 1st loop of run


Sunday Nov 8 – The Day After

9:00am Breakfast – Another Broken Egg (Grayton Beach on hwy 30A)

12:00pm Check Out of Hotel

1:00pm Ironman Merchandise tent to buy finishers gear!

2:00pm Depart for Orlando Fl for conference/Classes – anti climactic!

Directions to the Race

From the West:

Take HWY 10 to HWY 331-south.

Take HWY 331-south to HWY 20-east.

Travel down HWY 20-east turn right onto HWY 79-south.

Follow HWY 79-south to Front Beach Rd. and turn left.

Follow Front Beach Rd. to South Thomas Dr. turn right.

You will find the race site host hotel Boardwalk Beach Resort on the right.

From the North:

Follow HWY 231-south to HWY 98-west turn right.

Follow the directions for traveling from the east.

Or follow HWY 79-south to Front Beach Rd. turn left, follow the directions.

From the East:

Hwy 10 West to 231 South.

Follow Hwy 231 South to Hwy 98. 10

Right on Hwy 98 to Front Beach Road (left).

Turn left on South Thomas Drive (just past Wal-Mart).

You will find the race site host hotel Boardwalk Beach Resort on the right.


I will be sending an email out as soon as I know my race bib number – Then you can go to this website and track me throughout the day. The athlete tracker will tell you when I am out of the water, list every 10 miles on bike, and every mile on the run.


Race Day – Saturday, November 7, 2009

Start End Event Location

4:30 a.m. Transition Area Opens; Bodymarking Begins South Thomas Drive in

front of the Boardwalk

Beach Resort

6:50 a.m. Pro-Start

7:00 a.m. Age Group Start

7:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Ford Ironman Florida Expo Spinnaker Parking Lot

9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Ironman Merchandise Store Spinnaker Parking Lot

9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Ironman Bike Store Spinnaker Parking Lot

6:30 p.m. Bike & Gear Check-Out Boardwalk Beach Resort

East Parking Lot

12:00 a.m. Race Officially Ends

Spectator Information

Back to Top

What are the distances for the Ford Ironman events?

Ford Ironman events consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run.

Where can I find a schedule of events for race week?

A schedule of events is posted on the website. Go to Information > Schedule. It is also available in the Athlete Information Guide on the web site, posted roughly two months prior to the event.

What is the Ford Ironman Expo?

The Ford Ironman Expo features various booths- including a showcase of Ford vehicles, Ironman merchandise, Ironman retailers/bike services, the Janus Inspiration Station (spectators can create inspirational signs to line the course), and many other things. It provides a perfect gathering and meeting place for athletes and spectators.

Where is the best place to watch Ford Ironman Florida?

The beach is open for spectators to view the swim.
The bike couse is one loop, making it difficult for spectators to view due to traffic regulations. The best place to watch your athlete get on and off their bike is in the transition area.
The run course travels through PCB. Spectators can line the streets to watch their athlete run to the finish.

Is there anywhere to eat onsite at the events?

Yes, check out the Race Day Cafe at all of our events. It is always located near the transition area and the Ford Ironman Marketplace.
You can also help support the locals with plenty of local restaurants near the Athlete Village/transition area.

Will I be allowed to cross the finish line with my athlete?

Friends and/or family members will no longer be permitted to cross the finish line or enter the finish chute with participating athletes. This policy will allow each competitor adequate time to celebrate their accomplishment without interfering with other finishers and ensure the safety of all participants, volunteers and fans. Athletes who choose not to respect the new policy will receive an automatic disqualification (DQ).

Will I be allowed into the finish line area to greet my athlete?

Unfortunately, due to high congestion in the finish line area, no spectators will be allowed. Please do not try to gain access to this area, as it must remain clear for the safety of the athletes. Before the event, you and your athlete should decide on a meeting place for after they have finished.

Will I be allowed into the medical tent to look for my athlete if they have not arrived at our meeting destination?

The Medical Tent is highly congested and spectators will not be allowed in. There will be a Medical Information Tent next to the Medical Tent where medical updates will be available on athletes who enter the Medical Tent. Please, be patient with the Medical Information Volunteers, updates will be posted as soon as they are received.

Where should I park during race week?

Refer to the Athlete Information Guide on the web site, posted roughly two months prior to the event.

How should I get around on race day?

Refer to the Athlete Information Guide located on the web site, posted roughly two months prior to the event.

Personal Communication Plan

Prior to departing for Panama City Beach, be sure to establish a communications plan

with family and friends back home. Share the race day emergency contact listed

below with those who may need to reach you in an emergency. Even if you are in

Panama City Beach with family and friends, it is essential that you have a plan for

contacting or reuniting with your group following the race.

Race Day Emergency Contact

Ironman Athlete Services