Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Latest - My Mind is in the CRAPPER!

I was 452lbs and now I am 250lbs. I had never done a single triathlon and now I have done nearly 70 triathlons including my IRONMAN last November in Florida.

In November 2008 I had an upper body lift. That surgery alone took about 14lbs of loose skin off and re-shaped (no pun intended) how my life would move forward.

On January 5th this year, I had the second of the two surgeries and it was my lower body lift, mainly focusing on my upper legs in the inner thigh area.

The last few years, since loosing a great deal of weight has been brutal on my inner thigh area (THE CROTCH). This may be TMI, too graphic, more than you want to know, but it’s the facts. I had a great deal of skin that floated around and just kind of hung there. As you can imagine, running and cycling puts a great deal of stress on that area and more than that the friction in that area is immense. For a normal person a little save, body glide, etc will handle the issue fine, but when you have a “little extra” down there – No amount of lubricant will help.

I had a choice – stop training so hard and lay low and not do so much damage there and continue to lose weight and eventually have it removed via surgery or keep on keeping on and train my butt off knowing the damage would continue.

After a short training session I would have no real issues. A 5 mile run or a 30 mile bike was not a really big deal. There would be discomfort and a little heat in the area, but nothing a little Boudreaux’s Butt Paste wouldn’t handle.

It was the long training rides and the longer races such as Olympic distances or longer, that caused the larger issues. As my Ironman training ramped up I would have significant bleeding and abrasions in my inner thigh, crotch area and I went through Neosporin like it was water for the last couple years. But, I wouldn’t go back and do it any differently. Not one thing. OK . . . I wouldn’t have put on the weight in the first place – but, my choices afterwards to rectify the situation – I wouldn’t change.

The recovery from the upper body lift was incredible. My Dr. (In my opinion the best in the BIZ, Dr. Lior Heller) cut me all the way around to remove the loose skin. My joke was that I looked like a magic trick (saw a person in half) GONE BAD!! It took a couple months before I could get on the trainer in my workout room and more to hit the pavement running.

When it came to this surgery – I thought there was no way the recovery for my lower body lift would be as intense as the upper body lift . . .

The jury is still out on that – But what I can say is – It is a completely different type of recovery an the pain is as intense.

I am experiencing a bit of a set back.

My Dr is the best as I stated above and I would recommend him to ANYONE considering this type of work.

My left leg is not healing as we wish it would be. It is setting me back a great deal and I am in the mental turn can right now. I am a unique case. Most people having these types of surgery are not very active. I am VERY active and I put a lot of stress in the area that was being cut and reattached and it was a very difficult surgery as a result of my training. Ironic.

I expected to be out of training for 2 to 3 months. We are looking at 4-5 months now and I am a broken man at this moment because of that.

Now – I have been in the bed and on the couch since Jan 5th and I have this week left with that and next week I will be in the office. That is the beauty of my business that I can do everything of necessity from home although I really enjoy being in front of my clients and I am looking forward to getting back into that groove.

But the not being able to train is beating me up. I have begun focusing on several outlets to get my mind in the right place, but it’s difficult when I can’t stand for very long and the three times a day I have to clean my wounds and I see some of the issues I am having. On the positive side – If I tend to the area properly and keep the wound infection free – I will not need a second surgery.

Good thing is . . . I have a great wife and an UNBELIEVABLE Daughter and both of them do a great job pulling me out of the depression hole. I am a lucky dude.

I will keep everyone posted on how things are going, but I will say this again. If I could go back and do things differently – I wouldn’t. I would do it all the same.

Monday, January 18, 2010


13.1 miles left out of my 140.6 miles to travel that day. That’s what I said to myself a great deal . . . I’m basically done . . . While I may be at the absolute most difficult part of the entire race foe, I am at the end.

I have failed to mention out tri club enough in this Race Report. I have a great resource from some great people here in Louisiana and our tri club is a wealth of information with some super fast racers and many experienced peeps.

Vanilla was one of those and a really welcomed person to see as I headed out on my second loop. Charles (AKA Vanilla) really took me under his wing for my first IM. He would call me and check in to see how training was going, how I was mentally etc. And today he was there to see me race and finish. As I slogged along with my head down wishing I was done running he ran up beside me and pumped me up mentally telling me what I needed to hear. Vanilla has raced in all the NA IM races. As I slogged along he said to me “You can go faster. Your body can do more than your mind is letting you. Pick it up and you’ll see.” I did and it did. At one point I was (for me) flying! He stayed with me for a couple miles hitting me mentally with things we’d discussed for months, but I had neglected the past 10 or so miles. “Focus on pushing yourself until the next aid station. You got this!”

My time shows the pick up in that 3rd section of the run. Even with a more than 10 minute stop at the special needs bag I cut my next 6 miles by about 40 seconds per mile, or somewhere around that. But more than that – I felt good, I felt oddly strong.

About mile 16 my best friend Brent and his family had found a VERY bright spot on the run course to cheer me on. Oh how awesome it was. I was running well and in the distance I saw a triage of people, but couldn’t really make out who it was, but they were hollering like I was a rock star . . . As I got closer I saw it was Brent, Christy (his wife) and the babies’. They have 3-year-old twins, and a new born. And they were clapping and the babies were jumping up and down. It is so hard to describe and explain how happy I was. My face didn’t show it. More over my face probably seemed discouraged and upset, however I was elated and so surprised.

I continued the strong pace I had begun the second loop with until a VERY unfortunate episode.

I have literally only one complaint about IMFL. I had such an awesome experience and I will do IMFL several times in my life because it is close to home and it will always be my first.

The Park . . .

As I entered the park I realized how alone I really was. It was pitch black. When I say pitch black, I mean – it was not much different than the jungles in the panama canopy. Literally I found it difficult to see my tennis shoes as they patted the ground.

My cousin Michael and best bud Roddy had ridden out on Mountain bikes to check in one me. They commented the next day that they also couldn’t see a thing back there when looking for me.

I was rolling along until I ran up on a nice lady who was walking. I didn’t hear or see her. I bumped her from behind. She screamed and I pulled my hamstring on my right leg. I comforted her because she had no idea what just happened and then I set back off on my run and it was not going to happen.

I had pulled that muscle pretty badly and I had to stop and try and stretch it for the next mile or so in the park until I decided to ignore it (which did and didn’t work).

I finally got out of the park and was headed home!

I saw my friend Scum as I exited the park.

I also saw my new friends who were out cheering on their family member. I hugged them as I ran by and every time they saw me they would cheer for me. I saw them in their truck heading back to the finish at this time and they honked their horn for me.

My Momma was also at the exit of the park. She is so cute and such a great Momma! I love you.

I began to count down. As I would pass the mile markers I would mentally lighten up and have more and more fun. My cousin Michael was taking iphone pics of me and I began to cut up the further and further along in the course I got.

At one point I met a really nice dude who I forgot his name, but he had dome a couple IMs but came down with a nasty blister this time and was running about my speed. We talked for a couple miles and then he left me in the dirt.

My main man Luke (I call him Skywalker) was riding out to see how I was doing. I love that dude. Skywalker is talented and gifted. He finished in 10:15 or something like that at IMFL 08 and it was his first IM and he “just had fun” in that race. I am looking forward to seeing what he is capable of when he tries to tear it up!

But, right now he was making me laugh and cutting up keeping my mind in the right place. It is hard to not love this sport with people like him and all the other folks I’ve mentioned in this Race Report. I am a lucky guy to have such good friends that like this insanity called triathlon.

I knew I was home free as far as finishing. I had set a goal of sub 16 hours because I really had no idea what to expect AND because at New Orleans 70.3 I finished in 7:30 or something like that and I figured doubling it plus one hour would be a responsible goal. NOW – I did do New Orleans 70.3 with a broken foot . . .

For nutrition the last 4 miles I took in Coke and chicken broth only. I smiled. I ran in disbelief a bit. I hurt – My hamstring was kicking my butt and my feet were sore, but none of that mattered. I was having fun.

I could see the lights near the finish. They seemed so much brighter this time around. The last three miles were a given, but I wanted to finish strong. The crazy stretch on front beach road was ROCK N and Rolling!!!! People were so drunk and I was envious. The women who were attractively dressed and provocative were a little less attractive and a lot more sloppy now, BUT – they were still so much fun!

As I made the turn onto Thomas Drive I can’t explain exactly where this came from, but I was in an all out sprint. For me that means I was moving about as fast as most average people ran the entire run, but my big lard butt was MOVING!!!! I saw family – I saw friends – I hollered, I high fived!

I made the U-Turn to head into the FINISH CHUTE and I was P-U-M-P-E-D!!!! My teeth were clinched. My eyes eye piercing. My lip was in a snarl. My hands were in fists as if I was about to fight a 12 round fight. My shoulders were flexed and then I turned into the chute and I began to yell uncontrolled.

I saw the people in the stands and some were screaming for me and others were in shock that this big ole dude with a crazy look on his face was screaming like a maniac!!!!!!!!!!

As I crossed the finish line I yelled – “IAM AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!” I AM A IRONMAN!!!!!!” and Mike Reilly said . . . “Yes Chris Boggs, You ARE and Ironman.”

When I weighed 452 lbs I decided that I wanted to lose my weight and I wanted to finish an Ironman race.

I’ve seen many people lose weight and then begin doing triathlons, but I began doing triathlons to lose the weight. IN the beginning when I was 425 lbs doing my first tri, I got a lot of looks and some hurtful comments – I think people thought I was not only fat, but deaf too! HA!

But more, I got positive support and I finished more than 50 triathlons and now I completed that goal of becoming an IRONMAN.

I’m not done.

I have another 40 lbs I want to lose and my next goal is to do all NA Ironman races including KONA in my lifetime – however long that may be.

Thank you to everyone who follows my blog and send my positive thoughts, emails, and responses. I am here with your help.

2010 my goal in sun 13 hr race at IM Arizona . . . To be continued!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

IMFL Run Report Part UNO

It’s been almost 2 months since Ironman Florida and I am not really sure why it has taken so long to finish my race report, but I think I have an idea. I am not ready to put it to bed. There is a part of me that feels once I am done here that the experience has ended and I am not sure I am ready for that.

No worries . . . I will finish the RUN report today and you can see the swim and bike reports below.

An Ironman distance race is different for every participant. I have friends in our tri club that they race an Ironman and they are pretty fast. One of my closer friends tore it up this year at IM FL and I think he is focusing in on a sub 10hr IM in 2010. Another Club member was 4th in his Age Group at Clearwater World Championship 70.3 and missed 3rd by on 30-40 seconds. Cats like that are the - IN IT TO WIN IT category.

I am the other side of the spectrum. I am the IN IT CAUSE IT IS IN ME group. Ironman is simple for me. It is a celebration of my battle and success with obesity. The race is more the culmination of the battle. The training, the sacrifice from my family, the joy of the pain, the FEAR of failure . . . That is all my Ironman.

I will never get a podium spot in anything triathlon unless it is there is a “smiles too much on the course” division. I do this for life. While other criticize me for simply completing the race I laugh it off because they have no idea what my journey has been and will continue to be.


The Run . . . Running 26.2 miles after swimming and biking all day was my biggest fear of all concerning this race. I am slow. I am very slow. I probably will never be fast, but I am horribly slow right now. Obviously the slower I am, the longer I will be out of the race course . . . That’s never good.

I’m going to break this run portion of my IM Florida race report into 4 parts. OS somewhere around 6.25 miles each portion. The fast for me was that the first loop was a completely different race from the second loop.

As I headed out on the first loop I reminded myself of my run mantra . . . Finish and Fun. Numero Uno was to finish and hopefully have fun along the way. Exiting the Transition area was a bit surreal. I was finished with more than half of this entire race, yet I was now at my most fearful . . .

I immediately saw my family as I exited transition.

I am sure everyone else looks at their races in hind sight and says, “Next time I can cut 5 minutes here and 4 minutes here and (You get the picture). I have PLENTY of that from IMFL. Without exaggeration I am SURE, 100% positive I could cut off a minimum of 45 minutes on my run by changing one simple thing. I must not hug EVERY person I know that is cheering me on in the race!! I hugged everyone and I loved every second of it. I suggest if this is your first IM that you do the same. SOAK IT UP!

Now I won’t be doing this in future races because my goals will be different, but I will miss this part in the future.

From transition to about mile 2 was the most fun part of the run course along beachfront road. The spectators and cheer tents set up along this area were awesome! There were women dressed in next to nothing (by the end of the night they were actually pretty much wearing nothing). There were Elvis people and people offering you beer . . . It was a party.

The first three miles seemed to move by in my mind fairly quickly.

My nutrition was simple. At each aid station I would begin a power walk and take in a solid type fuel (Gel, banana, grapes, etc) on odd numbered aid stations and liquid fuel (Water, Nuun, etc)at even numbered aid station and an electrolyte at every aid station.

I followed this plan for the first 6 miles easily. Some of the aid stations were remarkable. One in particular was back in the neighborhood area, around mile 4ish (I think). It was set up as a MASH unit. It was awesome. They were stocked full the entire run and had so much energy.

Let me take a second to talk about the aid stations. Obviously the number one request from most racers would be that the aid station be stocked with a variety of items to get our nutrition AND keep them stocked throughout the race for slow people like me and keep hot things hot and cold things cold and lastly when it comes to the nutrition, keep it all organized and inform us visually and verbally of what you have well in advance of your reaching your aid station. For example the MASH UNIT aid station had signs on the run route about a half mile ahead staggered leading up to it that listed in BIG BOLD print what they had – For Example COLA on one sign, POWER ADE 0 another, HOT CHICKEN BROTH on another – You get the point. And then as you approached the station they would stagger the tables with “LIKE” nutrition ie – Cola and chicken broth on one table, water and Gatorade at another, gels one on, assorted fruit on another AND the people manning the station would yell out what they had AND AND AND be able to say one table down for chicken broth if you asked for it etc.

Congrats to the MASH UNIT aid station on the run at Ironman Florida – YOU GUYS ROCKED IT!!!

The second thing I think in important at an aid station would be the attitude and atmosphere. The people manning the aid stations should be ubber hyper!!! I LOVE and appreciate all of the volunteers. It is a long day for them. I have volunteered for a few IM distance races now and it can be exhausting. When the volunteers are hollering and dancing for you having a blast – there is nothing better . . . THEN when you have an atmosphere with music and a theme . . . EVEN BETTER. I looked forward to reaching the MASH UNIT aid station each time.

To the contrary – and aid station that has young kids and teens SUCK. If they are mixed in with adults in even numbers then it is great, but an full aid station with 15 kids and two adults in a horrible combination ESPECIALLY late in the race. One aid station began to run out of items and the kids were all sitting down and if you asked for something their response was – I don’t know if we have that or worse – Actually my favorite . . . I asked a young teen if they had worm chicken broth – He was in the middle of a full on flirt with a girl he had obviously met throughout that day. He didn’t even look at me and responded, “Hold up.” And went back to chatting it up with the girlie and she just soaked it up. In my mind I was pissed, but I gave the guy kudos because she sure felt special at that moment and earned him some serious cool points!

For the most part ALL of the aid stations were on their game at IMFL excluding the one I mentioned above that was at about mile 6ish or so.

It was nice to be on the run. I enjoyed seeing friends out there racing form our club. I was honored to be out there with so many people working their own plan and seeing their focus. At times I would chat with people and then they would take off and leave me. I passed NO ONE, but saw some of the same folks a few times during the run.

I focused on my HR the entire run. Even when I felt strong in the beginning I remained focused on keeping my heart race in the 145bmp (which is low, but what I’d trained for). There were times I wanted to kick it up a little but, I would remind myself that I had 19 miles remaining and I would pull it back.

As I reached the backside of loop one I was still feeling good. I saw several friends out cheering and in particular was Scum (Stephen Branscum) and his fiancée. They will never know how AWESOME and motivating it was for me to see them out there until the very last mile. Thank you thank you. The State Park was actually a welcoming change in the run. There was another good aid station here. It was nice to know I was heading back towards the transition area and that my mind was still very focused and I was enjoying myself.

Kathy and Mike were hanging at a really great spot to cheer us all on in the run. They picked a parking lot that was kind of in the middle of the aid stations and in a VERY DULL area. There was nothing to really look forward to for about a 3 mile stretch – EXCEPT THEM!! Thank you Michael and Kathy.

It was still light at about mile 9 but quickly becoming dark each stride I took. By the time I made it back to the MASH UNIT aid station the sun was pretty much gone and we were depending on streetlights. This was not good in some places and HORRIBLE in one place in particular, which I will discuss on the second post. Back in the neighborhoods the streetlights were hot and miss, but for the most part you could see well enough.

About mile 10 back in the neighborhood about 1 mile before the MASH UNIT station there were 4 or 5 fells (I use fells on purpose) sitting in their yard chairs, drinking beers, smoking it up and I am not sure they were only cigarettes. They were using a unique form of motivation. The women ran faster because the men were saying redneck sexy things to them (And they fully thought they were funny) and I ran faster because I was to tired to respond and a response might have led to a front yard brawl and I would have been on the losing end of that one. So I just gritted and ran on off into the dark.

At about mile 11 you can see the lights around the turn around and finish area. It is such an awesome sight to a tired racer IF YOU’RE coming in for a finish, but still welcoming to those like me who were heading in for the turn around since we would be able to see family, friends, etc.

The half mile stretch of beachfront rd with all the awesome crazy people wearing next to nothing and the Elvises, and now the tent of really drunk college guys and gals trying to get you to do a tequila shot was so much fun.

One of the best was the woman with the ass-less chaps. She would run up beside a really tired runner and ask how they were doing. Then se would run up a bit and say, “Does this make you run faster?” and she swished her bare butt from left to right. I will admit that it took my mind off of my sore feet for that few seconds!

As I made the turn onto Thomas drive about a quarter mile from the turn around I saw my Dad and his Wife Mindy. Guess what I did . . . Yup . . . Stopped Hugged him and headed on.

At the turn I saw Tater, my wife, my sister, and so many other folks. It was awesome. I truly don’t remember much about this 2 miles or so, accept how much fun it was. I hugged everyone.

I did the old turn into the finish as a joke thing (It was funny to me) and then pointed to it and said “I’ll see you in a bit).

At this point I am pretty tired and nasty. ERY NASTY. I have sticky, hot, salty skin. I’ve been hugging so many people who are more than likely no longer my friends because of that!!! I WAS NASTY!

Good news is that I was at my run special needs bag. In that bag I had a small towel that I soaked in water and then put in a BIG ziplock bag. Oh it was so refreshing. I almost stripped down and took a towel bath . . .

I changed socks, which I would highly recommend and I ate my last small bag of Pringles. Yeah, Yeah, make fun of it all you want to – It was such a welcoming treat . . . YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY!

Jeff has left a card in my special needs back. He had Amanda put it in there for me. Another very nice touch and very welcomed, thank you Jeff.

After refreshing and revitalizing I was ready to head out for my 2nd loop of 13.1 miles. I remember looking at my garmin and feeling happy about my pace to this point, but worrying whether or not I could hold that pace. Only time would tell.

I hugged several more friends and kissed my wife and baby (man it is hard to stay unemotional when you kiss your baby during a race) and began the final leg of this ultimate goal – I would be an Ironman. I would be.

I will complete the run report soon. Sorry it is taking so long.

Work was very demanding at the end of the year and I had surgery on this past Tuesday (which will be another blog report in itself).