My journey to triathlon and the significance of my race number for
the 2012 Avia Wildflower Long Course race began when I was a kid.
From around second grade, I struggled with my weight. I was always
self-conscious and worried that people were judging me not by who I was
but by what I was, which simply put was a fat kid. In high school I was
still self-conscious but being a football player it was accepted by not
only me but my family. My senior year my playing weight was in the area
of 315 pounds and I’m 5’11”.
After high school I had a full ACL reconstruction while also
going away to college. The pizza and beer being compounded by the
inactivity except for physical therapy took its toll. I ballooned and
the last weight I saw was 336 pounds after which I stopped getting on
the scale. At the Age of 19 I was hypertensive and pre-diabetic. When I
learned that I was risking diabetes I decided to change my life for the
better. I joined up with Kennedy Club Fitness (KCF) in San Luis Obispo
and started working out. I managed to get myself down to 286 pounds and
that was enough to get me away from diabetes and off the medications.
However, I was still self-conscious and felt like I was literally a
prisoner in my own body.
I would be lying if I said that dark thoughts never crossed my mind, the
feelings of isolation and helplessness are two things I will never
Today I am a highly competitive triathlete, slowly trying to make it up in the triathlon world. I swim, bike, and run a total of about 15 hours per week. But I haven't always been the competitive triathlete that I am today. I haven't always been racing against time trying to beat a PR or earn a podium spot in my age group. Before I discovered the world of triathlon, I was competing in hand-to-hand combat in the kickboxing ring.
Ahh race day. All of the preparations you have made for weeks and
months in order to be in your best shape physically and mentally pay-off
today. You have run the race over and over in your mind, thinking of
every scenario, visualizing yourself through it all. Your tri-bag is
packed with all of the tools that will make today a success. You have
brought your A-game.
This was my first experience with Wildflower, and it did not disappoint on any level! Friends tried to get me to race last year, but I chickened out, even when told “you have to experience Wildflower, it’s so much more than a race!” I held back. Well this year I figured, 30th Anniversary, promise of fun, promise of an easy race … oh wait, promise of a really hard race…how could I go wrong?
In this blog entry, I want to stress the importance of riding hills prior to racing the treacherously hilly and daunting Wildflower bike course. I also would like to give some helpful hints to having a successful bike section of the race. I have always lived by the training strategy that if I have practiced something that's harder than what I'm going to see on race day, then, come race day, I should be good to go.