I’m a 40-something husband and father of 5 wonderful kids.  I competed in my first triathlon, a half-ironman distance, a week after my 18th birthday.  That was a long time ago — 1986 to be exact (ok, you math wizards can probably figure out how old I am now).  I was on my high school swim team; the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, medley relay, and 400 free relay were my events.  I also have always loved cycling — I actually built my own cherried-out chromolly BMX bike from the ground-up when I was 13.  Yes, I even laced the spokes on my own because I couldn’t afford to have the bike shop do it.  Unfortunately I’ve never been much of a runner.  I had no idea what I’d gotten into when I did my first tri and it was brutal.  Swim and bike were no sweat but I totally fell apart on the run.  After that experience I took a good 20+ years “off” — I hadn’t run, not once, and didn’t swim one lap in the pool during that time.  Occasionally I went on mountain bike rides with friends but it was purely recreational and certainly not for the exercise!

That all changed in 2007 when I experienced some serious low-back problems.  I was in severe pain almost constantly.  I couldn’t sleep and there was a period of about a month where I couldn’t tie my own shoes — that’s not an exaggeration.  If I drove anywhere in the car for more than 20 minutes I couldn’t stand-up straight when I got out and I could only take little 1/4 steps; taking a full-stride step would drop me to the ground.

I finally decided that whatever was going on wasn’t getting better and wasn’t going away so I started the doctor visits.  After seeing a general practitioner, a sports medicine specialist, and a renown neurosurgeon I had accumulated several MRI’s, a bone density scan and a bleak diagnosis.  Degenerative disks, two herniated disks, and arthritis in my lower back.

The treatment started with lots of physical therapy (until my insurance stopped paying), then a few cortisone shots and some advice to loose weight.  By the way, the first cortisone shot was administered in the sports medicine doctor’s office as a simple needle injection — it was extremely painful and totally worthless.  The second was done as an epidural shot with the aid of an x-ray machine.  That shot was the start of my turn-around.

It was then that I decided I needed to do something to loose some weight.  At my peak I weighed 215 lbs.  I’m an average 6′ tall and wasn’t terribly overweight, but definitely could stand to loose  a  few pounds.  Ok, more than a few pounds.

As I start this blog I’ve lost 43lbs from my peak.  Since 2009 I’ve competed in four sprint triathlons, three olympic distance tri’s, a half ironman (relay), and a half-marathon.  In all but one of my solo triathlons I’ve placed in my age group.

This blog will detail some of my past challenges, past races, past failures, and give some insight into how I’ve arrived where I am today.   Going forward I’ll share progress, milestones, and setbacks.  A lot of strength can be derived from knowing you’re not the only one out there that faces challenges and not the only one who wants or needs to change their life, change their fitness, change their level of happiness, etc.  I hope that you might derive some sort of support or strength or maybe even some knowledge from visiting and reading these ramblings.

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