Saturday, November 30, 2013

IMAZ 2013 Race Report

Ironman Arizona 2013....  Only a year ago I had signed up thinking this day was so far away.  And now here I was.  Waking up at 4AM, rolling out of my own bed and getting ready to leave for transition...  Of course, hadn't slept very well but that is to be expected for race day.  I was happy, nervous and trying to be a calm as I could.  After all, this was not my first triathlon - just my first full Ironman.  I kept telling myself that everything was familiar except for the distance.  Intellectually, I knew that was true but emotionally I was struggling to believe it!

As I descended into the kitchen, I was met with two wonderful signs my family had pinned up for me the night before!  I teared up.  It was so sweet and so personal.  One was from Caden and one was from the rest of the family.  How thoughtful! I knew this was going to be a great day.

I piled everything in my car and zipped out of the driveway.  Drove to the Tempe Town lake.  Said a little prayer to begin with.  Not a lot of music.  Just some silence and I thought about all the time and effort just to get here.  After some alone time in the car, I turned on the music....  "Wake Up" from Avicii and "Give Me Shot at the Night" by The Killers were the songs I listened to and they really hit the spot.

As I arrived and parked in the garage, I made my way to the transition area.  Got everything ready and setup and then left....  Dropped off my special needs bags and then made my way to the staging area and began to warm up.  I was nervous and started to talk to a few people.  A kind woman ending up giving me a spare pair of wax earplugs - kids version of the TYR.  Very malleable and easy to use.  Note to self, buy some of those for the next race!


We all had to funnel into a starting arch and slowly get into the water.  It was slow going.  We looked like a bunch of penguins on an iceberg.  I got next to a guy with BYU sandals on.  He and I started talking.  He had done the race before and said to take it easy on the swim as 'it was a long day.'  In fact, he said that even when you think you are taking it easy on the swim, slow down some more....  We funneled through the chute and out onto the pier.  I jumped in.  Water was about 65 degrees so cold but not horrible.  I opted to double cap it with my TYR head warmer cap under...  It was perfect.  No booties.

I got to the left and started to float/swim forward.  It was hard to hear anything with the water, earplugs, etc. in.  Then the cannon went off and all hell broke loose.

It was my first mass swim start of this magnitude and it lived up to it's reputation.  The water is murky so you can't see anything until its too late.  I hugged the buoy line and kept at least one arm in front of me the whole time to deflect any crazy feet - and there were a lot of them!  I seemed to follow this one bearded guy with fat feet most of the swim - not on purpose.  It felt like I was in a blender most of the swim.  Rarely was I not being touched by someone at a given moment.  Par for the course, and I told myself that no one was doing this on purpose - we were all in the same boat.

On the way out I hugged too close to the buoys and my hand hit the tip of a kayak!  Ouch!  I thought for a minute I may have broken something...  But no.  As I would go next the buoys there was an incredible draft effect and I just found myself coasting...

On the way back in, towards the very end, I got hit in the right eye on my goggle.  It was painful and I had to stop again to make sure my eyeball wasn't missing.  I carried on and finished taking it easy.  Based on previous swims, I thought I finish around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Total Swim Time:  1:27:33


Having spent a fair bit of time on the Beeline over the past few months, this was the part of the race I was very familiar with.  Three loops from Tempe Town Lake out to the Shea turnoff to Fountain Hills. Desert scenery.  Mountains.  Slight uphill going out each time and slight downhill coming back.  Typically the wind is in your face going out and with you going back.

I elected to make a full change after the swim.  I opted for the comfort of a full cycling kit instead of speed.

T1:  0:13:47

Changing in the change tent was uneventful, except there was one guy yelling for a volunteer that knew the Garmin 910XT as he needed to sync his with his heart monitor or "he would not know his heart rate the whole race!"  While I agree this is important, the guy was hysterical.  I thought to myself, this is supposed to be fun, isn't it?

Lap one of the bike I felt great!  I saw my family as I left the transition and motored out to Shea.  As I came back I felt very good.  It was a perfect day and I didn't need arm warmers at all (I shoved them in my back pockets just in case).  My nutrition (UCAN all the way) was working wonderfully until about 1/2 way through lap two.  I felt my right side start to back up.  A side ache developed.  At first I tried to brush it off but it didn't go away.  I knew I had to do something - but what?  I had a choice to continue eating at the schedule I had laid out for myself or back off.  Backing off meant potential bonking.  Eating too much meant potential vomiting.  The day was getting progressively hotter too.  I decided that my stomach needed to catch up with my nutrition and that adding more would be worse.  So I stopped eating for the rest of the bike.  I certainly didn't bonk and I continued to hydrate but I was worried about the run.  I backed off a bit also.  I was hoping for about 5:45 or 6:00 on the bike....

Total Bike Time:  6:18:27


They changed the run this year to a two loop course - entirely around Tempe Town Lake, which is really beautiful.  Some of the course was packed dirt and other parts was sidewalk.  The course is very spectator friendly offering lots of places to sit, stand and even go back and forth to different parts of the course.  The aid stations were top notch and the volunteers were tremendous!

Coming off the bike, I ran into the change tent and did a full change again.  Comfort over time.

T2:  0:08:45

As I exited the tent and went to run, I saw my family.  My stomach still hurt and I was dreading the jostling of the run.  I kissed my wife and whispered in her ear "my stomach hurts" and ran off.  So much for instilling confidence in my support group!

For the first couple of miles, I ran but I was not feeling great.  I stopped at the aid stations, telling myself this was '26 one mile repeats'.  I carried my UCAN fuel with me but I hesitated to drink it as my stomach was still backed up.  Finally, the heat and fatigue caught up with me and I started walking.  I told myself it would just be a short walk but it wasn't.  I didn't care.  I did the calculations and I knew I could walk the marathon and still finish.  I have to admit that thought didn't bother me at ALL at the time.  Several miles in I stopped to try to use the bathroom.  I hadn't peed in a while and I thought #2 would make my stomach feel better.  As I tried to go in the portapotty, I couldn't and I got light headed.  I decided if I was going to be sick, it would be better to be sick while moving forward.  So I got out and started walking again.

I started to feel better as I walked and drank Coke.  The burping and the sugar seemed to loosen things up.  I finally saw my son Drew and handed him my UCAN fuel and sun glasses (as the sun was setting).  What a relief!

Becky and the family met me a total of 10 times during the day.  The most important times were on the run.  I found that when I knew they would be around the corner I got very excited and out of my 'funk' so it was a real upper.  They ran next to me a couple of times, pushing an empty stroller they had with all their stuff loaded on it.  What a great support group!

As far as spectators and volunteers, I saw Nate Snell at an aid station and Joe Zitar twice on the run.  I saw my bike mechanic also.  Bill Hagen and Dan Beaver were both racing and I was able to see them twice on the run.  Bill looked great, Dan was hurting.

Once the sun went down, I amazingly felt better.  Finally!  Although it wasn't really hot, the stress of the race on your body seems to magnify everything.  I ended up running most of the second lap.  Tempe started to light up at night which was just beautiful.  The sunset over Sun Devil Stadium, etc. was  just a dream come true for me.  It was also a full moon so even when we were running the the relative darkness, the moon guided us.  I was a perfect night!


Its funny how your mind works as you approach the end of such a big event.  The culmination of such a huge personal goal.  I was feeling very tired but also very good.  As I finished the second lap and moved to the finish line my pace quickened and I just didn't stop.  I talked to a fellow runner and he said we were on pace to finish at about 13:45:00 - well under my self professed goal of sub 14 hours.  I was stoked and I felt so good.  As I turned into the finish shoot, the music and cheers were deafening!  The lights were bright and in your face...  I looked for my family but it was impossible to hear or see anything but the finish line!  I was smiling and I was so happy!  

As I got right to finish line my mind said to 'dance' or do a funny jig, which I did.  My body did not appreciate that at ALL.  Thus, I twisted my knee and ankle right at the finish line!  Nothing too serious but enough to ensure some additional recover and stiffness for the next few weeks!

(Left knee, by the way.  I think this is the exact moment I went 'doh')

I had done it.  I was an Ironman!  I still get emotional as I think about it.  Thinking back to watching this event on TV as a teenager and thinking what a bunch of loonies I was watching.  
I remember talking to friends and trying to wrap my mind around how ANYONE could actually complete 140.6 miles in 17 hours - it was just crazy!  I am here to say that it can be done.  It has been done and I have done it!  "We are stronger than we think" and we can do amazing things.  I AM AN IRONMAN!


This was an absolutely wonderful race.  It had so much meaning, being in my backyard, being in Arizona and revolving around ASU, my Alma Mater.  The weather was incredible and the support from family and friends was perfect.  I finished strong and I had a blast!  I have to remember all of this when another race doesn't quite live up to expectations, etc.  This race really lived up to my expectations and I feel blessed to have participated and achieved such an important goal.

Here are the numbers....

Total Time:  13:44:09

Overall Rank:  1,732 out of about 3,000

Division Position (45-49):  220 out of 317

My family gathered around me after they got my bike and bags - meanwhile I went to the food tent and rested and ate....

Hannah said I had my CRAZY EYES face on (above) and said strange things... I remember being hyper aware of everything going on around me.  I guess I thought I was imparting some sort of wisdom in the picture below... Probably just a lot of gibberish...

Even after eating a bunch of pizza and chocolate milk, I was still hungry.  Becky asked me if I wanted a hamburger...  Immediately I said "YES."  A perfect ending meal for a perfect day....


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trevor Wurtele IMAZ Race Reports

I met Trevor and Heather a couple of times over the years.  They are Canadian and just great people.  Trevor's race reports have become legendary.  This one is no exception.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Oops I did it again.... Ironman Arizona 2014

Well, I loved this race so much I had to sign up again...  2014 here I come!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Different Kind of Race Report….

People always ask why I do triathlons.  They are particularly curious about Ironman as it is so demanding and 'extreme' in their minds.  I have thought about this for a long time and the answers are many but one clear reason I would like to talk about is what the sport gives to me.  What I learn about myself, if you will.  There is something about doing something very challenging that gives a person piercing insight into what he/she is really made of.  Triathlon is really a microcosm of life and I find I learn and re-learn lessons in a profound way as I participate in the sport.

Last Sunday's Ironman Arizona was a day of some deep learning for me and I want to share some insights that will hopefully provide some perspective and maybe even help anyone that chooses to read and think about these concepts.  They are really life lessons for me and I find these experiences help me way beyond the actual swimming, biking and running.  In no particular order….

Planning and preparation are essential.  The logistics and preparation just to race are daunting.  Getting the right stuff at the right time while not having too much is a combination of science and art.  I think I packed and repacked my equipment three times.  I also got my bike checked and rechecked to make sure it was in perfect running order.  I ended up having a few too many things on the bike and in my special needs bag but nothing major.  I also spend my time writing out my race plan.  My race "mantras" and thinking about what I thought could happen and how I would respond.  I especially knew that there would be several times in the race where I would ask myself, "Why in the WORLD are you doing this!  Stop!  Quit and it will all be better."  I prepared for those moments and decided BEFORE that I would not listen to those voices.  I have also found in life that when you prepare for challenges and decide first how to respond and how you will overcome, it makes all the difference.  A close friend always says, "Adventure and doing amazing things always come with hardship and sacrifice.  It is just the price you pay." (thanks, Mark Bishop).  Plan and prepare for it and you will overcome.

Sometimes plans don't work.  Despite pretty good planning, I ended up having some stomach issues for the 1/2 the bike and most of the run.  Something happened to my nutrition plan, even though it had seemed to work fine during all my long days training prior to the race.  I had to make some changes on the fly, not knowing if they were going to work.  I chose to back off the nutrition, at the risk of bonking, until I felt better.  On the third lap as we were coming out of the reservation, a dog decided the stream of cyclists going by were a threat and he attacked us - he hit a cyclist a few yards ahead of me.  Fortunately the cyclist stayed upright but he ran over the dog's leg…  I, and others, had to swerve to miss the dog and avoid a wreck.  You just can't plan for that!

You never know who will help you.  Keep your eyes open.   Although the race conditions were almost perfect, it felt hot as I started the run.  I was tired and the sun had been out all day.  I started to tell myself that "I could just walk this thing and it would be OK" - a sure sign of giving up.  As I was resigning myself to walking, I saw a sign that said, "You are Stronger Than you Think."  It was not a new saying to me - I have heard it before.  But there was something about reading it at that moment that stuck with me.  It motivated me.  I believed it, and it worked.  That random person has no idea the impact they had on me.  Thankfully, I was aware enough to notice…  I stopped walking and started to run again.

Family and friends are powerful motivators.  Both are powerful and they have different positive effects.  My family saw me 10 times during the race.  It's amazing how I could find them - hear their voices and see their faces amidst the sea of people and noise.  There is some deep truth in that, if you think about it.  They ran back and forth over the Mill Avenue bridge to see me over and over on the run - especially when I needed it.  Seeing them made me happy (another real truth) and move a little quicker and forget about the aches and pains I was feeling.  It was like a jolt of caffeine and a motorized scooter all at once!  As for friends, I saw Joe Zitar twice - both at really pivotal times.  I saw my bike mechanic and even my physio therapist, Nate Snell, working at a aid station.  He gave me a big hug and pushed me forward.  Friends say things that family can't sometimes.  Like 'suck it up' - 'You aren't dying' - things you probably know but can't admit it to yourself. They provide a candor that you really need sometimes.   And I needed it on Sunday!

Lose yourself in times of trouble.  It's so easy when you do a race like Ironman to get completely focused on yourself.  It is inherently a selfish sport, unless you make a concerted effort otherwise.  During the race, you hurt!  You feel like quitting.  Your muscles ache and you want to scream out and tell anyone that will listen.  That is exactly the time where you must lose yourself and focus on other things.  I like to talk to people around me.  Make jokes about how hard it is.  Try to get distracted and help someone else.  I met so many wonderful people over the almost 14 hours or Ironman Arizona and I wouldn't have done so had I not forgotten about myself for a while.  To me this illustrates one of life's greatest paradoxes - lose yourself and you will find yourself.  True happiness seems to come from helping others instead of focusing on your own problems, needs and wants.  I always remember this during a triathlon race...

Live in the moment.  We all know this but so few of us practice it on a regular basis.  Bottom line is it is so easy to take for granted the here and now, focusing on past mistakes or future plans.  I knew this would happen during the race and I resisted it.  When I caught myself thinking too much about how man miles or laps I still had to go, I clawed back into the 'now' and looked around at the beauty in my backyard.  At the other racers and volunteers doing their thing.  It was so wonderful so see so many people pushing for a similar goal and supporting each other.  As the sun set at dusk, I was running around Tempe town lake.  The city started to light up and the shadows on the mountains were simply gorgeous!  As it got darker, there was a full moon to light our way through the course.  What a blessing.

Things will get better and conversely, things can get worse.  I am not sure why but it feels like we humans believe that whatever is happening at any moment or however we feel will stay that way forever.  When we feel great and things are going well, we believe that it will always be that way.  Also, when things are bad, there is a crisis, etc., we act as if it will never get better.  It is really not that way at all.  Things always change - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  We have to learn to expect it - to not overreact and become irrational when things are good or falling into a deep depression when things stink.  We need to remember, things will change.  After the first lap of the bike, I felt invincible.  Things were going very well and everything was clicking.  I told myself, "this is great but it will probably change!"  Sure enough, half way into the second lap, I started to feel sick to my stomach and didn't feel so good.  I dealt with a sick stomach the rest of the day but I was able to overcome it towards the end of the run.

We are tempted and challenged when we are at our worst, not at our best.  Despite all the support from family, friends and strangers, there were parts of the race where I felt utterly alone.  The Beeline highway is beautiful but it can be barren when you are out there by yourself.  As Tempe got dark during the run, there were stretches of pavement where the lights were dim and there was no one to push you along.  Those are the most challenging times of the race.  Those are the times where I had to dig very deep and remember the end goal.  It reminds of how in life we seem to be 'tempted' (if you are religious like me) or challenged when you are at your worst.  It's easy to be good when things are good.  It's hard when they are hard.  Lonely parts of the course, etc.

Don't get too cute or cocky or you will be put into your place.  This has always been the case for me.  Ever since I was a kid, anytime I thought I was too cool or could do no wrong, things would come crashing down - it seems like clockwork.  As I was finishing the race, coming through the finisher chute, I got so excited my brain told me to do a little cute dance as I finished….  Mistake.  I twisted my knee and ankle!  It was my only injury of the whole race…  Note to self, don't try to be too cute!

There are more nuggets of truth I learned during the race but some are reserved for just me.  I end by saying I am extremely thankful for the support, love and assistance I received to even get to the start line, let alone the finish.  It has been a wonderful journey and I loved every minute of it.


IMAZ 2013 Highlights….

This is fresh off of youtube.  An amazing video of the day and how it went down…


Friday, November 15, 2013

IMAZ Race Week

Just thought I would put down a few thoughts as this week progresses.

The trucks have arrived and the tents are being setup.  The transition area is under construction and road closures around Tempe Town Lake are starting to pop up.

Meanwhile, we are trying to be as normal as possible at the Turner household.

The excitement is there but I don't want to get overly anxious.  Just looking for a sense of normal for a few days - good nights sleep, keep healthy, etc.

Drew, Madison and Caden flew in late Wednesday night.  They will be here for the week enjoying the sunshine and spending time with the family.  Madison's birthday was Thursday so we all celebrated at Oregano's in Tempe - EXCELLENT food as usual.

I checked in on Thursday also and spent a little time at the expo.  I have been preparing all week by putting things into different piles - sometimes more than I will need.  Still, little by little it gets rid of nervous energy.  The photo on the right will need to be all organized in a couple of days.  Shouldn't be an issue and im sure Becky will be excited for it to look clean again!


Saturday, November 9, 2013


One week until Ironman Arizona, I am thinking about the journey to this day.  At the risk of being too sentimental and mushy I thought it would be appropriate to spend a little time in my oft neglected blog to publicly thank several people that have been very important to my success in getting  and remaining healthy as well as a source of inspiration and support for my triathlon.  I guess these people form my personal team even though they may not know it.  Here it goes, in no particular order:

Joe Zitar:  Dr. Joe - my physician and co-owner of Durapulse - an excellent triathlon coaching service and team here in the Phoenix area.  Joe is a no nonsense and sometimes (in his words) inappropriate deliverer of sage and practical advice on the human body, health, triathlon, motivation, etc...   Joe was at my side when we discovered some cardiac issues just prior to IM Oceanside 70.3 earlier this year.  He connected with Dr. Tyree (Cardiologist) and we did all the tested to ensure I was perfectly fine.  Joe has texted me, called me and done extra things a regular Dr. wouldn't do.  Recently we sat down for 1.5 hours of his personal time to talk health, "former fatness" and IMAZ race strategy.  He is a man of faith and a beacon of light in this health care mess we find ourselves in today.  Thanks, Dr. Joe.

Keith Cartmell:  Keith and I met years ago as co-workers at Skystone Engineering.  Both of us were way too heavy, out of shape and we did not in any way resemble triathletes.  Skystone used to supply buffet lunch of excellent food (the best was the buttered chicken) and Keith and I would race to see who could get to the front of the line first to get a heaping plate of food!  While we weren't close friends at Skystone, that friendship blossomed some years after we both left the company.  Both of us, independently, decided enough was enough and we were going to get fit.  Keith adopted triathlon early on while I ran....  Over time as we met and shared notes, he helped convince me that triathlon was my sport.  He has completely transformed his life and I really admire him.  He has been a great source of practical advice throughout my journey - someone I can trust and that has "been there."  Keith, I thank you.

Grant Molyneaux:  "Keep it effortless" is the mantra of coach Grant.  He even wrote a book called, "Effortless Exercise."  Grant was my first (and only) triathlon coach.  We started out with Total Immersion swimming where I went from that guy to fights the water to someone who can nearly fall asleep while swimming...  Then Grant introduced me to his program Ironman for Mortals which has become my foundation for training.  Effortless exercise is soothing, invigorating and makes you want to come back for more.  Bottom line, it works.  Whatever I spent on his programs was well worth the money.  Grant, you have had the most influence on my triathlon training and triathlon aspirations.  Thanks for all your advice and wise coaching.

Charles Miron:  Charles and Grant were partners for a while.  Charles was instrumental in my running abilities.  He is a Chi Running guru in Calgary.  His company, Solo Sports, is doing wonderful these days.  Prior to that, he taught me how to run - in the dead of winter in small church gym in Calgary.  It was a real departure from my style and form before and it has made a huge difference in my ability to run for long periods, avoid injury and just enjoy running.  Charles is an ultrarunner himself and has some incredible wins under his belt (Sinister 7 and Canadian Death Race - look them up).  He has a zen like quality and is a lot of fun to be around. Charles, thanks for being a runner and teaching me how to run.

Scott Johnson:  Two years ago, I piled into a bus at 5AM to run the Phoenix 1/2 marathon.  Packed in like sardines, there was no real choosing who you sat next to.  I sat next to Scott and it has made all the difference.  Turns out we had mutual friends and acquaintances and Scott is a financial planning genius (who doesn't need one of those!).  Scott is our financial advisor and we have become friends to boot.  He is a great example - someone you can talk to on long rides about life and things that matter.  He is a man of faith and has used it to help me on occasion.  Scott is an Ironman and has done many races including Boston.  He is an excellent athlete and very focused.  Thanks for your spirit, faith and friendship, Scott.

Mark Bishop:  Mark Bishop is unlike anybody I have ever met.  He has so much energy and he has so many insights into life.  I feel like a sponge when I am around him.  He is the most real person I think I know.  Candid, helpful and so much fun.  An avid cyclist himself, Mark helped me with my first bike.  He showed me how to make minor repairs, lube and clean my bike.  Change a tire - that stuff.  He also helped me to get excited about what one could do on a bike.  His stories are legendary and almost always dangerous...  He rode across Canada last year...  Need I say more...  Mark, thanks for being a great friend and inspiration to me.

The guys at Westside Gym in Calgary:  Several years ago when I lived in Calgary I attended the Westside Gym religiously.  I was a runner then and still on my journey to reverse years of neglect on my body.  I had some knee issues (probably because of the pounding) and some of my friends at the gym noticed.  As I talked to a few of them, they asked if I had ever considered triathlon.  I looked at them like they were nuts!  They assured me it was much easier on my body than just running.  I looked at them like they were nuts, again!  As we talked, though, over time, I began to understand how multisport, when done properly, was much easier on one's body that the relentless pounding of a hard core runner.  This realization and epiphany really influenced me to do my first sprint triathlon and it had the added benefit of being true! Guys, thanks for being a great influence.  I miss seeing you every day.

Nate Snell:  Nate is someone I recently met but has really had an impact on my training and understanding of recovery and rehab.  Nate runs Endurance Rehab in Mesa, AZ and was recommended to me when developed a numbness in the bottom of my right foot - one month ago.  This numbness caused me some panic as IMAZ was right around the corner and I knew I needed to take immediate action.  Nate explained his therapy and rehabilitation philosophy in a way I understood and believed - he is intellectual and yet simple with the concepts he teaches.  Make no mistake, there is nothing subtle about what he does - the scraping and exercises he has put me through were very painful.  Over time, they have become easier and my body is recovering very well.  The fact that he is an avid ASU fan also speaks highly of his personal integrity technical skills.....  Go Devils!   Nate, I appreciate your dedication and personal attention to me.

Dan and Mary Beaver:  The first time I met Dan I was looking for some cool places to run, having just moved back to Arizona.  Dan can be intimidating and imposing if you don't know him.  Still, he pulled out a map and showed me the canal system in the Phoenix valley and gave me some great tips to run.  That small act has turned into countless discussions, questions and advice sessions.  Dan is pretty intense when it comes to training - and so is Mary.  Both are accomplished triathletes.  Still, they have a yin and yang quality to them that really works.  Their store, Cadence Running, in Gilbert is a great place for runners and triathletes to get gear and shoot the breeze.  Dan and Mary, thanks for opening your store and thanks for all the great advice.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Times UP! IMAZ Taper Time

Amazing to think it has been a year since I signed up for my first Ironman.  At the time, it seemed so far away and I had plenty of time to get ready.  The reality is I did have plenty of time to get ready but that time went by very fast.

I am now less than two weeks away from a goal I never thought possible.  No more training, per se.  Taper time.  I heard from a friend today, Mary Knott, that at this point there is nothing more you can do to improve prior to the race - there IS, however, a lot you can do to regress or make things worse!  Indeed tapering is a time to be confident in your past training, avoid the temptation of 'hammering it' and getting some well deserved rest.  Above all, avoid injury.

Friends, I have put in the time.  I have done multiple 100 mile rides.  Multiple 2.4 mile swims and one marathon.  I KNOW I can do each of the segments by themself.  The challenge, of course, is doing them back to back and choosing to have fun at the same time.

To be honest, I waiver from confidence to terror which is one of the reasons I do this sport.  You learn a lot about yourself and what makes you tick.  You learn and re-learn, sometimes.  That is part of the joy of doing something difficult.

Wish me luck....