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.