Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

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I had my first "race" in the PC (post crash) era. And man, it was a dozy. I woke up on race morning and you’d have thought it was race morning in Kona. I had a major case of the nerves. Yet this was no Ironman World Championship. This was a community 5K Turkey Trot with some 300 runners. Tell it to my nerves.

I had my first "race" in the PC (post crash) era. And man, it was a dozy.

I woke up on race morning and you’d have thought it was race morning in Kona. I had a major case of the nerves. Yet this was no Ironman World Championship. This was a community 5K Turkey Trot with some 300 runners. Tell it to my nerves.

We made our way down to the race site, DaveyG in tow, not as my 5K Sherpa, but as a fellow competitor!

During our warm up, I didn’t say much. DaveyG was chatting up a storm. I think we go opposite ways when nerves creep in. He becomes a chatty cathy and I shut the (bleep) up.

As we approached the start line, we were sized up by some of the other runners. "You guys look fast. You’ll probably win this," he said, as he acknowledged my DaveyG. Humbly, DaveyG laughed and said, "I just look the part." The same guy asked what pace we’d run. I answered him, adding on…. "if I’m lucky".

As the gun fired, I made sure not to make my first 500 meters at 5:30 pace. A) that is not sustainable for my diesel engine and B) I’d be likely to not make it to 1000 meters if I did.

The guy who’d sized us up before the race was a former miler. He was hoping to run around 20 minutes, but thought his first mile would be around 6:00. "Wow….you are a worse pacer than I am when it comes to this". I resisted the urge to tell him that if he went out at 6:20 pace, he might be able to sustain it and blah, blah, blah…..

Sure enough, round about the ½ mile mark, I passed Mr. Miler. He accelerated a step or two with me and then fell off. If felt bad for him, imagining the world of hurt he must have been in to get off the line at 5:30 pace the way he did.

I went thru the mile just fine. A few seconds ahead of pace, but not terribly off. The next mile was a struggle and the final mile….well, I put my body into shock. It’s not used to running that hard when I haven’t done my best Humpty Dumpty impression, and this, being my first race back PC….well, my legs and lungs were more than quietly asking me, "WTF?"

With a half mile to go, there were two guys right ahead of me. I surged and passed, but went a bit too soon. They surged back and I had……nuthin’. You can see here, I must have subconsciously thought that running with my mouth open might aid oxygen flow. Either that, or I was looking for some extra protein and trying to catch some flies.



I won the race (for the women), outsprinting what looked to be a 12 year old for the title. (OK, she was more like a minute back…but I was impressed to see such a youngster at the pointy end of the race!).

Just 2 finishers and only a handful of seconds back, wouldn’t you know it? My DaveyG! Almost a full minute faster than expected! After a moment of stress and the realization that our family dynamic could have changed considerably had I been on the other side of those few seconds (!!), I was immensely proud of his effort.



I did remember back to a time when DaveyG cleaned my clock in a 5K we ran together in Hoboken, NJ. He’s a talented little bugger. Gonna have to keep an eye out for that one!

As we warmed down, I couldn’t help but be a little bit bummed. I thought I’d have been faster. I didn’t execute the race especially well, and Lord knows, it felt like h-e-double-hockey-sticks. When I settled down, however, I realized that I ran some 18 seconds faster than my 5K season opener last year, when I thought I’d had a pretty good race. I was only 15 seconds off a 5K PR, which, I’d established at the end of a season that was rife with PRs and extraordinary results. And here I am, at the start of a season, and in the PC era, where I need to not forget......I am lucky to be running at all.

So maybe my goals for a PR in my first race were a little……off. I’m feeling so good, it’s hard to remember that I broke half my body in an accident that could have easily ended my career. So while it’s good to aim high (which I am), a dose of reality and perspective from time to time can be valuable as well (still working on that one).

So there’s one in the books. No land speed records, by any stretch. But I’m healthy, and I am out there fighting the fight. While it’s not an Ironman or a 70.3 (I’m not quite ready for that just yet......almost....but not quite), it’s a race. And a win. And not a bad way to close out "The Year of Awesome". I’ve got a long way to go....but I’ve come pretty darn far, too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some training to get done. Gotta keep a half a step ahead of DaveyG. He isn’t making this easy!

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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