Sunday, April 4, 2010

These are the times that TRI men's souls

I don't want to be the one to say goodbye
But I will, I will, I will
I don't want to sit on the pavement while you fly
But I will, I will, oh yes I will

Maybe in the future, you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back around
Maybe in the future, you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back
The only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you're gonna come back

Ingrid Michaelson

It was an interesting couple of days for Jimbo to say the very least. Friday started with an interview with CNBC anchor Scott Wapner and concluded with an uneasy night of sleep before undertaking my first triathlon, my first race of any kind since high school, a lot more camera time, and then saying goodbye to the ridge, my friends, and my fellow triathletes. And for the first time in my life I can say, unequivocally, that yes indeed I am a triathlete. Unbelievable to me. And certainly unbelievable as well to those people who were here in Utah two years ago when I struggled to walk more than a mile and spent most of that first walk looking for rocks and benches to place my fat ass down on.

Friday was filming day number one for the weekend. The CNBC crew flew in and brought correspondent Scott Wapner with them. Things started well when Scott took a liking to my Go Terps license plate. Seems he grew up in Olney, Md and was a big Terp fan. We talked hoops while the crew scouted out a location before settling on some lava rock in Snow Canyon Park.

We spent a good hour sitting on lava rock which is about as comfortable as sitting on a porcupine. It was a rehash of many of my earlier questions. How I gained so much weight, how I felt after losing a good sized person, what motivates me, how society is dealing with obesity, whether fat is a dirty word, do I feel like an inspiration, how was my support at home and at the ridge, how I planned to move forward, what made me choose the ridge, was the program too much, is that much exercise healthy, what were my expectations for the triathlon and finally what I thought of the name Biggest Loser and the show itself.

You're going to have to tune in to the broadcast which is scheduled to air on CNBC May 19th. But I will give you a little taste and if you can't wait you can ask me and I'll answer any of them for you in the comments. I said that I didn't mind the name Biggest Loser I thought it was a cute double entendre and followed up his next question of whether I felt like a loser with I certainly did at my heaviest. Not so much now. I said that I was not a fan of the show in it's current incarnation. I liked that it showed that you could lose weight with hard work and exercise. I hate that they refuse to show how much the guests actually workout, and hate that they do so little with what the guests actually consume. I hated that when they go home we have very little idea what their exact programs were. I also hate the way the show looks for some under lying issue or someone else to blame for people putting too much food in their own mouths. I bit my tongue on the product placement that is rampant in the show.

We picked up our packets Friday night and there was quite a long line for the beginner triathlon which was exactly half of the sprint tri I was doing. All I could do was smile at the fit people in the beginner line and mutter shame under my breath :)

Saturday morning started early after a restless night of sleep and being awake at 3:30. We arrived at 6 am and got nice spots in the transition area. Here's Eric, Trevor and I setting up. Now I spent time with my coach,Tiffany, working on my transitions and it showed as I was out a full two minutes faster than both these guys on the changeover from pool to bike. I got marked up with my race number 740 on my calf and bicep.

We started lining up and almost all the ridgers were in the first 30 of the 240 or so triathletes to get in the pool. It was a staggered start as the pool could only hold around 30 swimmers at a time. I got interviewed by CNBC before the start and was really fairly calm and slightly excited to get in the pool. Put the goggles down and stripped the shirt off and awaited to be placed in a lane. Here was my fear of being filmed in my swimsuit on deck coming to life. I got sent to the far end so I ran down the deck one cameraman in tow and another filming from across the pool. Jiggling on national TV before 7 am is not my idea of a great way to start your day.

So after running 25 yards down the pool deck I got a nice start to my dive. Being in the last lane meant the bleachers were literally 3 feet from my lane. So those people in the first couple rows got the sea world splash effect when I went in the pool. I settled down and felt pretty good, got my turns and breathing down just like practice. Now I'm not sure how they count in Utah but I was told I was done before I thought I was but I wasn't arguing. I got my butt out of the pool when my lane counter was yelling 'done'

I sprinted out the door into the 40 degree morning, towel wrapped and dropped my swim suit. Tried to grab my shorts and get them on with the towel in tact but failed. Dropped the towel, bent over for the camera in all my glory and yanked up the shorts, threw on my shirt, and helmet and walked the bike to the starting line. I had to be one of the first 5 people out of the pool and felt comfortable on the bike. Not many people passing me and a truck with a cameraman hanging out in my face. Then the real bikers really started kicking in and I heard lots pf 'passing on the left' as guys that looked and dressed like Lance Armstrong went by me. Full body suits, $4000 bikes and Darth Vader's helmet must really make a difference. I was good through the first lap. Slowed in the second lap, and started feeling some pain in the last two miles. The last hill was torture, my sockless feet were numb from the cold air coming through my perforated shoes, my fingers were numb from the cold and gripping the handle bars, and the seat was sending me a serious message. I got into the bike change to the run and my legs felt like jello. It took about 10 minutes until they felt normal as I started the run. I was now a little over an hour into the race. And the faster people were finishing the race.

The run course I was very familiar with and knew to go slowly up the first hill as it flattened out after that. I began jogging and was very happy to see the turn around a couple hundred yards sooner than I had thought. As I turned to come back the first time, I then knew 100% that I was going to finish. The camera crew would jog a bit and film, drop back and wait for me. I need to say thanks to many of the other competitors who shouted out encouragement throughout the race. People were constantly yelling go 740 and slapping high fives as we crossed.

I crossed the line in 2:06 more than an hour behind the winner but in front of 3 other competitors and a few people who did not finish and a dozen who did not start. And for the record there aren't a whole lot of people out of shape that decide to try a triathlon. Most everyone on the course looked the part of a triathlete.I also figured I beat all the wusses who signed up for the beginner race. There was quite a cheering throng when I passed the finish line. I was truly touched by the outpouring I received from my friends and from total strangers and even the film crew offered their congratulations.

There was no feeling of relief but there was certainly a feeling of accomplishment when I crossed the line. I wasn't exhausted and felt more pain at the top of stop sign then in the last mile of the race. I answered some questions for the cameras and exchanged hugs and high fives with the 13 other ridge guests and staff that competed in the race. Made my way over to the refreshment table but passed on the peanut M&M's since I had a camera in tow and went for the strawberries and oranges. I may have snuck back latter for a handful of M&M's but that's our secret.

That's Linda above who was the fastest of the guests and Jen in the maroon hat who was the catalyst in getting me to sign up for the race. My favorite question I got after the race was from some lady who asked if I was on this season's show or next season's and she seemed very disappointed when I said neither.

Lisa and Bobbi and I after the race. Talk about some very happy campers. Bobbi was the most emotional of the finishers and I was so proud of her. Lisa was swift, hanging a 1:34 time on the stopwatch. She has done just a remarkable job over the last 6 weeks taking the ridge home and doing everything right. Could not be more proud of her either. She inspired me to keep getting on that bike and really helped me overcome my anxiety of having not been a bike rider for quite some time.

Jen and Alex led a group of campers that came out to cheer for us. Can't remember the last time my name was on a sign. The support at the ridge was fabulous and I was greeted by applause when I arrived at dinner that night. Made me a little teary and I can never quantify just how much I love my fellow campers.

There's the group shot of 12 of the ridge triathletes after the finish. Nothing but smiles and happy happy people. Congratulations to my fellow ridge competitors. You guys inspired, and pressed me to do my best. I am so proud to be a part of this group. So proud in fact that I plan to come back and do this race again, November 13th. And this is an open invitation to all of you to join me. don't forget to get the dvr ready for the May 19th show which I have no idea what they are calling it. But I will let you know exactly what time it is on. Have a great week, I am on the road home. Can't wait. Peace, Love, and swim,bike and run, Jim the triathlete.


Stephany said...

GREAT job!!! I will be at the Ridge when your show airs!! I rode a bike tonight for the first time in 20 years. How did you get used to the seat? OUCH! My butt still hurts!

Kristin said...

I am so proud of you! I truly admire your courage to take on such a challenge. I would love to participate in some kind of race. I've never done anything more than a 5k. Now that I'm reaching my goals (again) I will be using you as an inspiration in finding a race to run in!

David M Gordon said...

Congratulations, Jim!

You keep expanding your horizons and pushing out your (former) limitations, all while shriveling your waistline.

Impressive. Inspirational.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

My gosh Jim. You look fantastic. You are giving me motivation just reading about your triathalon. Wow, I wonder though, will you end up working there? Good luck to you!! Sonia Schmitt

ultramichelle said...

I loved the title tonight. You are witty and that part of you will never shrink. Man you have grown into quite a competitor and a athlete others will aspire to be like and I am sure as fast as :) Keep on keeping on. I eally enjoied meeting you and followingyou and hope our paths cross again maybe on a hiking trail, or over trail mix or a mixer, or having you move furniture. You are still rocken.

VAgirl said...

What an awesome accomplishment!! I'm so happy for you that it all went well.

mam said...

Amazing, Jim. I'm so happy for you!

Oregon said...

What an amazing bike rider you have become! So proud to call you my friend. Thank you for the encouragement and the support...without it I never would have attempted this. Hopefully our paths will cross again on some future Tri!

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