On a personal level, it was definitely one of the most impactful and memorable years. Why? 2015 marked my first year as a dedicated endurance coach, pro triathlete and veteran. After 10 years of active duty in the U.S Air Force, I finally realized, I truly need to be in charge of my own future. No longer would I depend on the steady and reasonable military paycheck and benefits…it was time to toss it all aside, start from scratch and do my own thing. Sure, it sounds crazy! I essentially left a career only 10 years from “retirement”. I decided to walk away from the stable, predictable lifestyle about 8 months before it was over. Having found a tremendous passion within the sport of triathlon I quickly realized my new direction in life; Pro Triathlete, Future Champion and Endurance Coach. A direction I really wish I could have found much earlier, since now I’m playing a bit of catch-up. Despite the obvious perils and adjustments required when striking out on your own, I find it fits my personality. So not only was 2015 huge for my career, it was even bigger for my love life. Karen, my fiancé, never once questioned or doubted my direction during the course of these changes. Without her generous support and race-sherpa-ing over the past 2 years of moving, traveling and changing, I’d be petrified in a permanent fetal position. Needless to say it’s why I asked her to be my wife and the icing on the cake concerning 2015’s epic-ness.
2015 was my first break-out year training full-time with a new coach and mentor. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right. My coach Lesley Patterson and my business partner Jon Noland have been instrumental concerning my professional development. Despite these past dedicated years, in too many ways, I’m still a kid when it comes to this sport. In the course of 5 epic years of triathloning, I’ve been groomed, educated, certified, mentored and pushed beyond all limits…with much more to learn. I had zero background in competitive sports until 5 years ago. I was never a track star and worked (making pizza) during high school. I was (am) just an incredibly hard worker. I even took my Pizza skills to the next level, winning the pie-in-the sky dough-spinning award in 2010 (kidding). We all thrive in an environment we’re engaged in, hence my sporadic stellar grades in certain college classes I was interested in. For that reason, triathlon became my essence. My success is totally dependent on ME! 100% of every single moment dedicated training, suffering and overcoming means a direct positive change for my future performance. I started small, taking out a few local nemeses. Odd are, if you live in Tampa Bay area from 2012 to present and have some top results in the local races, I made a mental note to try and humbly destroy you. I surrounded myself with the best training group; bought the best gear I could afford and trained when everyone else slept. Mind you, until now I did this while working a full day. Luckily, my leadership in the Air Force totally supported me since I also worked just as hard for them. It also helped that I was part of the Air Force Triathlon team. 2015…the start of the rest of my life.
Sure there were also plenty of races in 2015. When I look back at the traveling, lessons learned and races around the country, I can really only say one thing…”Meh”! Like any of the athletes I work with, I get a bit ahead of myself often setting outlandish goals, searching for that perfect race. There’s never a perfect race, duh. Even if there was, a triathletes mind doesn’t allow for it. How many times have you seen your friend win their age group, win a race or set a huge PR yet STILL complain about the damn water temperature, wind direction or aid stations not handing them water properly? I mean, it’s total blasphemy! As a coach, I’ve had to remind athletes they’ve literally PR’d EVERY distance of running from 5k to marathon since joining our squad and I still get a response of “yea, I guess that’s good”. (Rant Over)
Here are all of the fun Photos I browsed through recently. I think they give a solid depiction of how truly amazing this journey has been, with all the people places and races....life couldn't be better.
Back to my races in 2015! If you want see how I placed, check my results page. If you want to see how the races went, find the blog for that specific race as I wont bore you with mindless talks of splits, how I “felt” and whatever else happened to prevent me from winning besides the overall rookie year….I’ve got a few more years hoping for top 10’s before I can even think about a top 5! This sport is super hard and the top-fastest guys don’t look to be slowing down. So until I put in my time, allow for gradual adaptations of speed and mental toughness…I can only expect to be on a rolling hill course of ups and downs. Luckily I know it’s going to happen since I’ll turn myself inside out during training, learn from the best and will always be inspired by the athletes I’m coaching with the same mindset.
The 2016 season is set for the most part and I’ll be competing in Ironman Austria this June, moving up in race distance from 70.3’s. There will still be a butt load of 70.3 races but I want to see how I hold up for the 140.6! I’ve had 2 botched attempts thus far but have since put in huge volumes of training towards mental prep. All that matters is, its on…it’s on like Donkey Kong. I’ll be running my first competitive marathon next weekend, straight into a 3-week training block in San Diego and Tucson, finally wrapping up with the LA marathon on Valentines Day (with Karen). Then it’s onto the race where I had my first crash, 70.3 Puerto Rico. Shortly after, it’s time for the annual progress check against the always-stacked field at 70.3 Oceanside. I expect these first few months to fly by in a blur of adventure. Sometimes the only way to remember all of the fun times is to look back at your iPhone’s photo stream (hence the photos above)!
Finally, all of this costs money, hook-ups and freebies within the industry. I’ll be working my butt off for a few companies that I’ve really benefited from and built a positive, growing relationship. It’s hard to find companies willing to help build a future athlete so my hat’s off to these guys: