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Four Years and Fifty Pounds Ago…

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Hey Guys! Todd here!

When people see my driver’s license, they can’t believe it’s me.  They tell me I need a new license photo, too, because it doesn’t look at all like me.  I reply, “No, I like reminding myself of where I came from.  It was a lot of hard work.”  …Four years and fifty pounds ago…

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September 2010, I came back from a business trip in San Antonio.  The trip was amazing… food, food, and lots of food (oh and an occasional beer or two).  It was great being able to live it up and do whatever I wanted and not really have any remorse.  Then I came home…

On September 11th, 2010, I stepped on the scale. The scale read 199 lbs.  Some may say this isn’t much, but for my height, I knew this wasn’t where I needed to be.  For my stature, I had no business going into the 200+ range, especially with the active lifestyle I had growing up.  According to the CDC’s BMI calculator, I was obese.   Therefore, it was then and there that I decided I had to make a change.  After all, it had been five years since I gave up smoking, surely I could get off the couch.

Surely I could get off the couch.

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So… that’s exactly what I did.  Like most people that want to become active, I started a couch to 5k plan on my own.  I splurged and bought a Garmin Forerunner 405cx and began posting my workouts to Facebook.  Looking back at them, it’s crazy to see where I started out.   

I also made a crazy commitment and registered for the Walt Disney World half marathon in January 2011.   I lived in the Orlando area from 1999 to 2006.  By registering for the race, I was rewarding myself by going back to Florida but I was also holding myself accountable because I just threw down $135 and committed to inviting my dear friends to see me finish the race.  Therefore, I had to stay committed to the training.

According to Garmin Connect, on September 19th, 2010, I did my first workout.

It was a 20 minute workout for 1.39 miles.  My pace was around a 15 minute mile.

Fortunately, posting to Facebook kept me accountable for my workouts.  A childhood friend of mine, Brian, would religiously comment on my workouts.  It was something I truly fed off of.  Why? Because somebody was watching me, holding me accountable.  I began to work out just to see if he’d comment.  Sure enough, he did.  It may sound ridiculously, but looking back it was like having a coach without knowing it.  I needed the accountability.

September 29th, 2010, the seed got planted into my head.  I saw something that caused this crazy addiction to triathlons.  I stumbled across a Facebook post from a childhood friend.  My friend, Kristin, posted that she was in town doing Ironman 70.3 Augusta. 

I thought to myself, “What the?  Wait? What?  A mortal that I know, that I grew up with is doing a half Ironman?” 

It got me thinking, could I do a triathlon?  [Well, more on this later…]

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 Waiting to complete my first 5k of my adult life…

On October 9th, 2010, I completed my first 5k as an adult.  I completed it at a pace of 11:46.    I will never forget taking my scheduled walk paces during the race and seeing loads of people run by as I walked.  My goal was to finish and I was proud.

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 Ok, so I can’t find my finisher photo but here’s my daughter’s from that day…

On November 6th, 2010 I did the Boshear 10k in Augusta, GA and thought it was crazy hilly and did a 12:38 pace.  [Little did I know that it wasn’t as nearly as hilly as it can be. 😉 ]

Then I began to drag my family all over Georgia in search of races to reward myself.

November 13th, 2010, I competed in the YMCA Holiday Chili Run 15k in Albany, GA. Somehow my wife managed to snag a video.

Pardon the crooked…

I’ll never forget it because I was using Jeff Galloway’s run-walk method for my training and I came across a Galloway training group during the race.  It was awesome because they welcomed me to join and truly helped me during the race.  I managed to find a father daughter team that was on the same run-walk ratio that I was doing.  A friend of mine that saw the video from my finish said, “you made it look so easy!”  Let me tell you, it wasn’t.

So my next big race was on December 11, 2010, Carpet Capital 10 miler in Dalton, GA.   The overachiever in me did 2.5 miles afterwards because that’s what my training plan called for.  I was so grateful when it was over.  After the race, I found out about the valuable necessity of protecting your nipples during long races. :/

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I learned the hard way to protect the old nipples from chafing during this race…

On January 8, 2011, the big milestone came: the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  I proudly wore my Carpet Capital 10 miler shirt all around the parks.  The race was perfect.   I admit, I blew past all the scenic/photo ops trying my best to get a personal record and finished with a 11:32 pace for a time of 2:38.

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Wifey is getting way better at finish line photos…

While staying with my friends in Clermont, Florida, home of the Great Floridian, the oldest Iron distance race in Florida, and a triathlon training Mecca, I reminisced about living there.  I recalled how, every year I got so irritated when the roads to my neighborhood got blocked for the bike course of the Great Floridian.  I used to cuss the triathletes out as they rode by while the cop made me sit there in my car.

Then I drove past the National Training Center (The NTC) and recalled something I regretted.  I remembered how I used to be a member there for quite some time.

I remembered how I had signed up for a triathlon training class in 2002.

[While I was still smoking!]

The same day I signed up, I tried swimming some laps.  I stopped at 12.5 meters and had a conversation with the lifeguard on duty.  It went something like this:

Me: “How far would I have to go to complete a triathlon?”

Lifeguard: “What kind?”

Me: “I don’t know. The shortest kind?”

Lifeguard, “About 8 laps…”

Me: “Oh.  SCREW THAT…”

Then I jumped out of the pool, went up to the sign-up list and scratched my name off the list.

It’s quite disheartening looking back because I could have had started doing this great sport nine years earlier and had a much bigger impact on my health.  Unfortunately, I didn’t stop smoking for another three years after my oldest daughter was born.

So back to the NTC… I drive past it and started thinking to myself… and I recalled my friend Kristin’s post about the Augusta 70.3, I recall the missed opportunities with triathlon in Clermont, and then it dawned on me…

Why can’t I do a triathlon?!

I secretly took my family and friends to a restaurant so that I could sneak off and go to the bike shop in Clermont.  And I did.  I started window shopping for a bike.  I found a bike I loved but there was no way I could get it back to Augusta.

On January 18th, 2011, I bought my bike, a Giant Defy.  I rushed home and took my first bike ride.  It was 2 miles at 11 mph.  To be honest, I don’t remember anything about this other than praying that I didn’t get killed by a car.

I do remember that!

Then, on January 31, 2011, I did my first swim.  It was a 50 yd warm up, 150 yd swim, and a 50 yd cool down.  While this was what the plan called for, there wasn’t anything about warming up or cooling down about the workout!  It was “dear God, please let me get to the other side without drowning!” and “Dear God, please don’t make the lifeguards have to jump in and save me!” and “Dear God, what am I thinking?!”

And from there I continued my training until my first dry run.  No seriously.  It was dry, I did a duathlon!

On April 30th, 2011, I participated in the Tri the Parks Duathlon on John Tanner Park near Carrollton, GA.  We packed the kids up and headed over the night before.  The race was a 3.1 mile run, 13.8 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run and it was cold in the morning.  I remember being so jealous of everybody who was doing the triathlon.  Not because they were doing a triathlon and I wasn’t.  It was because it was cold!  They were all in wetsuits and warm!  I was standing their freezing my a** off in a tri suit!

Run 0:26:33.3
T1 0:02:10.4
Bike 0:54:23.8
T2 0:02:12.2
Run 0:29:43.3
Total 1:55:03

To my amazement, I got 1st place male novice!  Ok, quit hating.  There were only two of us in the category.  Isn’t too hard to come up with 1st or 2nd when there are only two people…

And so again, I continued training and training…

On June 5th, 2011, I made it to my first triathlon, My First Tri in Gainesville, GA.  Ok, so why did I pick it?  Well, the name sounds good, right?   Well, honestly it was because the swim was along the shoreline and it was appealing to know if I freaked out, all I had to do was stand up!  I believe it was around 500 yd swim (maybe 400 or 600), 12 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run.

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Yeesh.  Nice lap counter on the finger.  What was I thinking?  Oh yeah, I wanted the time for the swim…

There are several things I can still remember about the event.

First was the announcer.  What happened really helped me relax.  The announcer said that somebody’s wedding ring was found and it had their name “titanium” engraved on it.  Ha!  Not exactly, that’s what it’s made of…  I also remember seeing my family show up at the start line.  Seeing the kiddos anxiously waiting to see me start made me nervous.  What if I fail?  In front of my kids?  Yeesh.

The run from the swim to transition was crazy.  It was long, rather steep, and the surface sucked.  I remember questioning how anybody could think it was fun to do triathlons.  Everything went fine until the run.

I remember going from transition into a wooded area on the run.  It was priceless.  It looked like a “runner” bomb and gone off.  Apparently everybody was too proud to stop running between the transition zone and the woods.  Therefore, 20 to 30 people were everywhere in the woods catching their breath, stretching, puking, whatever!  It was hilarious!

I was doing great on the run until my one calf kept cramping.  I kept running though.  Then a little boy caught up to me.  He would not leave my side!  I’d speed up, he’d speed up.  I’d slow down, he’d slow down.  I even tried running in the middle of the road and the little joker ran right beside me!  I kept telling him, “go without me” and “don’t get so close to me” and he just kept ignoring me.  [I found out during the awards that there was good reason he didn’t understand me: he was from Japan! Didn’t speak a word of English. Well, that explains it!]  I got to the last hill before the finish line and managed to dust him.  Finally ditched him!  Apparently he didn’t have the legs strength I did.

I recall coming across the finish line and seeing so many other people already finished.  It’s quite strange because now I kinda get disappointed seeing so many other people ahead of me but that day I was more excited about crossing the finish.  I recall seeing my family and in-laws there and there amazement of my accomplishment.  I remember the kids climbing all over me and asking me to get them bananas and cookies from the refreshments.

So the long story… (and this was kind of long)… if you would have told me at the finish line I would complete a 70.3 a year later and a 140.6 race the next year, I would have looked at you as if you were a talking dog…

So how did I drop 50 pounds?

Well, there’s the answer.  Well, at least the training part.

There’s the healthier eating and portion control aspect but that’s a whole blog post of its own…

– Todd

Todd is a husband, father of three, youth triathlon coach, and 140.6 finisher.
He’s the new voice of Swim Bike Kid.


2012-12-21 10.07.42 (1)

7 Comments

  • Joanne Kovac-Roberts

    June 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for this. Especially the- “What if I fail? In front of my kids?” I am doing my first 140.6 in September and keep having this thought…. Helps me to feel normal knowing that others think, or have thought, the same way.

    Reply
    • Todd for Swim Bike Kid

      July 1, 2014 at 8:16 am

      You’re definitely not alone on this. You simply have to remember to trust your training. Stick to your plan and everything will be fine! If your plan gets screwed up like in my 140.6 adjust and keep moving forward!

      Reply
    • Kris

      July 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Even if you should fail, like you get hurt, and cannot finish the race, your kids will still be proud of you. And they’ll learn that when you continue training and attempt your next race, to not give up. I’m very open with my 12 yr old daughter about my successes and failures with training. The other day I had a panic attack during my swim but tomorrow morning I’ll go out and swim again.

      Reply
  • Michele @ Micheleontherun

    June 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    This is the first time in my life that I have weighed LESS than my driver’s license stated weight. (Yes, I believe that many women lie about their DL weight!!!) Although my transformation has taken longer than yours, I do believe I will get there. I certainly won’t go from 0 to 70.3 in one year or 0 to 140.6 in two years, but I will get there! Thanks for sharing that you started from the same place. It’s truly inspirational!

    Reply
    • Todd for Swim Bike Kid

      July 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Thanks! Don’t give me too much credit. My final race the first year was an Olympic Distance. The following year finish was a 70.3. The next year was a 140.6. This year I’m focusing on the youth club!

      Reply
  • Shannon

    June 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Great story. Why can’t I do a triathlon?

    I’ve been looking for a local one to sign up for and thinking about going for HIM distance next fall. Before I turn 40.

    Great inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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