The Second Finish Line

Last week, more than six months after I completed Ironman St. George, I crossed the finish line a second time.

My family and I visited Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks to dedicate one of the two Nintendo Fun Centers we fundraised leading up to my third Ironman.  We chose Los Robles (along with Simi Valley Adventist Hospital) because my grandfather, grandmother and mom have all stayed there over the years. Unfortunately, my grandfather contracted the deadly MRSA virus following his heart surgery and was never able to shake it.  We spent many days and nights at Los Robles and became friendly with several nurses and doctors in various parts of the hospital.  Dedicating the Fun Center at Los Robles marked some closure for my parents, sister and I from grieving for my grandpa and some resentment we -- OK, I -- may have felt for having him taken from us unnecessarily.

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Ironman Games: St. George Recap Part 3

The good news with an Ironman marathon, when the race is going well, is knowing you can walk the damn thing and still finish before midnight.

That's what I thought as I walked toward the T2 changing tent from the bike dismount after my 112-mile ride.  I couldn't pick my legs up enough to run, still trying to process the day's events to that point.  The idea of running 26.2 miles in that moment seemed not just ridiculous, but cruel. It was 82 degrees with no cloud cover, which meant with the asphalt heat rising it would feel closer to 87.

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The Ironman Games: IM St. George Recap Part 2

Wind is nature's snake.  It's unpredictable, can lash out and strike at any moment, wreak incredible damage, poison body and mind, then meekly slither away like a faint breeze.

If that's the case, the wind on the first loop of the Ironman St. George bike course from Sandy Hollow Reservoir to and through Gunlock was a black mamba.  Merciless.  Sinister. 

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The Ironman Games: Part I from IM St. George

Be careful what you wish for.

That thought first crossed my mind midway through the first loop on the Ironman St. George bike course, right after sand blasts smacked my face from 30-40 mph wind gusts.  After the wind blew me literally from one side of the road to the other.  After the myriad leg-biting rolling hills yet before any of the three "big" climbs near the tiny towns of Gunlock and Veyo.

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Just Another Adrenaline Junky

The bike is dropped at the reservoir.  The run bag is at T2.  The items on my three-day pre-race checklist have been checked.

Now, I wait.

I wait knowing that in 24 hours, I'll still be on the bike for up to another 30 minutes or so.  I wait knowing that in several hours after that, this whole thing will be over for several months.  No more races on my calendar until September.  Possibly no more Ironmans (unless WTC comes through with an inaugural event in Tahoe or San Luis Obispo) until I qualify by lottery for Kona one day.  70.3 events?  Sure!  I'm down with that.  Full Ironmans...we'll see.

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Finally Here in St. George

Before I get started, I hope you've had a chance to read my latest Lava Magazine Online column, "Race for a Reason."  It just came out yesterday so it's still relatively hot off the digital press.

Back to the blog at hand!

I drove 6.25 hours to my third Ironman today and was strangely calm.  I almost got nervous because of how calm I actually felt.  Where were the butterflies?  The nervous energy?  The excitement?!  You'd think it would have hit me after driving through the Arizona gorges that precede the Utah border on I-15, with their ominous towering vertical faces staring down in intimidating fashion, but it didn't.

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My 18 Hours in St. George

I participated in a different type of endurance event this weekend.  The first leg involved a 6.25 hour drive in traffic to St. George, Utah.  After a slow 8-hour sleep T1, I rode 94 miles of the St. George Ironman bike course Saturday morning.  I picked up the pace in T2 with a 45 minute lunch at the Pasta Factory in Ancestor Square and staggered into the third leg, the drive to Las Vegas and a bachelor party evening for my future brother-in-law, Craig.  Then I drove home yesterday through a rain storm and snow flurries. All told, I drove around 700 miles, biked nearly 100, spent nearly ... well, a lot ... and learned a number of invaluable lessons for Ironman St. George.  Below are my Top 5 Ironman St. George Bike Loop Lessons.

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Racing for Starlight

I'm announcing something special tomorrow to all my friends and family but wanted you to know first.  I'm so excited I just couldn't wait one more day or even one more hour to share.

When I signed up for Ironman St. George a week or so ago, I realized that I had an opportunity to do something special.  Not just for myself, but for others too.  See, all these miles add up, but for what?  So I can be proud of myself?  So that I could prove something to myself?  Maybe at first, but it's not good enough anymore.

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