Philippians 4:13 is a verse that I hold near and remind myself of often. I had been knocked down after my injury in 2010. I had questioned my own strength and what I was capable of doing. For a while was honestly unsure of what my strength was. After trying to do things on my own it was evident that I needed to find my strength in someone beyond myself. Christ.
The Beginning Of My Triathlon Journey
I am very goal-driven and love to push my physical and mental abilities. In 2019, for my 30th birthday, I decided in January that I was going to treat myself to a birthday gift of completing a full Ironman. The only one I could find that was in my birthday month and somewhat close was Lake Placid, New York.
At this time I was only competing in marathons on a handcycle. I signed up for the Ironman seven months before the event. I had never been on a pushrim racing wheelchair and although I could tread water with my children I had never swum since losing my legs.
If you’re not familiar with Ironman, it’s an event where you swim 2.4 miles followed directly by a 112-mile bike and finished with a 26.2-mile run.
I had some work cut out for me right off the bat. I needed to order a custom pushrim racing wheelchair that would take months to come in, to be able to compete in the run portion of the event. Additionally, I needed to get into a pool and learn how to swim.
This was the beginning of my triathlon lifestyle. I ran a couple of marathons in my pushrim and began to sign up for some sprint triathlons after my Ironman was completed. I liked the idea of being good at three sports rather than just one. It challenged me to excel in multiple areas of my fitness.
Staying Focused in 2020
Although 2020 made it difficult to get into races, I was able to complete 5 triathlons since December 2020, leading up to my Nationals Championship win this July 2021, at Long Beach California.
Para-Athletes Need a Village
I am quickly learning that competing in paratriathlon's in the wheelchair division is a handful, to say the least. By the time my family and I walk through an airport or load the truck up for travel, we look like we are single-handedly moving our house. Talk about taking a village to care for one another. There is no way that I could do this without help. My wife is my right-hand woman. Carrying the equipment and keeping me in line with nutrition and routine. This means that where I go, she goes. Which makes an already expensive trip doubled.
Now that I have a break between races, that is longer than two weeks, I am working hard on creating and sending out sponsorship papers to build a strong backing. This is my “right now” goal. I will not be able to do this on my own, the financial help from supporters and sponsors provides me with more opportunities to accomplish some of my bigger long-term goals.
This coming year (2022) we are planning on competing in a couple of international races as well as some domestic races. I need to earn some podium finishes in these races if I want to make the Paratriathlon Developmental Team and eventually the goal of representing the United States at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.
My hope is that you will follow my journey and I can in some way, inspire you along the way. I hope you will see, with the right motivation, you too will see that all things are possible when your strength comes from the right place.