Now that Ironman is over, I wanted to reflect for a minute on the chain of events that got me to the starting line in the first place because they were really quite remarkable. After I did my first triathlon in the spring of 2013 I decided I needed a trisuit. I went to Fit-2-Run in Tampa and one of the trainers there came over to talk to me. It turned out she trained with a bunch of other people and invited me to reach out to her and join them. I took her info and then didn’t contact her for a couple months.
After a couple months went by and I was kicking my tri-training into gear for my 2nd triathlon, I reached out to Kat who got me in touch with Pete. This at least got me on the mailing list but it was still another month or so before I was able to go join them. I met them for my first group ride in years and discovered a few things. They were all really nice and they were all much faster than me. I hung with them on the way out to SR50 but about 5 miles into the return trip (this was a 52 mile ride and about double what I normally did) I got dropped. But they kept making sure I was still alive by coming back and pulling me a ways. Fortunately they didn’t think I was too lame after this and invited me to join them for a run the next day at Clearwater Beach. Seriously? What were these crazy people doing driving all around the bay area to bike and run. I would have to get up at like 4am to make it there! And I was only planning on an 8mile run. But they also were doing an open water swim and that sounded like something I needed.
I forgot this part until Holly & Teresa reminded me recently. The next day at Clearwater Beach, Pete was running late and I found them instead. They told me to just run with them and Pete would find us later. The only problem was they were running 13 miles and I only wanted to run 8. This is when they discovered I’m pretty much unable to say no and within about 30 seconds they had me going the full 13 with them. Now I had just done, for me, a tough bike ride the day before and now I had to run a half marathon. I remember the run actually going ok though there were several walking breaks.
All through this I had no idea that many of them were training for the Augusta 70.3 race and Ironman Florida 2013. A few weeks later after a bike ride with my new training partners, Holly and Teresa were talking in the parking lot. They were doing a challenge in a few weeks of the Top Gun triathlon in the morning and the Crystal River twilight triathlon the same night. I should come they said. I told them that was crazy but maybe I’d do Top Gun with them. That night I signed up for both. Yes it was a starting to become a sickness.
The plan to get to Crystal River was for Hugo, Teresa and I to drive up together. I forget what Holly was doing after Top Gun but she couldn’t make the night race. At some point during the drive, Teresa looked at me rather matter-of-factly and says “I hear you’re doing Ironman Florida with Hugo”. Now at that point I was considering a IM in my future but maybe 2 or 3 years out. I had, afterall, only done 3 triathlons at that point. I laughed and said no but Teresa and Hugo kept insisting how much fun it would be. Once we got to the race, Amanda found me and let me know she was so excited to hear I’d be doing Ironman. Who were these crazy people!
So of course that night after the race I went home and started researching IMFL. After looking over the course maps and reading some race reports from previous years, I sent Hugo a message that week and told him I was in. The rest is history but just reflecting on the crazy people who got me interested in this thing in the first place brings me a smile. The best part was that literally the day before Top Gun I had gone on my first date with Melanie. She had no idea what she was getting into 😉