I’ve absolutely never had so much fun getting my butt whooped before. I got it handed to me this morning at the Patriots Sprint Triathlon in Williamsburg. It was my first time finishing out of the top 3 in a local race since I can remember much less out of the top 10. I got 11th overall and 9th collegiate. But I’m am absolutely stoked. It was Eastern Virginia Medical School Triathlon Club’s first race in the MACTC and I’d say we had a not bad showing for being a new program. Continue reading Patriots sprint triathlon race report
It’s been almost three years since that cold, rainy day in October. I was racing at my best, at least on the good days. I can’t truly explain why I stopped. Likely it was a number of factors. I was graduating college and transitioning into the working world, beginning to realize that at the top levels people were willing to do some dirty things to win, was tired of the grind of training, and I wanted to try something new. I had grown up with triathlon, and needed to stop racing to remember exactly why I started in the first place.
This is my medical school personal statement that I wrote for my application. I wrote about an incident that occurred while I was working the Luray Triathlon last year but didn’t feel comfortable publishing it until now. I’ve since been accepted and will be attending Eastern Virginia Medical School and am thrilled about the future and the beginning of my career in healthcare. So here it is, my medical school personal statement:
For children, health means the ability to play and explore. It means fun at school with friends versus a day at home in bed. Throughout my childhood, this is the definition that health assumed. But with the last breaths of a dying man, health adopted a new reality. Health is life itself; it is the ability to observe and exist on this planet for another day.
I was working a triathlon in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia in late summer. At the swim finish a tall, large man, wearing just a swimsuit and goggles stumbled out of the water and with help he made it up on the beach to sit on the cool sand. Within moments, he laid down, his breathing stopped and his heart along with it. Knowing only basic life support, I stayed out of the way and let the paramedics take over, but standing just a few feet away, seeing color in his skin, the life still in his body, I believed there was still hope. I remembered a story of another triathlete last year who was revived from a similar situation and this memory brought me hope. Continue reading Medical school personal statement
I have always loved the water. I grew up in it. I spent every summer at the beach. I would stay out in the waves for hours, not returning for lunch or even a sip of water. My family would go back to the house and I would stay. And with my last day of work today, I have an opportunity to return to the water.
I used to challenge my friends to contests, who was willing to swim the furthest, the deepest, stressing the moms out beyond imagination. I always won, fearless of the thought of being so far from shore, enticed by the thrill of the diminishing horizon. I would swim as far as I could dive and still reach the bottom in one breath. I would surface with a fistful of sand and swim further out, eventually giving up in the frigid deep water, but still tempted by the horizon. Continue reading Let the adventures begin
Just over a year ago I set my personal record for 800 yards. It was nothing to brag about, but having been known as a chaser throughout my triathlon career, it was nice to finally be able to come out of the water with the leaders. At 9:38, a personal record by over twenty-five seconds, I was absolutely ecstatic. I was thrilled that my swimming was finally taking off after years of flopping around in the water. But at the same time I wanted to know how I made such a giant improvement in a matter of a couple months. I looked back at my training and it looked consistent as ever. My form had adapted only slightly, but that day something felt different. I felt like I was on top of the water; I felt absolutely fatigue-free for the first six hundred yards. My flip turns were smooth and my stoke held strong. But what led to all this if my training and stroke improvement very likely didn’t? I was swimming with intestinal gas, loads of it. Seriously, I think it was because I had to fart. Really. Goddamn. Badly. Continue reading Swimming with intestinal gas
Recently I’ve disappeared from the triathlon scene. I know I’ve kind of disappointed some people. With the college degree in hand and the ability to pick the next step, I know a lot of people hoped I would explore my endurance capabilities. I’ve struggled with inspiration in seeing the worth of such an endeavor. However, the mental inhibition from my curiosity has not been the primary reason for my backing away from the endurance community. My lack of training was entirely involuntary, set in stone by an ankle sprain on New Year’s Day. A foolish question of the party of the night would be mistaken. I was trail running with a couple friends, exploring mountain peaks and bushwhacking through mazes of snowy slopes covered in thorny briers. Wearing MICROspikes which gave my feet a little too much traction, my ankle rolled, tearing two ligaments on an already bum leg.
With an appointment scheduled the next day to find a tiny fracture on my patella, the diagnosis was quick. With an ankle the size of a softball, my leg was booted up and I was on crutches for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks though, something was still not right. Continue reading Triathlon hiatus
I can’t imagine how alone all these people felt when they watched us naively suck up the hero image of Lance Armstrong and they knew the truth. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to know the truth and want to help the sport, to help us. Travis Tygart fought the battle the way he knew he needed to while the entirety of the United States trashed him for being a bully and a fraud and fighting an unfair battle. The list of people whose lives were impacted by Lance Armstrong’s lies is uncountable. From honest individuals defending law suits and their families from his wrath to cancer patients lost in the wake of a false idol, he has bruised nearly all of us.
At first I thought this battle was a bad idea. I felt ignorance was bliss.
For over a third of my life I have competed in short course triathlon. With my first triathlon a Sprint distance race and my third a leap to the Olympic distance, I never considered tackling the challenge of distance racing at such a young age. Ironman and Half-Ironman distance races have never been on the radar for me. In fact, up until three years ago, it was very evident that my performance at the Olympic distance was significantly weaker than at sprints. I was blessed with an abnormally high VO2 max which is simply the volume of oxygen I can absorb in a given time. In fact, it is one of the highest. My lactate threshold on the other hand, was something that needed to be trained. This left me behind in longer races but enabled me to suffer immensely at high speed, something I am still much better at than distance racing. But recently my dreams have teased me toward new goals. Continue reading Sampling long-course racing
This is a post I wrote back in August after a miserable trip up North to race a triathlon. I went to the race for the wrong reasons and that became very apparent during the race. While I was reluctant to post this at the time, I now can reflect with satisfaction, knowing that it was simply another hurdle to overcome.
I remember when I used to pretend I knew the answers to things. It was comfortable. It made me feel like I had place and purpose and helped dissipate the loneliness. I knew the questions needed answers otherwise they would drive me mad. But what I did not understand is that I could have the same result from simply not asking the questions. Continue reading Missing answers
Triathlon, just like distance running, cycling, or swimming is not just one sport. Within triathlon we have subdivisions of distances for example. Just like track has the 100 meter dash up to the 10,000 meter run, triathlon spans from a race lasting around an hour to a race lasting over eight hours. This is essentially equivalent to comparing a 5k to a marathon or comparing the 1500 meter swim to a 10 kilometer swim. These are drastic differences and about as far as any distance sport will span without the exceptions of the ‘ultra’ endurance athletes.
However, just like in road cycling or running, triathlon has different styles of racing. Continue reading Drafting versus non-drafting triathlon