280 to 70.3 – My journey to the Half Ironman.

Around the end of the summer of 2018 I decided I was going to do an Ironman 70.3. It was in my mind to be a triathlete for a long time even while I was over 280 lbs, but this time I signed up for it. I was committed, had been training for a few years already and had dropped around 80 lbs. I was excited.

I got my first bike and a trainer and was setup for a nice winter training routine. In Vermont the winters are long and dark. I am thankful for the decision to run the Ironman 70.3 because without it I am not sure where I would have ended up. A few months into winter the dark seclusion started getting to me. I started to hit hard bouts of depression. It was hard to get up and go into work.

It wasn’t just the winter. Work was a huge stress. I was working towards an unrealistic deadline set by a manager that didn’t ask our opinions and didn’t seem to care much about them. The stress and darkness started taking their toll.

I had a complete mental breakdown. My depression and anxiety were hitting me hard. I had to take a few days off of work. I called in sick and checked out for a few days to recover. When I felt I was able to breath again I started trying to dip into work again, but found my accounts were disabled and no longer had access. I was locked out because I took a few sick days.

In contrast to this my good friend had just had a heart attack and was in the hospital. He was given time to recover and able to work from home for a few weeks or as long as it took for him to feel good enough to come back to work. He went to see a specialist and was back working after about a month, working remotely while he was recovering.

This was a pretty deep emotional blow. I handed in my resignation and started trying to recover. I was able to focus on my training. The long runs and bike rides were emotionally healing. Soon, I was able to function again.

I remember heading out one afternoon, it was May 15th. I was feeling really good. I headed up and over a fabulous climb and was entering the city when a car pulled out in front of me. I slammed into the back of the car. The next thing I remember was sitting on the side of the road, then walking to gather my things in the road. The police came and asked me one question “How fast were you going?” I answered I was not sure as I was on a bike but probably around 18-20 mph. I found a large gash on my left wrist where it had gone through a window and my left shoulder was dislocated.

I only had two months till the Ironman. We were going to move to Italy. I was in a wreck. I had to call it off. Two big emotional blows right after another. I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.

We flew across the ocean and setup near Bergamo, Italia. I started running pretty heavily and felt really good. I had run a 2:10 half marathon and felt good about that. I flew back and brought my bike back. Training was wonderful. Our family was working and happy. It wasn’t complete bliss, in fact lots of hard times, but we were happy and I felt myself able to recover completely.

I was preparing for another Ironman 70.3. Feeling good, and ready to start swimming in the lakes. The weather was starting to warm up and life was good. Then the coronavirus came 😷. We were secluded. I couldn’t get out and all races started getting postponed, then canceled. Another time that I wasn’t able to get to my goal.

So, starting today, I am triing agian.

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