The 2009 season concluded on October 25th for me by reaching the goal I began the year with, qualifying to become a professional triathlete. I began this journey on November 3rd of 2008 and the first year is officially in the books. The improvements I made were tremendous but they would not have been possible without the help of so many people who helped to inspire me and push me in training through the year. I would like to take the time in this post to thank so many of the wonderful people that supported me this year.
My wife Jen- When I came to you with this crazy idea of giving up coaching to train year round with a dream of becoming a professional triathlete you were so supportive of this decision. You sacrificed so much to allow me to train 20-30 hours a week to make this dream a reality. I know it was not easy and I don't thank you enough. Without you this would not be possible! Thanks! I love you!
Kaminski Pain and Performance Care- Your entire staff was tremendously helpful in keeping me healthy through the year. At the volume I trained the risk of injury runs high. The only time I had to miss training with an injury was when I had the "freak" cyst on my achilles tendon. You helped to keep all the overuse injuries away from me. I always felt better when I left your office than when I arrived. Thanks for believing in me when I came to you with this crazy idea of becoming a professional triathlete.
Healthy Habits- You guys were so helpful in keeping my bike ready to race week in and week out. I appreciate all you did in helping me get the Zipp wheel set, the Shimano Elite Tri shoes, the nutritional products, and the bike case and wheel bag for my trip to Austin. Your shop was always there to help me race faster. Thanks!
Tim Holt and Zipp- It meant a lot to me to have support of the makers of the world's fastest wheels. I love having Zipp on my side. Having the combination of wheels to use in any race conditions was more valuable than I could have imagined it would have been. When the wind was high or the courses were hilly I paired the 808 Zipp front wheel with the 1080 rear wheel and I won all 4 races I competed in with that combination. When the weather was nice and the course was flat I was able to race the Zipp 1080 front wheel with the Zipp disc rear wheel for a fast bike split. Thanks!
My Family- My parents and brothers taught me the value of hard work at a young age. The work ethic you taught me has helped me to fear nothing in a workout. This work ethic and discipline has allowed me to train at a high level even when I'm training alone...which was almost every workout. Thanks for all the support and love through this journey.
Todd Ehlert- Todd, you got me involved with the cycling indoor intervals on Tuesdays and then the famous Wilkes Hill once the weather warmed. You were always super supportive of what I was doing. I can't express to you how much it meant to have someone believing in me when I know most people thought I was crazy. You helped me overcome my fears of riding with the group on Wednesdays when I was afraid to do a drafting workout. Those workouts helped me to greatly improving my cycling in the middle of the season. I look forward to many more workouts with you. You've been a great friend.
Stephan Marsh- Stephan, I can tell you I would not be on this journey had I never met you and started training with you a little over a year ago. I was in such bad shape when I met you that I was considering not even competing last summer. You were the best training partner I could have hoped for and I can't wait to have you around more often so we can continue making each other better. You were never afraid of whatever swim, bike, or run workout I came up with. Your support through this year was greatly appreciated whether it was a phone call before the race or coming to watch the race at Hy-Vee. Thanks!
Coach Olsen- I learned so much about believing in my abilities throughout my time running for you and coaching with you. You helped me to create an attitude where I believe that nothing is impossible! You taught me that the most important thing is the journey itself...more important than the professional status and the awards won. When I told you about the journey I was embarking on last year you reaffirmed to me it was the right decision to make when I was had my doubts as to whether or not I was making the right decision. Thanks for teaching me to DREAM BIG and to always believe in my abilities. This journey has been worth every second!
Paul Eure- Thanks for letting me swim with the high school team in the winter during the season and during the summer camps. Training with a group in the pool has helped me to improve a lot in the discipline I need the most work.
Dave Terronez- One of the biggest reasons I was able to have so much success in the 1/2 Ironman distance this year was getting my long runs done week in and week out. I always knew I could count on you to show up to help me get these runs done whether it was 10 degrees and snowing or 50 and raining. I would not have been able to finish the 1/2 Ironman in Austin with a 1:17:00 half marathon had you not always made time to run with me.
Jared Dammann- Your enthusiasm for triathlons is contagious! Your help with me in the swim pool and on the training sessions we were able to do together was very good for me. Thanks for all the well wishes before races and the phone calls afterwards. You have a very bright future in this sport!
Jeff Bradley- You taught me so much about riding in our workouts. I knew nothing about bike intervals before meeting you and I enjoyed getting my butt kicked up Wilkes Hill and getting dropped in the Wednesday night group rides because I know those made me stronger both mentally and physically.
Scott Johannsen- Thanks for getting me ready to swim "hard and fast" at the Longhorn 1/2 Ironman! You helped me to believe that I can swim really hard and still be fine to bike and run afterwards. The Stingrays Club gave me a great group to train with and the workouts were extremely tough. I know they will be very important in helping me become a better swimmer so I can compete at the professional level.
Ron Standley- Ron was my wife's coach at Augustana and I am thankful that he was willing to coach me through some extremely tough indoor track workouts last winter. Those workouts helped to prepare me for the summer by toughening me up mentally and physically. Thanks for always making the time to meet me at Augustana and coming up with very challenging workouts.
Randy Bill- You probably had no idea how much you would inspire me when we were watching the Hy-Vee Triathlon on television after the Bix in 08'. You may not remember the conversation we had but it is what got the ball rolling for this entire dream. You challenged me to devote myself to this sport to see if I could compete on the same level as the professionals. Watching you compete at an elite level in marathons has inspired me to try to do the same in triathlons. Your 2:18 marathon is coming!
Team Tri-Fit- Watching so many of you improve and reach your fitness goals this year has inspired me to continue dreaming big! I have been amazed at the growth of the club this year and the success that so many of you have had in reaching your own goals. I'm excited about the future of the club as we move forward into our second year.
Laurel Darren- Your pre-race massages were awesome! I felt great racing after each massage and I cannot thank you and the staff at John Taylor spa enough. The conversations we had about dreaming big and your Ironman endeavors were extremely motivating to me. Thanks!
Readers- Whether you realize it or not, knowing that people are reading this blog has inspired me more than you can imagine. When I was tired and didn't know if I could get my final workouts in I thought about having to post the blog entry on Sunday night. It inspired me to get the work done so I did not have to write about a week of missed goals. My only hope is that I have been able to inspire some of you as much as you have inspired me. I hope you'll continue to follow the journey as I move forward into year 2. Your comments and well wishes mean so much to me. Thanks!
I'm sure I left out so many deserving people and I apologize for that. I have had a great deal of support this year and the success I had is shared with you all. Thanks for always following and believing in me. Next week I'll be laying out my goals for 2010. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!