It may not be very obvious today, but I was an overweight kid growing up. I was never an “athlete” in school - although I was a pretty good soccer player as a teenager. But I was never in shape, and as a grew older, poor eating choices and bad habits made me ballon to over 250 lbs. Pics below are from around 2004-2005.
In October 2008, at around 250 lbs, I was diagnosed with very high cholesterol (triglycerides were somewhere over 350 mg/dL) and the Dr. told me I had to start taking medication asap, and would continue for the rest of my life… I was 39.
It hit me hard.
I realized I was doing this to myself, and I decided then and there, that I was going to change.
I never filled that prescription. The next day I went on a diet.
After speaking with my long time friend Cadu, I decided to finally sign up for a Sprint Triathlon (he had been bugging me to sign up for a race for years). My first race would be the Lonestar Sprint, on April ’09 in Galveston, TX. I had 6 months to lose some weight, start swimming again (had not swam since high school), bike, and worse of all, run (I couldn’t even run down the street).
These 6 months were incredible. I joined a triathlon club, met some wonderful people, and started to be more and more active. It was fun. It was exciting. It was rewarding.
It is an amazing feeling to accomplish things you never thought possible just a short time ago.
April came and I was ready… I had lost almost 60 lbs, was ready to take on the new challenge of a Sprint Triathlon, and most of all, was excited to be sharing the experience with incredible friends.
That race was amazing, so much fun. After crossing the finish line, and laying around, resting on the ground trying to catch my breath, my wife asked me “Are you done with all this crazy stuff?” to which I replied “Are you crazy, I need to find out when the next race is and sign up!” I was hooked… If she only knew how much :)
At the end, out of a group of 100 Male First Timers, I ended up 3rd overall - I never even imagined anything like that. We were sitting around Moody Gardens with my parents, when I heard my name. I had no idea.
As if I wasn’t already hooked, the next day, Cadu asks me “Did you look at the results?” I didn’t even know to do so. He went on “You were the fastest swim, and fastest bike, and were in first place going into the run… You could have won the race”. (Funny enough, this seems to have become the story of my triathlon life… good swim and bike, slow run).
OMG! I couldn’t believe I was in front. That was crazy. I just wanted to get to the next race and do it again.
That first year, I did 8 Sprint Triathlons. In December, I bought my first Triathlon bike, and never looked back. In my 2nd year, I did my first Olympic, then my first 70.3. In 2011, they announced the first Ironman Texas, and thats where my Ironman journey began.
Crossing the finish line of my first Ironman was amazing. Emotions were so high… it was an accomplishment that I never in my life even thought possible. Since then, Ironman became and addiction. I have done 2/year pretty much ever since.
But Kona… Kona was always a dream. A far away dream. When I started, Ironman had a lottery, and even though I applied every year, I was never chosen, and thought this dream may never come. Then one day, it changed, and it became a wait list. After my 12th race, Ironman Brasil 2017, I signed up for the Legacy program, and waited… and the email finally came last year! It was happening. 2019 Ironman World Championships. I was ecstatic.
And now it was here. After all these years. All the hard work. All the long training days, many alone. All the highs and lows of training, racing… it was finally here.
Looking back at this 10+ year journey, the very best thing about it is all the amazing friends that I have met, the incredible adventures that it has taken us, and the pure joy in knowing that Triathlon has helped me become a healthier person, and accomplish things that I could never think possible just a few years ago. It literally changed my life!
This is a dream come through for me, which would never have been possible without all those closest to me.
From Jenna putting up with my crazy training schedule and crabbiness during my crazy diets, to my many coaches, teammates, and friends who have shared in this experience one way or another, be it in training, racing, volunteering, sherpa-ing, or just supporting and rooting.
October 12, 2019 was a day of celebration. Celebration of life, health, friends, and family.
To all of you, a huge thank you! You were all with me when I cross that finish line on Ali’i Drive.
I hope that by sharing my story, I am able to inspire others dream big. Set a goal for yourself and go get it.
If I can do it, you can do it.
Anything is Possible !