Sunday, April 29, 2012


Today is special day for me.  We are about a week away from the big one, Ironman St. George. I've completed my training program and feel great!  I know I've done all I could have done and that gives me peace of mind for the race.

The seed to race a full Ironman was planted in 2010 while I was training for my first half Ironman.  I bought an Ironman hat and I figured if I was going to wear that around I better do a full Ironman to make it official.  Really the thought of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 then running 26.2 was a very daunting to say the least.  At the time, I hadn't even done all of that in a weeks worth of training let alone all in the same day. 

After racing the Boise half, the thought of doing a full Ironman became even more foreign.  I could hardly even walk let alone go do the entire race all over again!  Plus both of my knees were killing me.  The day after the race I figured I had done some permanent damage to them because they had a hurt that was much more than just sore.  It was the kind of hurt that I felt in my shoulder before I found I had to have surgery during my first year of playing baseball in college.  I went to a physical therapist for a month and it didn't get better.  He recommended I go to a surgeon.  I did, the surgeon had me do an MRI (this was getting to be an expensive sport :) )  and he visited with me about the results.  He said that I had incredibly tight IT Bands and that was the only thing wrong.  I asked him if I really needed an IT Band and if he could just take them out and donate them to charity.  We both laughed and then he told me I might want to take up a different sport.  That was in July of 2010.  I stopped training for the summer and was close to selling my bike and other gear.  I decided to give it a break for a while instead and see what happened after a long break.

I didn't think much about Ironman again until the early spring of 2011.  I had the bug to start training again but I was very worried about the IT Bands acting up again.  They felt normal since I had just taken a 8 month break, but it was in the back of my mind.  I started training again, this time taking every precaution possible to take care of them and things went well.  I had gained a bunch of weight and it started to come off.  I continued to ease into running, biking and swimming and ended up having a great half Ironman race that year in Boise.  The thought of racing a full Ironman crept back into my mind, but still, 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and then run a marathon was still a very foreign concept.

I did a few olympics the rest of the summer and before I knew it, fall was here.  A few friends and I started kicking around the idea of racing Ironman St. George in May, but I just wasn't 100% ready to commit.  It was about this time that I found Reece's Rainbow and learned of the situation of so many special little children with Down syndrome living in orphanages scattered across the globe.  I knew I needed to do something to help them.  This wasn't just a desire to help, but more so an actual prompting that I needed to act and act now.  I knew I was supposed to become involved, I just wasn't sure how.


Over the following weeks the images of these children continued to flood my mind.  Andrea and I would stay up at night and read their profiles and look at their pictures fighting back the tears.  That's when it hit me.  I knew I needed to do a full Ironman and that I needed to do it to create awareness and raise funding for my precious little orphans.  Without hesitating, I committed to race Ironman St. George on May 5, 2012.  I would race for orphans with Down syndrome!

No longer did the distance of a full Ironman seem daunting.  No longer did I question if I could put in the time and energy needed to do this.  There was no fear and I had no doubt that I could make this happen.  You see, I was not racing for Brady Murray.  I wasn't racing so I could tell my buddies that I was "an Ironman", I was racing for orphans with Down syndrome!!  Not only would I race an Ironman for these kids but I'd run through a wall for these kids!

So the training began.  I had a good base from the training I had done throughout the year already for the smaller races, but it was time to take it up a notch.  This is what my typical training week has looked like since January:

Monday        5:00am-6:30        Cycling Intervals (30 miles)
                    7:00am - 7:30am  Hard Run   (5 miles)
                    Noon - 1:00pm    Swim  (1 mile)
Tuesday        5:00am-6:30am   Long Course Swim (2 miles)
                    7:00am-8:00am   Running Intervals (7.5 miles)
Wednesday   5:30am-7:30am   Cycling (40 miles)
Thursday      5:00am-6:30am   Long Course Swim (2 miles)
                    7:00am-8:00am   Recovery Run (7 miles)
Friday           5:30am-8:00am   Long Run (13-20 miles)
                    Noon - 12:30pm  Swim Drills
Saturday       5:00am -11:00am Long Ride (100-112 miles)
Sunday          Rest

To make this schedule work I had to learn to go to bed earlier than I was used to.  I would be in bed by 9:30pm each night and I admit, there were a handful of nights that I was in bed by 8:30pm because I was dragging! 

I travel a fair amount with my work added another dimension to the training.  I have trained at Grol's Gym in Preston, Idaho; Sports Academy in Logan, Utah; Clearfield Rec Center in Clearfield, Utah and Gold's Gym in Orem, Utah and of course, the YMCA locations here in Boise.  I always wonder what the person checking me in at my hotel would think when I'd come in with what appeared to be a weeks worth of luggage, a bike, bike trainer and my trusty foam roller and only stay for one night.

Another aspect I've learned is so important is the nutrition you take while you are training as well as throughout the day.  I am ALWAYS hungry.  This is very hard.  I will eat all my lunch at work and feel like I could eat 3 times that much food.  The evening is the worst.

During my training rides and runs I keep very close count of the amount of fluid I bring in to my body as well as the amount of calories.  On average I will eat/drink around 400 calories per hour in a long ride and drink around 260-320 ounces of fluid during a 6 hour ride. (That's 8-10 32 ounce Gatorades!)  Lots of bathroom breaks!  Here's a picture of my nutrition for one of my long rides.

During the last 5 months I've been humbled by the experiences I've had.  From seeing Eli find his family, to so many friends coming forward to help, donate and spread the word for these kids.  To get to make a video with Nash and receive comments from around the world from individuals showing their suppot to name a few.  I remember the initial promptings in my mind back in November to do this and I am reminded that this is nothing of my doing, but truly is the doing of a loving God watching over his precious little ones.  I have no doubt that if we have sincere desires to serve him, he will put us to work!!

Andrea has been so supportive of me all the way.  The reality is she really has made this whole thing possible because of her selflessness and willingness to let me do what needs to be done to prepare for this race.  I've made it a point to do almost all of my training before my children wake up so I can have my evenings with them.  We love reading stories each night and my daughter and I are almost done reading the book "Ramona Quimby and her Father".  It's been a lot of fun!

I am also very thankful for Harold at TriTown and his wise ways.  He's my coach but I also consider him my friend.  It will be awesome to have him and his calming personality there in St. George next week.    

So here we go.  Time to strap on my helmet and clip into the pedals.  It's Ironman time!  I promise to write a full report once I'm back home and have had a moment to unpack.  You can follow my progress of the race live by going to the Ironman St. George website and using their athlete tracker program.  The race starts May 5th at 7:00am.  I hope to done by around 7pm or so that evening.  It's going to be a long day, but in the end, it's an absolute honor to get to do this for these precious children!!


Here's my stats starting in January of 2011

Yards SWAM        295,100
Miles BIKED         4,884
Miles RAN            1,192
Total HOURS        549

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I mentioned in my last post that we had some exciting news to be announced this week. First, a little background.

As you may already know, I am training for Ironman St. George on May 5th (only 16 more days!!!). My purpose in doing so is to raise awareness and funding for orphans with Down syndrome, and in particular Maggie.

About a month ago I received an email from Ironman announcing a competition they put together called Kona Inspired. They have given anyone the opportunity to submit a 90 second video into this competition telling their story of how Ironman has helped them believe that "Anything is Possible". Winners will be given the opportunity to race in the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October and most importantly, they will get to tell their story on NBC's nationally televised broadcast of the Ironman World Championship!

When I first learned about this opportunity I knew that this truly could be an opportunity to tell the world about these children and most importantly, create the awareness that is needed to truly make a difference for them!!

So Nash and I made a video! Before I show it to you, I want to explain how this competition works and HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOO! Between now and May 31st, all videos can be viewed. Based on total VIEWS and total VOTES, 15 will be chosen to compete against each other in the finals in June. The top 2 will go to Kona! So, back to how you can help. Your view and vote can be counted once each day. However, it is perfectly OK to vote more than once a day if you view the video from a different computer, laptop or phone and then vote from that device  To vote, just look in the lower left hand corner of the screen while watching the video.. We have plenty of days left between now and May 31st! You're vote is much appreciated, each and every day :) !!

I'll keep you posted on how things are going. Here's the link to our video. Enjoy!!!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Step Closer To Home UPDATES!!

I wanted to take a few moments and give some updates on some of the children we have been focusing on over the last few months.

Our favorite little boy Eli is doing great.  His family has completed their home study and are making great progress towards their adoption.  We received an awesome card in the mail from Eli's family thanking us for the things that have been done on Eli's behalf.  I'm especially excited because it looks like my work next year will take me to the same city where they live!  I can't wait to get to meet little Eli in person.  That really will be a special moment to know that we played a small part in Eli finding his forever family!

With so much great fundraising that took place in the beginning of 2012 I thought for sure Megan would have a family by now.  Last time I checked, she has the most funds in her adoption account by far.  Unfortunately there have been some challenges in the region where she lives currently and adoptions are at a stand still for the time being.  This has been challenging for everyone involved because time is of the essence with Megan.  She has already been transferred to an institution and each day that passes there is a day that could have been spent with her family and receiving the nurturing that she so desperately deserves and needs.  Our prayers continue for Megan.  I realize that many things are out of our control, but I am optimistic that in the end it will all work out as it should. 

There is some great progress taking place here.  Their home study is done and all of their paperwork has been submitted and is in the process of being translated so it can be sent to Victoria's country.  They expect to hear back sometime in early May.  We will be anxiously waiting to hear how everything goes.

By way of update from the company that I work for and our efforts towards helping with fundraising for the Bonner family.  Through March we have paid 358 life cases.  Everyone is focused on doing their part and I'm confident that come December 31st, we'll have hit our team goal for the Bonner family.

And last, but definitely not least, our little princess Maggie.  This has been very fun to educational working on behalf of Maggie.  As you may know, we are focusing primarily on fundraising through our RODS Racing team and through the races that we are doing.  Our goal is to get to $10,000 and we are currently at $6208.  I've been humbled by the generosity of so many for donating towards Maggie's account.  A special thanks to each of you!

Where Maggie has already been transferred to an institution, the information available is very limited.  From the last update, she is still available for adoption and is still as beautiful as ever.  As is the situation with many of the orphans, we will rely solely on our faith and prayer to hopefully make this happen for Maggie.  Please remember these children by name!

I expect that our website will be launched later this week,  It's looking great by the way!  Our focus will be to continue to utilize the triathlon, cycling and running community to spread the word and raise funding for these children.  Our aspirations include organizing races as well as designing racing jersey's that individuals will be proud to wear during their races.  Stay tuned this week for some exciting news about a project Nash and I have been working on and the goal to race in the Ironman World Championship in Kona this year!  

Total orphans with a family committed          1
Total orphans with funding raised                 4
Total Donations Raised since Nov 2011        $50,225

Have a great week!!!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome (Oceanside 70.3)

We had a great week in California as a family.  After a few days at Disneyland we made our way to Oceanside in preparation for the first race of the season for RODS Racing.  The last 4 months have been filled with some very serious training.  This was to be my 3rd half Ironman and my first time racing the Oceanside course and my first time racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome.

The weather was overcast with a misty feel to it.  Tempature was around 55 degrees with an expected high of 63 for the day, perfect for racing.  Race morning started at 3:30AM for me.  Not necessarily because I needed to get up at that time, but the anticipation to get to race was ever present.  I remember feeling this way when I was a young kid on Christmas day as I waited for my Mom and Dad to wake up. 

I rode my bike down to T1 from where we were staying.  The transition area was brightly lit.  Athletes were filing in pretty heavily when I got there.  I immediately started to setup and the pre race excitement continued to grow.  It would soon be time to put the months of training to the test.


My wave was number 21 out of 22.  There was almost 3,000 athletes that would start before me.  Total wait time was 1 hour and 5 minutes from the time the pros started to when we got in the water.  It was hard to see athletes start, finish and be on the bike course before I even finished putting my wetsuit on.

I passed the time by listening to some songs that I typically trained to.  Songs such as How Far We've Come by Matchbox 20, This Town by O.A.R, Watching You by Rodney Atkins, and of course Hearts on Fire by John Cafferty.  I also took a moment to think of why I was doing what I was doing.  I thought of Eli, Megan and Maggie, our little orphans across the world that we've been trying to help.  I knew that no matter how hard the race got, I would not give up because these kids depended on me.  The anticipation was building.

Finally, it's go time.  As I entered the water, I was reminded that indeed this was salt water and it was chilly, around 57 degrees.  We swam out to the start line and before I knew it, the gun went off.  We were off and the race had started.

I felt I had improved greatly in the offseason as a swimmer, but for whatever reason, things were not clicking that morning.  There was a lot of contact with slower swimmers from other waves and as we got out to the turn around we were dealing with heavy ocean swells.  I felt comfortable the entire time, but this was definitely a different element.  Swimming back to the bay I knew I wasn't going to have a good time, but I knew my best disciplines were still to come.

I came out of the water and sure enough, I didn't have a good swim.  38 minutes flat.  I didn't allow it to get in my head and I committed right then and there that I would put the swim behind me and only focus on the rest of the race. 

The bike transition was smooth and before I knew it I was on the course.  My legs felt great and being at the very back of the pack because of my wave start time, I started to pass a lot of cyclists.  This always builds confidence and this went on the entire bike course. 

Conditions were perfect throughout the bike course, but it was very congested with other cyclists.  This made it difficult to pass in many of the tight spots as well as the no pass zones on a few of the downhills.  I had a lot of fun on the course and felt great throughout the entire 56 miles.  Most of the bike course was on the military base Camp Pendleton which was very cool.  Lot's of great scenery and some fun and challenging climbs.

Coming back into town I encountered a slight headwind, but still felt good.  Total bike time was 2 hours 38 minutes.  Average speed was 21.3 and my average wattage was 256.  Not my best bike time, but I'll take it!

Now on to the run.  This was the wildcard for me.  I've had more focus on the run this offseason than any other discipline and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  My best run time prior to Oceanside was 1 hour 47 minutes (8:15 pace).   

Jumping off the bike is always a moment of truth.  You never know how the legs are going to feel.  Luckily my legs still felt great and the conditions were still perfect, overcast and cool.  Off to the run course I went.  I focused on taking it fairly easy in the first few miles but noticed my average was great.  I continued to feel good so I continued to pick up the pace.  By 7 miles in I knew I had a good thing going.  It was the fastest I'd ever ran in a race and still had a lot of gas in the tank.  I focused on keeping hydrated and my nutrition was dialed in with the power gels I was eating every 3 or 4 miles. 

Throughout the run I kept seeing my family. Seeing my beautiful wife and 3 adorable kids is fuel in and of itself.  Race day can be a long day not just for the athletes but also for their families.  Between naps, temper tantrums and messy faces, my family always seem to be cheering louder than anybody out there.  Andrea is always so supportive of me and the time that's required for training. She never complains when I'm turning lights on at 4:25am when I can't find my shoes or swim bag. I love it when Brynlee, Nash and Ridge poke their heads in the room while I'm biking or running on the treadmill and tell me good morning. We all get a kick out of high fiving and cheering Dad on each morning.

At mile 8 I decided to turn it on.  I kept my pace below the 7:00/mile average and kept picking it up each mile.  My last mile was at a 6:32 pace.  I had to dig deep those last few miles, but things were clicking very well.  The months of training were paying off.  Final run time was 1 hour 32 minutes (7:02 average)

Down the stretch I didn't have any idea what my overall time was going to be.  I set a goal for the year to break 5 hours.  I knew it might be close so I just kept pushing harder and harder.  When the final time was posted I saw I came in at 4 hours 53 minutes!  It was exciting and certainly has fueled the fire to keep pushing and keep getting better.  I came in 18th out of 249 athletes in my age group.  In my mind, the seed has been planted that I can get better, much better. 

Overall it was a great experience.  The city of Oceanside were great hosts and we were lucky to get to have some great friends to spend the week with.  I'm guessing we may end up doing this family trip again someday!  I consider my first race for Orphans with Down Syndrome a success.  It was also a great warm up for the big one coming up on May 5th.  We'll see you all in St George!