2015 - What a trip!

January 25, 2015
3M Half-Marathon
3M Half
Feb 15, 2015
Austin Half-Marathon
Feb 28, 2015
Little Rock Half-Marathon
March 28, 2015
Rosedale Ride
April 12, 2015
Capitol 10K
April 26, 2015
Ironman Texas 70.3
June 21, 2015
Pflugerville Tri
July 26, 2015
Aggieland Tri
August 30, 2015
Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Be A Virtual Team Member!

Custom Made Medal
I am having a medal created for the virtual "racers" of Ironman 70.3 Worlds! As a member of the Cardiac Ironman Team, you will receive your medal shortly after I complete the Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Austria, August 2015.
Your Own Ironman T-Shirt
For each virtual "racer" we will have a modified Ironman t-shirt, identifying you as a team member and supporter.
Cost?
A mere $75.
Do YOU have a story you would like to share?
Once we begin forming the Virtual team, we will add a TEAM page to this website. If you would like to share your story, to inspire others, we would be happy to present it here.

ReFuel. Future sponsor?

Chocolate Milk

My 2015 Journey

If you want to first read about how we got to this point, read My Story.

To see the 2014 journey, click here.

To see the 2016 journey, click here.

I participated in the Aggieland Tri for the first time. This race is a pool swim, followed by a ride and run through the Texas A&M campus. I was stoked to be able to do a race on my favorite college campus, and was surprised to find out later that I had the fastest bike split in my age group! I give credit to Coach Derick and the Wahoo Kickr power cycling classes. There were also a number of Team Red, White and Blue athletes racing as well, so I got to meet a number of folks from different chapters. Fun times!

The plan in September 2014 was to race Ironman Tahoe 70.3, but literally in the 5 minutes before the start, Ironman cancelled the race. There was a huge forest fire burning, and up until the night before the race, all the smoke had stayed to the south of Lake Tahoe and we were to race on the north end. Overnight, the winds had shifted and the race venue was so thick with the smoke it was unsafe to put athletes and volunteers on the course. WTC offered up a number of replacement races at a greatly reduced entry fee, and if you made the decision within 2 weeks, your name was tossed into the bucket for the 30 slots for the 70.3 World Championships. Lo and behold, this guy got one of the slots! So...roll forward...

October 1, 2015

What an adventure! Being blessed with the opportunity to be part of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Austria was such an unbelievable experience!

Things didn't start out too well...my flight from Austin to Washington-Dulles was delayed arriving because there was apparently a storm over D.C., so we circled for about 45 minutes, and then when we were cleared for D.C., we were told we didn't have enough fuel, so we diverted to Nashville. THEN, we were told after fueling we had an issue with the steering mechanism, so that cost us some more time on the ground. Finally, we took off, only to arrive in D.C. and sit on the tarmac (I think because there was no gate available) and again we were stopped when there was no gate crew to take our plane up to the ramp; then once we finally got off the plane, the gate attendant refused to call the other gate to hold the plane (it was in another terminal)...all these things conspired to get me to my gate for the Munich flight...just in time to watch the plane backing away from the gate!
I was beyond being bent out of shape...needless to say, United and I had a difference of opinion as to the reason I had to spend a day in D.C. - ended up in a hotel from about 1:00am til 3:00pm. But on the good side, I had the opportunity to meet one of our military who in a short 3 weeks was exiting service, so gave him a brief synopsis of Team RWB in his hometown. I had a couple of passes to the United Club so we had a beer and good conversation.
FINALLY...on the plane to Munich! We had a great flight crew, who I think knew a number of us were pretty torqued about the night before, so they made an extra effort on our part. Arrived in Munich early Wednesday morning, through customs and onto the car rental. Met a number of athletes coming in for the races (yeah, the giveaway was all the bike cases sitting there) and one of the editors of Triathlete Magazine, who was racing Saturday. I had waffled between taking the train and renting a car, and committed to the car only a few days before the trip, but was I glad about that! The drive to Zell Am See was fantastic; the scenery was amazing and the weather was perfect! Stopped a couple of times to admire the view and just really take in the start of the experience. Austria requires a toll tag, so I had to stop on the German side of the border to pick one up (the rental agent was very emphatic about that, saying the penalties were absurdly high) and ran into a couple of other folks headed to the race.
After the drive in, it took me a few minutes to find my hotel, and then a bit more to realize they didn't have air conditioning. A nice cool shower after that drive, and I was off to walk around the little village. Zell Am See is definitely a ski village, with lifts and cable cars cut into the side of the Alps. But the village sits on the edge of a beautiful lake full of very clear water...and cool enough to qualify the race as wetsuit-legal. I wandered down the lake path to the area where transition and the swim would be, to get my bearings, then went up to the Ironman village. Looking through the IM merchandise, I figured with the limited quantities on hand (as always) I had better go ahead and complete my pre-race ritual...I like to buy a cycling kit for the race, with the caveat that I don't wear it if I don't finish the race, which fortunately has happened only once. That done, I headed back to the hotel to put my feet up a bit, then went out and drove the bike course...all I could think was "holy crap, what did I get myself into? Those are some STEEP hills!"
Thursday, Tri Bike Transport was set up by transition, so I walked down with helmet, pedals, wrench and shoes to retrieve my bike. I wanted to get in a couple of hours on the bike, to unwind the legs and make sure all was right with the bike, so once the pedals were on, I carried the bike past the gravel and dirt and climbed into the saddle. I headed out the direction the race would go, and was fortunate to see the tape arrows on the ground, so I knew I could follow the course a bit. The ride takes us through a number of small villages, and the first one was not even three miles into the ride. It was kinda cool to ride past the biergartens and hear folks cheering you on, on a practice ride - one guy even offered up a beer! This was the 4th time the 70.3 was going to be held here, and folks were doubly excited - they were going to see 2 races for the price of one weekend, AND for the first time, the weather was going to cooperate. Onward, I rode out for about 1.5 hours and then turned around, knowing I had not yet ridden the worst of the climb. Fun times were ahead for Sunday! Once back in town, I rode to my hotel (yeah, another climb!) and the lady at the counter handed me a roll of paper towels and a 6-ft long foam pad, to stand my bike on in the room. Shower, and then to packet pickup. Pretty cool - they even give you a beach towel with the logo stuff printed on it.That night, the village had a little oompah symphony band playing down by the lake and then a light/laser/water show, which was pretty cool. I will post videos and pics on a separate page here as soon as I can, but they use a 180-degree fan of water as a projection screen, something I had never before seen..
Part of the hotel deal was breakfast every morning and optionally dinner nightly. I had decided to go ahead and add the dinner package, which was pretty cheap - and FIVE course meals! They assign you the same table for the duration, partly so they can better manage your service, and also to manage the billing for the meals. That morning, I was at breakfast, and a couple with two young kiddos came in and were seated at a table just beyond mine. Once mom and dad got up to go to the buffet, the little boy got up, walked over to my table, sat down and just started talking. His older sister (4 and 6) came right behind him and sat next to me. Asking me all sorts of questions, and not really waiting for answers. Dad came around the corner, and after a brief look at their table and recognizing that the two kids were not sitting there, he looked over, saw them at my table, and just rolled his eyes. Mom and dad kept apologizing, but I thought it was pretty funny. These little ones were hilarious, and it kept up all week.
Friday morning, I went down to do a short swim, and get a feel for the water temps. It felt really good to get in and move around. Once I got the water into the wetsuit, it was really comfortable - somebody said it was 68 degrees. All I knew was a) it was cooler than the lake at home, and b) it wasn't freaking 58 like at Ironman Arizona! Later, after dinner, I went over to the Ironman village for the athletes' meeting, to see if there was anything additional to know beyond what was in the athlete guide.
Saturday was pretty much just chilling out. With the "regular" 70.3 going on, travel around town was virtually non-existent. Around 11, I went down for another swim, and cheered on the runners along the running path. I knew I would be doing the same thing Sunday, only later, and would appreciate whatever support we got as well.
Sunday - race day! Because they needed time to clear out the remnants of the race the day before, our race didn't even start until 10:45. Transition opened at 8:30 so we had plenty of time to eat breakfast and make our way down to get our last-minute setup stuff completed, put our nutrition in our bike and run bags, and chill out in the water a bit until the pros started. My wave went at 11:41, and was the first time I have been in a race where we had both men and women in the same wave. And as always, they had younger women in the waves behind me, so I once again was swam into and over by them. Decent swim otherwise, and off to the bike. They had put carpet down for the dirt and gravel coming out of transition so I didn't put my bike shoes on until I got to the mount line... and then the fun starts! After the first village, we start a gradual climb for about 15 miles. Then, we go to 10 to 12 to16 percent grades for the climb, for about 10 miles. As I said earlier - "HOLY CRAP!"
It was a long, slow crawl to the top. And it got hot, and I could feel the heartrate going up, so at one point I pulled my bike over to the opposite shoulder and sat in the shade for a few minutes. I watched a number of folks walking up the hill. I heard later that a woman pro had been put on an IV at the top of the hill, apparently not managing her hydration or nutrition…
But I made it to the top, and what a glorious feeling! I knew I had to stay focused because the descent was steeper and a LOT faster than the climb, even with the switchbacks. On the way down, I noticed a few bikes propped up against the trees – those riders that wrecked on the way down were picked up by a van and their bikes left for the cargo truck to come behind. After all the "fun" on the bike at Ironman Arizona, I naturally worried about the spokes on the rear wheel, and hoping I wouldn’t burn up the brakes. Fortunate on both counts, it felt really nice to get to a reasonably flat portion of the ride. I could feel that climb in the legs, but I also knew that the best thing was to keep the pedals moving, so a little easier gear until I recovered a bit.
The rest of the ride was uneventful, sometimes even solitary – I actually passed a few after the climb. Rolling back into transition, I seriously considered being done with this race – the legs were still screaming a bit, and I was fairly sure the time left on the clock was less than my typical 70.3 run. About the same time, a guy from Illinois rolled up next to me, and we chatted for a bit. When I told him I was toast, he had a straightforward answer – "Dude, you didn’t come all the way over here to quit…AND we still have 3 hours to get the run done!" Then I knew I had to at least make the attempt, so we racked the bikes, ran through transition and we were off for the last 13.1 miles. I knew I was going to do a run/walk from the outset, and I knew it would take a few minutes for the legs to realize we were not on the bike anymore, but once past that, I settled into a decent (for me) pace. I came up on a number of folks struggling through, and talked to a couple of them.
The first little bit of the run is from transition, up the trail alongside the lake, and into the village center. Once there, you grab a wristband to indicate that you are on the first lap, and you head back out to the lake trail and continue up and around the lake. I felt okay at that point so I tried to maintain the forward motion. Once at the top of the loop, you climb a short hill and then descend into a downhill loop to the aid station. I think these were the most animated folks I met all day! Awesome cheering the entire time you are on that loop and high-fives through the aid station. Then, back toward village center and up the hill again to get the second wristband, with a brief stop to empty the rocks from my shoe. Out on the trail again, still trying to maintain momentum, up and around the lake again to the turn-around aid station. I asked a volunteer the time, and once I realized I should make cutoff, I started to relax. I had told Amanda I would probably the last person to finish, and I think I WAS the last official finisher with a posted time. But I didn’t care, it was such an awesome feeling to turn left for the finish rather than right for another loop, and I know I was smiling ear-to-ear going down that skinny chute. The race announcer actually hollered "that is the best jersey I have seen all day! Best dressed award, Patrick!" I started laughing so hard, I nearly tripped. But there it was…the finish line! What a feeling to cross under that banner. And when they put that medal around my neck, it was HEAVY! They handed me a towel and a bottle of water, and one of the volunteers walked with me a bit as they always do, out to the table with the Coke and beer! Hard choice to make at that point :) but I knew the Coke would be better on my stomach. Finisher pic, and into the convention center for the usual post-race plain food and the finisher shirt. I knew I needed to walk back to transition so I could hand my bike back over to Tri Bike Transport for its trip home, but I needed something solid in my stomach first. Once back down to transition, I grabbed my bike, run and day clothes bags and walked over to hand off the bike. Apparently, right before I got there, somebody in line had collapsed with a seizure, but fortunately one of the TBT folks was a nurse, so she worked with him until the ambulance arrived…not a good way to finish off the day.
It was a long, slow walk back up the hill to the hotel, but it had cooled off for a nice walk. I ran into a number of finishers and their families along the way, and some of those folks had been at the finish when I got that best-dressed comment, so they asked the significance of my DILIMS jersey. When you get to the part of the story where you say "and I am a two-time cardiac survivor" you get to watch the jaw drop – that is still pretty funny. Anyway, when I made it up to the hotel, the staff had been nice enough to leave out some light food for the athletes, so I grabbed a couple bites and headed for the shower.
As I walked into my room, through the window I had left open to get the cool air after the sun went down, I could hear my neighbors out on the adjoining porch. I leaned around the wall and asked how his race went. Nathan apparently was the person my tire issues had moved along to, as he had two flats…and still had a great race! We talked a few minutes, then I hit the shower and looked at the FaceBook posts from my daughter and others, and then went for the pillow.
The next morning it was my last breakfast with the kiddos, then pack the car and head to Vienna for a day, then Salzburg a day, and then on to Munich for a day before catching the flight home. Salzburg is one of those places where the old, historic stuff was mostly in a confined part of the city, so I walked from the hotel to the fountain in the square, and was very surprised to see Nathan standing there, and his little people playing around the fountain. I ended up having a beer selfie with Nathan that he sent to his wife at the hotel, and then dinner with my new Ironman family before heading back to the hotel in the rain. Great way to finish off the trip!
Fortunately, the flight home was much better than the flight out. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet a German couple in the airport, and found out he had trained at the NATO flight center at Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls. I also managed to watch 6 movies and still get in a nap!

I guess now it is time to figure out the 2016 schedule… bring it, baby!

July 30, 2015

So - lots going on right now. Getting in the training to go to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Austria the end of August.

This past weekend, I competed - yup, I will actually call this a competition for me, because I was FIRST in my age group on the bike! Granted, it was a small field, but I will take it. This was a fun race, and a first-ever pool swim triathlon for me. But I realized I need to focus on being a participant and not look through the glasses of a Race Director. Suffice it to say, I did learn a lot about what NOT to do...just sayin'.

On Father's Day, I once again participated in the Pflugerville Tri. Swim, bike and run times were not something to brag about, but I met a few folks on the run, and we pushed each other to the finish. Triathlon is not a team sport (unless you are doing a relay) but for me it is rewarding to share the event with folks who may need a little push from the slow fat bald guy.

Got a really good deal on the airline ticket for Austria, after I remembered I had the points with United from all that travel back and forth to Indianapolis. Lodging at the event itself was a little pricey, but I am also planning on a couple of days post-race in Munich, and the Hilton Club came through on that one. My good friends, and former boss, Paul and Sandy wanted to help, so they stepped up to pay for the bike transport - HUGE thanks to them! So, all I have left to do is get the train travel figured out. Needless to say, I am very excited about this trip, since I have not been to Europe since we left Germany in 1966. In addition to the race, I am looking forward to a couple days as a tourist.

Interesting weekend, that one - they will be running a 70.3 on Saturday, on the same course we will be running the Worlds on Sunday. I am thinking about volunteering for that one. It will be fun to once again get into the excitement that surrounds a big race. If you want to see what I am talking about, watch the video below. The video will show a brief picture of what an Ironman race is like...


You can come on this journey to Austria as well, even as a Virtual Participant! But if you don't want to race virtually, perhaps you might want to support our non-profit.

Do It Like It Means Something is a federally registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your contributions, your support of active, healthy living, is FULLY TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. You can see our mission statement, goals and objectives on the website, so I won't be redundant here. What I WILL say is that I hope you take this opportunity to become involved in what we are trying to accomplish. Any amount is appreciated, and you will be provided a receipt for tax purposes. Do It Like It Means Something also sent a team to ride America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe in June, and we were very successful in our fundraising for that event. We are excite about doing so again for 2016.

Hopefully, you will feel as excited as I am about getting people active, motivated and inspired to do something positive in their lives! If so, please consider giving to our cause, and donate by clicking the "DONATE" link at the top of this page. Should you choose to join our team, you can count on regular updates in your email inbox, and possibly some freebies from sponsors as we develop those relationships. I want to thank you now as well, whatever your level of support.

Whether or not you support Do It Like It Means Something, please just think about supporting whatever cause you choose, to promote healthy living, to inspire others to do so... just DO SOMETHING!

So - Here we go, baby! Come on along on this journey!

My 2015 events: