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Longest race of my life: ten weeks to Ironman

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Ten weeks from this Sunday I will be crossing the finish line of my first long distance swim, middle distance bike ride, and my second half marathon. Well, not exactly my first of these distances but the first time completing them consecutively in a race. In the most unexpected way, I have taken on the challenge to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Superfrog triathlon.

To understand my journey to the Ironman, I need to take you back to how it all started. You see, while in technical training school, my old roommate, Airman 1st Class Luke J. Milano, 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, and I embarked on an athletic rivalry. A Physical Training test in January 2016, would be where the dueling line in the sand was drawn. A strict runner, timing in at 8:20 during his mile and a half run, Milano failed to get a perfect score due to his inability to achieve the necessary amount of pushups. My run time may not have been as fast as his, but achieving what he could not, took him over the competitive edge. Coming in second to me, he doubted and laughed at the thought of me being able to compete in a high endurance cardio event. I accepted the challenge and upped the ante. Not only did I sign up for the 2017 Ironman, I told him I would win one of the 30 qualifying slots for the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship at Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

 Signing up for the competition in February, I am now here, with 10 weeks left to prepare, 10 weeks left to push myself to limits unknown and get my mind and body mentally and physically strong to cross the finish line of a race consisting of a 1.2-mile open-water swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Am I ready?

Training has been strenuous. Long distance, endurance training has challenged my mind more than my body. This has been my greatest challenge but I WILL NOT LET IT DEFEAT ME!

Qualifying for the world championships in 2018, might be a little of a stretch for my first triathlon, but I am training my hardest to finish under five hours. Pushing myself to the limits in preparation for this race, has also given me the confidence and motivation to push myself in other aspects of life. It has been rewarding to observe not only my physical development, but my personal and professional development as well.

There you have it folks, my road to the final 10 weeks. I intend to write about this journey each week until my race and invite you to come along. I could use some running partners, so if you see me running around the base, feel free to join. It would be great to make new friends.

 

 

Editor's note: This is an on-going 10 week series. You can visit www.vandenberg.af.mil and the 30th Space Wing Facebook page every Friday for a new feature.