Charleston Sprint Tri (5/22/22)

(Photo courtesy of Paul)

As you may remember, Mother Nature was NOT kind to me the last time I visited the Carolinas to race. Apparently she didn’t get the memo that just because I was from the Chicago area didn’t mean that she needed to provide Chicago-style weather (32 degrees) for the race start… And the hits [almost] kept on coming for this trip…

Before heading down to Charleston for the race Sunday, Paul helped me to do the USAT Para Combine. Two weeks out from the crash, my knee was maybe 80% at best. And that missing 20% was the crucial hinging part. If I had to guess, I was only able to get about a 25-30 degree lift instead of the normal 90. Even still, the first ~550 of the 800 runs was OK. As we came to the back half of the 2nd lap, a gentleman joined us and ran in the rest with us. It was extremely helpful to have that distraction, especially during the end 20-40 yards when I didn’t think I could finish without falling down. All in all, it was on par with where I was prior to the Pandemic (11:40 / mi).

Having finished the run, we headed to the pool for the 300yd swim. As with the run, the hinging motion reared its head. This time, it caused real problems getting into and out of the pool. But as I kept warming up, I got a little more flexibility each time. We started the actual test as soon as I could get a full extension/push off the wall, and the times were a little better than when I was pre-Pandemic (2:24/100).

One other piece that we addressed before heading down was the new swim tether. It had been about a year of struggles since most of the similar tether had gotten lost in the Gulf of Mexico. The key feature of the new tether is that I’m not having to either shorten the stroke OR hit the connection.

As I mentioned, Mother Nature did not play nicely in April. With all of the rain on the way down to Charleston (including a couple of points where it was like a faucet had been turned on full blast), I was concerned that we’d be racing in the rain. Thankfully, we got a clear window Sunday morning to race in.

On race morning, packet pickup and set up went extremely smoothly. The only hiccup was that the bottom part of the tether kept slipping. Paul helped to triage it, and we got ready to race.

While the tether did come partially off a couple of times during the swim due to these issues, it felt to be a much smoother swim. I did find an unintended fix after the 2nd time, and it stayed in place after that.

T1 took a little longer, but we made it out onto the bike with a strong mount. As this was my next race after the crash in TX, there were a lot of nerves early on. Paul helped with that, and we did take the corners a lot slower than normal. As a comparison, I know that we were taking corners at 22+ last year in Cypress. If we took any at greater than 15 in Charleston, I’d be surprised. But it was all about being safe. I know that I’ll get back to being comfortable again in the near future. And even with the slower corners, it was still a strong (~19mph) bike.

Coming off the bike, we had a solid T2 and then headed out onto the run. Given the knee issues, Paul had come up with a plan of a 60s/90s-120s run/walk pattern. Even though the overall time was about 8 minutes slower than where I would like to be, going this route ensured that we finished with a respectable time. I truly believe that if we had tried for a normal run that mile 1 would have been about 13, and then I would have been in so much pain that we would have had to walk the rest.

As I can never make out the course maps, I rely on my guides. So I had no idea that we would loop through the area near the transition between loops 1 and 2. That energy, and all of the people cheering for us, helped so much.

Post-race, Nick front the Charleston County Parks took the time to interview us. I really appreciate everything that Allison had done pre-race and race morning to help things go smoothly, and we were glad to talk with him.

While there were a lot of positives from this race, there were also several things I need to focus on improving. One of those is going back to wearing gloves on the bike. About 5 years ago, I went away from those for Sprint races. However, I believe it’s once again worth the extra 30 seconds between T1 and T2 to have that comfort in the bike.

Thanks to Paul for guiding and all of his help throughout the weekend. And thanks to Para Guide for all of their help and support! If you’d like to support what they’re doing, please visit

Challenge Accepted! (3/22/22)

I am extremely grateful to Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) for their continued support of my athletic endeavors!  Their support since 2017 has enabled me to get to necessary practices and continue to push forward!

With things coming back to a sense of ‘normalcy’ for the 2022 season, I look forward to getting back into the city and to a multitude of practices that were put on hiatus during 2020 and 2021.

If you’d like to donate to CAF, please visit

Shamrock Shuffle 8K (3/20/22)

Typically, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K has been my first outdoors race of the year.  This year, it was my second, and unfortunately there were just as many struggles on the 2nd race of the season as there were on the 1st.

In the past, the AWD wave has been in front of the Elites.  While that created a little bit of anxiety for me (trying to get through the tunnel before they caught us), it also provided a really good pacing measure.  In that I knew that if I made it to the turn after the tunnel exit as they caught up to us, I was at the right pace.  However, this year we were towards the back of wave 1, which threw me off a little bit.  I remember my guide telling me that I was running something along the lines of 8:30 min miles early on.

While that would be great for a short run, those early miles came back to bite me in the ass later on.  Things were OK through about mile 2, but by 2.5 I was in utter pain.  So much so that it was painful to even walk. 

As I won’t throw in the towel unless it’s something really severe, like a broken bone, I struggled on.  My guide (Kelsey) helped tremendously during those painful miles.  And even as much pain as I was in, I still found a way to sprint in through the chute. 

After the race, I found that my running sock on the more painful foot had had holes in it.  While I don’t know for sure, my suspicion is that the uneven foot (two toes going through the sock, 3 toes in) created a strain that caught up with me.

ET Indoor Tri (2/20/22)

(Photo courtesy of my parents – thanks to them for the guiding help!)

After the struggles in January, I re-started the swim coaching with Coach Joe.  Things had also gotten a little better on the other two aspects during training.  So going into this race of the series, I expected better outcomes.

That did occur with both the swim and the bike, but not the run.  In the swim, it would have gone even better (as I was told I was literally 2 strokes out from another length), but had lost time asking how much was left.  While treadmills have always created issues for me, the run was even harder this time.  I just couldn’t keep the heart rate and breathing down/at constant levels.  So I had to keep going through a loop of running for a few minutes and then walking to get things back to par before starting the cycle again.

While I had hoped for a larger improvement from Jan to Feb, it was still a good step forward.  I hope to build on these successes when the outdoor season starts for me in April.

Super Shuffle 5K (2/13/22)

(Photo courtesy of John – thanks for guiding me!)

As I’ve mentioned in the past, this journey began from a simple premise of ‘that looks like fun’ without really thinking through all the pieces.  While my only regret is not trying it earlier, that thinking can sometimes lead to ‘interesting’ events…

During late 2020 and early 2021, I was constantly searching Running in the USA for anything to do in-person.  While these events were EXTREMELY scarce, I did come across a 5K for the morning of ‘the big game’.  Because conditions kept shifting, it didn’t work to do in 2021, but it was on my list for 2022.

Winter running isn’t the easiest thing for me, as my nostrils freeze at about 20-25 degrees.  That’s not a big deal when you’re just out for a run by yourself, but it is when you’re doing a race.  It had also been snowing a few days prior, so ice spots (and some ‘fun’ hills) were also a factor.

For safety reasons / nostril freezing, there were some spots where we had to walk.  However, it was still a decent run, and a really fun race.  I look forward to doing it again in 2023 — hopefully it’ll be a little warmer! 

ET Indoor Tri (1/23/22)

(Photo courtesy of Lee)

As I had mentioned last year, things did not go as planned.  What was supposed to have been a 1-2 week stint on IR after Cypress ballooned because of work and personal issues.  But I tried looking past all of that and towards the 2022 season.

For me, the season started with the ET Indoor Tri.  These are always fun, great events put on by Coach Joe and his team.

While I had hoped for better, the challenges from 2021 showed up in the first race of 2022.  My swim was shorter than normal by about 40m, my bike was shorter by about 1 mile, and my run was shorter by about a 1/4 mile. 

Even though the results weren’t what I had hoped for, it was still good to get back to some sense of ‘normalcy’.  I’m grateful to Coach Joe for continuing to bring back the series even while there were still some COVID concerns.  I’m also grateful to Lee for all of his guiding help as always. 

And the race will also serve as a ‘baseline’ for 2022.  I know that there are going to be challenges during the 2022 season as I work to get back into a rhythm after losing so much in 2020 and 2021. I’m planning for and looking forward to a successful 2022 season!

Kiwami Racing Team (2021)

In 2015, when I was getting ready to do the ‘one and done’ Tri, I wanted to ensure that Oswego Cyclery got the proper visibility. Art had allowed us to use the tandem for practice and for the race. So to show my gratitude, I sent a plain Zoot kit to Kiwami to get properly printed. Andre did an amazing job in a quick amount of time. And even though chlorine stetched it to a point where it was no longer wearable, I loved it so much I couldn’t get rid of it.

After that point, I had also tried several times to get one of the custom Team RWB kits from the secondary market. I knew the quality of them and wanted one, I just couldn’t justify the $200+ for a kit that I’d use once a year (for Arnold Indoor).

So when I was offered an opportunity to apply for the Kiwami Racing Team, it was an easy choice to have it be another edge piece of the 2022 Tri puzzle. I am honored and excited to be part of the North American team for 2022!

Mind / Over Matter Alphas (2021)

Prior to the Indy Sprint Tri in June, I had an opprtunity to see the Mind / Matter community from the outside. Our Sherpa happened to spot a few Alphas while we were walking to the port-a-potties. Even though she hadn’t ever met them in person, it was still an immediate connection.

So as I started to look at the Tri puzzle for 2022, M/M Alphas was one of the edge pieces that I wanted as part of it. I am honored and excited to be part of Mind / Matter Alphas for 2022!

On IR (Naperville Sprint) – 8/1/21

While I look forward to racing Naperville each year, I was unfortunately on IR this year. It took until Wednesday before I could fully walk without pain, and it was Saturday before I was back to light training. It just wasn’t going to be feasible — or smart — to try and race.

I was able to defer to 2022, and look forward to being out there in early August!