1) Give us some background information. Where are you from? Tell us about your family. Tell us about your profession/work. Share your hobbies/passions/interests.
I’m a Hoosier farm boy who lives in Tennessee and doesn’t know how to farm (I’m the first oldest Lord son since before the Revolutionary War not to be a farmer). Back when I was in the music business at the William Morris agency, I booked this smart, beautiful southern California girl to do concerts around the country, and ended up lucking into marrying her. I also have two little girls, one who is a very bold leader, and the other who is thoughtful little scientist, so it’s like being a dad to Kirk and Spock in pigtails. For a living currently, I’m still a kind of talent agent, booking celebrities, best-selling authors, and the like to speak for corporate events. I also get to do interviews with celebs from time to time, which means I’ve gotten to interview folks like Chrissie Wellington, Dave Scott and Mark Allen. I really enjoy working with non profits, especially Christian non profits that serve widows and orphans internationally, so I started a group that builds up non profit leaders about 4 years ago. We now get to help leaders whose work helps people in need in about 20 countries (nonboardboard.org).
2) What is one fun fact about you?
I already said the thing about being the first oldest son not to be a farmer. Shouldn’t that count as a fun fact? This questionnaire is not paying attention very well.
3) How did you get interested in triathlons? When did you start training for triathlons? Which race was your first triathlon and where was it?
My triathlon interest started with three things at once. 1) I saw my baby daughter loved the water. Since I figured she always would, I decided I needed to learn how to swim. 2) I heard the surprisingly not-famous story of then Texas QB Colt McCoy swimming 400 yards in the dark to save a man having heart attack on the other side of a lake, and I wanted to be able to do the same thing if the need arose (weird, but we all have our goals). 3) I kept getting either hit in the head or nearly hit in the playing softball (including a broken jaw), and since my wife said it’s much cooler for her to say her husband does triathlons instead of saying he plays church league softball, I decided to make the switch.
Date wise, I signed up for my first triathlon right after my second daughter was born (I’d signed up for my first half marathon the day after I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child.) My first triathlon was the GJCC by Team Magic in 2007. I didn’t own a bike, so I borrowed one from a guy on my softball team. I’d grown up in super-flat Indiana, and had no concept of changing gears- so I didn’t change gears at all. Not smart. On my one training ride, I was going up the big hill on Liberty Pike with it in a big gear, and I felt like I was dying. A friend of mine who is a doctor was driving by. He asked me if I was OK. I gasped “yes.” He then so, “No, I’m asking as a doctor, are you OK? Because you don’t look OK.” I ended up making several mistakes (like signing up for a triathlon that takes place within a few weeks of your baby being born), but I finished and was hooked.
4) Which of the following is your strongest and weakest discipline and why: swimming, biking or running?
Swimming is my weakest, and I’m still slow, but I cut down my Olympic distance swim time from 1:05 to 35 (thanks to Excel), so I’m making progress. Run is probably my best, but it’s only a little bit better than cycling in relation to age group standing.
5) What obstacles, if any, have you overcome in order to train for and race in triathlons?
In shortening another long story, I’ve had three major gut surgeries, including one in 2007. At one point just before my intestine exploded (literally), I couldn’t run the 0.7 mile loop at a local park. My body doesn’t absorb B12 or iron very well, and I sweat salt like crazy, so I’m always battling being low on those things which are all pretty important for endurance. Growing up, I was a wide receiver, sprinter, base-stealer, and weight lifter, so every athletic advantage of being a fast twitch guy is a detriment now. But, I like a challenge.
6) What is your most memorable/favorite race and why?
My first Rev3 Knoxville Olympic is still my favorite triathlon. I loved the big event feel, I loved how family friendly it was, and I really liked the cold water wetsuit. Maybe it’s my football background, but I love the mass start where everyone is beating each other up. It’s also the first time my wife really bought into me doing triathlons, in part because of how my girls really got into it. They still ask if we’re going back to the race where they get to run down the shoot and get chocolate milk at the end. The Miami Marathon/Half Marathon is my favorite running race.
7) What races are you planning for/training for in 2014?
Rev3 Knoxville and the Chicago ITU are definite. I’m really hoping to break 3 hours for the first time for an Olympic. I’ll probably do Music City and Nashvegas (River Bluff), too, just for fun.
8) What’s one piece of equipment/gear that you can’t live without?
Balega socks. I know that’s heresy living in Swiftwick country, but as my feet don’t sweat, the main component I look for in socks is ankle sweat stopping ability. Plus, they last forever. I just now wore through a hole in my first pair of Balega’s that I got in 2007. It’s nice putting in 100s of miles and just buying four or five pairs of socks a decade. We figured out I’ve actually purchased fewer socks than shoes since I’ve started triathlon.
9) How long have you been a BEAT member? Why did you join BEAT and what is your favorite thing about the club?
Somehow I heard about Richard Kenmuir’s track sessions, maybe from the Nashville Striders page. Richard’s track sessions were so good and so personalized, I felt like I should pay for them. Instead, I was told a nice way to say thank you would be to sign up for this new BEAT club, so I did. When I went to my first meeting, I liked how nice everyone was, how no one cared I wasn’t elite, how we finished the meeting with a prayer, and how people were so encouraging.
10) If you could give one piece of advice to a beginner triathlete, what would it be?
Don’t worry about how you look in spandex, because you’re not going to look like you did in high school- if you finish a triathlon, you’re awesome, period. I actually used to have a six pack as a football player, and now I’ve got a little belly, and like Garcon, ‘every last inch of me’s covered with hair’ (did I mention I have two little girls?), and I have to be OK with that. I know so many people whose pride in what they think they should look like trumps the pride and joy they’d get from getting out there and getting fit. Most of the things I’ve helped introduce to BEAT have been geared toward helping people find pride outside of superficial appearance and helping everyone take pride in themselves, from the BEAT tattoos (how many of you out there willingly flexed your biceps for cameras before that?), to the MILE CLUB shirts, to just showing it’s OK to have ‘slow’ times.