A Blog About Achieving Excellence. Work, Family, Fitness, and Finance.

About Me

But Really, About Me.  

I am a father. I am a husband. I am an Army Veteran, I am a 6 time (Working on number 7) Ironman/Long Course triathlon finisher. I am an off the charts Introvert (ISTJ). I have spent a career working for the Department of Defense both in and out of uniform.  While in uniform I was an Army Officer.  Tanks and Armored Vehicles were my specialty.

I currently hold a number of professional certifications in Program and Project Management. I have extensive experience leading small and large teams.  I’m good at leading, following, or working on solo projects. A career of managing risks, establishing organizational goals, and executing it all.

On Fitness

I am a lifelong runner. I’ve run for fun, run for work, and run for training for as long as I can remember.
Seven years ago I dove into the sport of Triathlon. I enjoy the training more than the racing. Triathlon has been one of the best decisions I ever made. It brought me back into focus and challenged me in so many new and fun ways. It gave me a new spark to life that I was looking for. I am not someone who can just go back and forth to work and then come home to watch TV. That is never enough for me.

I have run numerous Half Marathons with a personal best of 1:34 (h:mm).

I have completed 4 Full Distance Ironman races (140.6 Miles of swim bike run) and 2 Half Ironman races (70.3)

My personal best Ironman time is 10:57  which included a run time of 3:54. Hitting a sub-4 hour Ironman run was the culmination of a 4-year goal.  Best run of my life!

Crossing the Finish Line at Ironman Maryland after going 3:54 on the run. A 4 Year Goal!

On Finance

I have been tracking my financial numbers since I was 6 when I had a stack of singles in a box with a count listed on the top of the box. Every time I got some new money I would cross off the old number and write down the new number. I am a lifelong saver, although it hasn’t always been easy. Even though I do have big number goals that I track on a fancy spreadsheet, what I enjoy mostly about finance is the peace it brings to me and my family. A life in balance.

On Family

Happily married with one kid and a dog. We have such a great family. What I like most about them is they put up with me.

Life Balance

I cherish this most of all. I am the happiest when things are in balance. When any one thing (including fun) starts to dominate, I start wishing for more balance. I love efficiency as I think it contributes to the balance – saving time for the ‘other’ things you can be doing

Seeing My Daughter After Crossing the Line of Ironman Number 3.

A Quick Story

Back in 2012 I was training for Ironman Florida. It was my 2nd Long Course Triathlon and I had high hopes. I had done nearly all of my swim training as Open Water Swims. I think I swam in a pool 3 times the entire season. I was very comfortable in the open water and really comfortable in my wet suit. I wanted a strong swim and had even done mental exercises of seeing myself running up on the beach looking strong.

As I headed to the beach you could hear the waves crashing. Thank you, Hurricane Sandy!! It was still pretty dark out so I couldn’t see the water yet but knew it wasn’t calm. I, however, was feeling pretty calm and just continued to stand there sipping on my Gatorade. I took a Power Gel at 6:30 am, put on my wet suit and headed down to the beach. It was clear that the water had not settled down as I had hoped. The pro-gun went off, which then really helped give some scale to what we were in for. Looked like little people swimming through the land of big swells. With about a minute until the gun went off it seemed like people started walking into the water. By the time the gun went off at 7:00 am, I was thigh high in the water, right of the buoy line, maybe 10 rows back.

Gun goes off and it was like everyone turned to the guy next to them and punched them in the face. It was total chaos. The waves were pushing us around; people were swimming all over me. This was NOT swimming. I had to remind myself to put my face in the water. I was hoping this would settle down when we made the turn, but it didn’t. It actually seemed to get worse as we swam further away from the shore.

You couldn’t really see the buoys between the swells so people were constantly cutting you off because they didn’t know which way straight was. People literally swimming across your path. My goggles also kept filling up with water which really started to burn my eye. Flipped on my back numerous times to dump the water out. When we got to the turn everyone picked their heads up and seemed to freeze. Someone finally yelled out, “keep swimming!” It was crazy.

As I was swimming back on the first loop, my stomach started to feel weird. I then realized that I was fighting motion sickness. I then became aware of each and every swell that passed through me. Finally got my feet back on solid ground and that quickly settled me down. I looked at my watch and it said 7:33 am. Wow, how could that be, because it seemed like I had barely made one decent stroke the entire first lap.

I walked for a bit and then started swimming as soon as I could for the second lap. I still had some hope that things would open up so I could actually start swimming but no luck. The second loop was just as bad. I was kicked and punched numerous times at the start of the second lap and could taste blood in my mouth. I was counting the buoys wishing for the next one to come faster. Finally made the left turn and realized that “it” was going to happen.

I was going to get sick. I started side stroking and was amazed at how strong the current was because I was still moving pretty fast. Out of nowhere a female athlete two rows over and in front of me stopped and yelled, “are you okay?” I have no idea how she spotted me. I responded by puking for the first time. She then yelled for a kayak to come over. A kayak was quickly next to me and I grabbed on. The conversation went something like this;

Kayaker: “are you ok?”
Me: “Bwaaaa (Puking sound), I’ll be ok.”
Kayaker: “Just hang on as long as you need to. Is this your first Ironman?”
Me: “Bwaaa, no this is my second.”
Kayaker: “Which one did you do before?”
Me: “Bwaaa, Lake Placid 2011.”
Kayaker: “I did Lake Placid that year also.”
Me: “Bwaaa, I thought you looked familiar.”

I’m not even exaggerating. That’s how the conversation went. I then realized the Kayaker was talking to someone on a jet ski who was asking if I could hold on to the raft he had on the back. There was another athlete who was being pulled out. I quickly said that I wasn’t quitting but just needed a minute. The Kayaker then said, “no, he’s puking up Red and purple stuff, not sea water.” My thought to this was, “Yes, I wasn’t puking up my breakfast but only the gel and Gatorade I had that morning on the beach.”

In that moment hanging onto the Kayak, I was pretty pissed. Why did the swim start have to be such a cluster of people? Why couldn’t I just swim to my ability instead of getting beat up so much? When would I stop puking? Would I be able to finish this race? I had put way too much work getting to this Ironman to quit now. I was going to at least get myself to the beach.

Finally, I stopped throwing up and found the Red buoy that I was aiming for and said thanks to the Kayaker. I then let go and started to swim to the red buoy. I was totally exhausted at this point. Not from the swimming effort but from throwing up. The good news is that I never really got out of breath or felt like my heart was beating hard at any point. I was in very good swimming shape, thank God.

I finally made it back to the beach tired and wondering if I could continue. When my feet hit the ground it then triggered another round of dry heaving on the beach. It also triggered a large calf cramp that took a few moments to pass. So instead of running on the beach looking strong, I found myself in knee high water puking my guts out getting knocked around by the waves. Of course there seemed like 500 people standing on the beach watching me do all this. I finally pulled it together and got off the beach feeling like total crap.

I would go on to finish Ironman Florida in just over 12 hours. I felt terrible for most of the 112 mile bike ride but would manage to run a 4:04 (h:m) Ironman run. Not my best time but one of my best performances at a long course triathlon event. I didn’t quit when things went south.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “A Blog About Achieving Excellence. Work, Family, Fitness, and Finance.

  1. I love reading background of personal finance bloggers. They are always so interesting. I have to admit that I am nowhere close to being in good enough shape to do an Ironman. I am hoping to do a Spartan race one of these days but that’s about as far as I think I could do at this point 🙂 Anyway thanks for sharing!!!

  2. I am so happy that you are putting your excellent writing skills to good use! As well as your considerable creativity…your blog looks great and is well focused and interesting on many different levels. I guess you’ll delete this comment, cause I’m your Mother.

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