You Can! - The Journey from ACL Surgery to IMWI

author : TriDDS
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Where does one begin? In a moment that changed my life? Or, with the little child who thrived with competition? I was that boy who organized leagues, kept statistics, held drafts (even for two-man teams). We even had a strike, thanks to my brother. Sports ruled my world, and any sport would do. As I grew up, I tried every sport imaginable. Track proved I was too slow and not very strong. Baseball proved I could not catch. Soccer? Not fast enough. Football? I was too skinny and dad told me I would hurt myself. Then it happened – basketball. I found a love. Every day I would play in the driveway, dribble down the street, and play pick up games. Basketball was perfect, and God had another gift—after being average height for so long, God stretched me out. In high school, I grew ten inches. Now at 6’8, I fit my passion perfectly. I finally made my high school team and went on to college basketball at St. Norbert in Green Bay, WI.

After college, I joined every league possible and coached teams every season. I could not get enough. Then lightning struck. In December 1998, my first big injury happened—the right ACL. It popped and hurt physically for ten seconds, but mentally for several months. But, being an overly determined individual, I told myself, “I’ll be back, I can do it.” Day and night I rehabilitated back into basketball shape, and at three months, unbeknown to my doctor, I stepped on a floor again. At five months, I was full throttle into games. It was, and still is, unbelievable how fast I recovered. I played hard, even harder than I ever did before. I understood the gift I was given and gave the proverbial 110%, until lightning struck again.

Eighteen months ago, the day after my birthday, Oct 2nd, I tore my left ACL and meniscus during a basketball game. Basketball, my passion since I was seven years old, had been pulled out from under me again. I understood this would not be the same speedy recovery, I am not as young and this is more serious. I realized this sport could not be my release anymore. I was going a bit stir crazy.

The recovery began with walking and, eventually, stationary biking. After months of twenty minutes twice a day on a bike, I was allowed to include some jogging. But I still needed to find a new outlet, a new passion, a sport to challenge and fill my competitive drive. My wife had participated in triathlons during 2005, so she encouraged me to try training for the 2006 season. At first, I thought it would be something to pass the time. Thus, I added swimming in February. Who would have known the first and hardest 400 yard swim workout eventually grew into a love for open water swimming (read the article An OWS Moment: The Best Swim I Have Ever Had, written by me for Beginner Triathlete website). Eventually, outdoor cycling became a time to release my thoughts and set new goals. A new fire was raging.

I had an incredible race schedule for my first year, with five sprint triathlons (not including two indoor triathlons). My consistent training and dedication has been and is very rewarding. I feel I have accomplished something every time out. Since that tri bug bit me at my first race, this sport has filled the hole torn into me over one year ago. It has kept me driven and focused. I have become a good swimmer and cyclist. I am driven to be better, especially on the bike. As for running, I just have accepted the fact that I will never be a great runner—the knees do not have it. The camaraderie among triathletes is phenomenal. It has provided a wonderful, healthy lifestyle. Now that the 2007 season has begun, I still desire more.

One year ago, my initial goal was to complete an Olympic distance before I was 35 years old. Those plans have changed dramatically. My 2007 race schedule plans include five races of all distances. At the end of last season, many inspirational stories and the support of family and friends had me aiming for Ironman Wisconsin 2008, before my 35th birthday. I was driven, so I discovered slots through the IM 70.3 series. On October 31st, 2006, I registered for the IMCA 70.3 in Oceanside. for March 31st, 2007. I have recently completed that race. What a great experience! I truly am hooked. On top of finishing in California, I earned that slot into IMWI, for September 9th, 2007. My preparation for IMMOO has begun.

I never would have thought two years ago that my basketball life would be gone. If you would have told me that I would want to train over ten hours a week for a race that can last up to 17 hours, I would have laughed. But somehow, my ACL injury has refocused my outlook on life. Life, as well as triathlon, requires work to achieve, whether it is to be competitive or just finishing the distance. You cannot just show up and do well. My goals are being achieved.

In every race, I am not the fastest. I am not the sleekest. I am not the most technical. But in the end, my dreams will let me say - I AM AN IRONMAN!! 

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date: June 11, 2007

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TriDDS

Swimming, Biking, and finishing (poor knees don't run so well) also golfing, volleyball, windsurfing, basketball (except the knees dont work so well), and most of all TIME WITH MY LOVING WIFE AND SONs.

Author

avatarTriDDS

Swimming, Biking, and finishing (poor knees don't run so well) also golfing, volleyball, windsurfing, basketball (except the knees dont work so well), and most of all TIME WITH MY LOVING WIFE AND SONs.

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