Hanging out in trash bags before the 2009 Chicago Marathon to help keep warm from the 33 degree near freezing starting line temp.
I would not be writing this blog if it weren't for my friend Kurt (pictured on the right). Five or so years ago he prevented any polite way for me to say I didn't think I could do a half Ironman by deftly removing any excuse I could come up with for saying no:
Rich, "I don't have a bike."
Kurt, "No problem you can ride my old Fuji."
Rich, "It's too far isn't it?"
Kurt, "I did it! What...are you a wimp?"
Rich, "I don't know about the swim."
Kurt, "It's fun, you'll like it. Didn't you used to have your WSI?"
So Kurt's Sam I am tenacity finally won me over, although I really did want to do it. I was just intimidated by the task if I remember correctly. Everyone should have a Kurt to show them what to do for a first time triathlon (or a second or a third). I remember seeing him wearing one of those long pointy helmets for the bike. To me it looked like moon-man fashion through my runner's eyes. I still had my number pinned to my chest, road race style, because I didn't know what a race belt was. That first 70.3 I also did the bike leg in toe clips and running shoes too. I counted only two other people with toe clips that year @ Steelhead. My feet were burning up! I soon learned that there was a reason behind every seemingly strange triathlon innovation. The next year of course I had my race belt and Speedplay pedals and cleats. Kurt and I ran cross country and track together in college and he is still faster than me. In fact, after doing Steelhead in 2009, he went on to qualify for Boston two months later that year in the Chicago Marathon! I have yet to qualify for Boston. Besides being a great athlete, anyone who knows Kurt knows how sarcastic and combative he can be. I thought maybe that was changing a bit as we both approach 50. A few days before Christmas this year I found a package in the mail from Kurt. He had sent me his old aero helmet. Later, on the phone, he told me not to get too excited, "I'm only giving it to you so I don't have to stand around so long waiting for you after I'm done." There we go, that's the Kurt I know. Now I can be a moon-man too.