On April 11, 2005 I was diagnosed with an inoperable astrocytoma ogliodendroglioma brain tumor. The day before my diagnosis I completed my first triathlon, The FAU sprint distance triathlon. To say the least, I was in shock.
Rich Nixon had been my coach since the beginning of the year when I told him I wanted to complete a triathlon and loose a few pounds. At 6 foot and 230 lbs, I was not the picture of an endurance athlete. Rich listened to what I had to say and designed a plan specifically for me. When I started my training, I could not swim more than a few laps in the pool. While I could ride 10 miles just running a few houses from my driveway found me completely out of breath and grabbing my calf that was completely in spasm. There was no way I could do this.
Rich gave me a plan and I stuck by it when everything told me to go farther and work harder. He told me to trust him and just follow what he had and he assured me it would get better. He said my body would have to get used to this type of training and my first goal, more than any other, was to not injure myself. I started slow. I wanted o be faster and go longer. Rich was the coach I needed because left to my own devises, I would push myself beyond what my body could do and I would find myself up injured and out of commission like that one yoga class I did in 2003 that left me unable to walk for 6 months.
I am now almost two years post brain tumor diagnosis. I have completed over a dozen races including three Olympic and ½ Ironman distance races (I finished over 1 hour faster than my goal). I now compete in half marathons. I have dropped 60 lbs and I am in the best shape of my life. I am convinced that my tumor has remained stable because of my diet and my training. The triathlon lifestyle puts my life in perspective. As long as I can compete, I prove to myself that I am OK. I have remained completely injury free despite an ACL reconstruction 20 years ago. Everything Rich told me had come true. I would not trust my training to anyone else!
In 2003, a friend and I decided to do a duathlon after watching Ironman Hawaii. Prior to that day, even though I thought I was “in reasonable shape”, I had never run more than 3 miles in one day. I hadn’t done that since college 15 years ago. I had never ridden a road bike and Ithe first time I got in a pool, I swam 25 meters, got to the other side and was too tired to swim back.
After the duathlon I was hooked and wanted to try a triathlon. About a month later I met Rich Nixon at the bike shop.Since I have some chronic injuries I need to be carefull of and didn’t know how to prepare myself for the upcoming season without getting hurt, I thought hiring a coach would be a good idea.
I started on the training program Rich gave me in December. I did my 1st triathlon in April. My 2nd triathlon was The Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman in May and I’ve done a few other sprints and Olympic distance races as well this year. I’ve been improving, I’ve remained injury free and 7 months after my first triathlon, I’m beginning my training for Ironman New Zealand in March.
I have a few other friends who compete and they either use an on line coach or no coach at all. None are getting the results they want. Rich is always available; either on line, on the phone, or in person. My schedule changes all the time due to work and personal commitments and Rich is able to adapt my program so I can still train.
You can’t beat the experience you get from someone who’s done all the races you want to do. He’s also won quite a few of them.
See you at the races…Shayne Macherowski