Grand Triathlon – my first ever tri

June 7th, 2014 I am getting ready to tri something totally new for me. My first triathlon is tomorrow morning and I’m feeling like a fish out of water. Packing for a Tri is a bigger deal than a typical road race. Swim goggles, swim cap, socks and shoes, helmet, all three numbers are in their proper place. I’m sure it was amazing to watch, if anybody were watching. I was texting and Facebook messaging buddies for help. I finally got it all packed up and headed to bed.
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I didn’t count on getting much sleep, and I was right. Too excited and nervous all at the same time to sleep. I think I might have gotten an hour that night.

June 8th, 3:50am I decided to get up and start getting around. Quick shower, double check my bag, waffle with peanut butter for breakfast. I had time to go see my Cedar Hill Running Club peeps off on their morning run. Emily and I went to pick up Adam and Angela and off to the lake we went.

We arrived about 5:35 and found our way to the transition area. They checked our helmets for safety, bike number and body marked us. They used a sharpie to write our number on our left arm, left leg and our age on our right leg. Alright, off to find some prime real estate for TA. We set up at the entry side of TA to make the climb out of the water shorter. Basically put everything on my pink and white towel in an order that made sense to me. By this time we had found our buddy James and I’d gotten to meet Kyle in person for the first time. We’ve been fb friends for several years, just never met in person. Kyle has been a great mentor to me.
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So now we are just sort of hanging out. Then the weather starts to turn. Looks like rain clouds and the wind is kicking up. Somebody looked at me and said, you need to get your timing chip. Excuse me, my what? We found the table to pick up our chips that strapped to our ankle. Ok, now we are ready. With about 10 minutes before the transition area closed, I took off my shoes and headed to the pre race meeting. We started the meeting off with a short prayer. Very cool I thought!

With lots of different races happening at the same time, it was sort of confusing as they gave instructions. Bottom line for me, swim around the yellow buoys. Take off after the first wave. Got it! Everything else made perfect sense. I just need to survive the water, I kept telling myself. The waves were getting bigger and I was getting nervous. There were motor boats as well as kayaks in the water, that helped calm my nerves a little. We entered the water before we were to start. The water was 79 degrees so it was nice and warm. When we started, I waited a little bit walking out slowly then hit the swim. I quickly realized that I couldn’t see a thing. I also realized the waves were covering me. I think I was swimming really fast to start with cause Adam said I swam right over the top of him. I panicked. Dang it. I panicked big time. I rolled to my back and kicked and floated along. I would roll over and take about 4 strokes then to my back. Around the first buoy wasn’t horrible. Between the bouys was straight into the wind and surf. Holy cow this isn’t good. I’m in panic mode, but I kept moving. Getting blown off course was easy to do. I made it to the second bouy and reached for a kayak to rest. Shortly after I got there, a 10 year old boy and his Dad joined me. I told the boy he was doing a great job and off I went again. I’d drank about half the lake and was sinking fast, atleast it felt like it. I called to another kayak for help and he came right over. I hung on for a bit and told the guy I didn’t think I could finish. Yes, I really said those words outloud. I was in a panic! He looked at me and said, yes you can , I’ll stay right with you. He cheered me all the way in, I could hear him it was kinda cool actually. When I got to where I could walk, I did. I was spent! There were people offering encouragement as we exited the water so I began a slow run up the TA to get ready for the bike. I remember Adam was there and I said, I suck and laughed.

Quickly sat down and dried my feet, socks and shoes on. I don’t use clips so I was in my running shoes. Helmet on and buckled and off I went. Running along side my bike to the mount line. Quick mount and off I go. Grab a gear and get some speed. Well wouldn’t ya know it, now it’s raining. Oh well I’m already wet. I knew I would have mostly head wind out(going south) to the turn around. At times it poured and the wind made the rain sting my skin. Just keep going, that’s all I could do. I spotted another competitor ahead of me. My first thought was “roadkill”. I pumped even harder. I managed to pass 4 on the bike I think. I was shocked that we had a headwind on the way back as well. I managed to hold an average just over 16mph. Not bad in the wind. It was a rather uneventful ride for the most part. It was kind of cool to ride a road I’ve driven many many times.
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Back at TA to take off on the run. Dismount the bike before the line and those first few steps and a little wobbly to say the least. I ran back to my TA setup and toss the bike onto the rack. Helmet off, running cap in and pull my race belt up and off I go.
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The run is a 1.5 mile loop ran twice. I knew my conditioning is not where it needs to be right now, so why did I take off at sub 8 min miles? Thankfully I checked this at about the 1/2 mile mark and adjusted accordingly. The first lap felt good and I was glad to be in my element. I came around for lap 2 and heard James and Emily cheering for me, that always feels good to hear folks cheering for ya. About half way into lap two I developed a side stitch that nearly made me throw up, twice. I literally stopped, I thought sure in was gonna hurl. I’m certain it was all the fish poop trying to make it’s great escape from my body. I stopped at a water station to wash out my mouth, the taste was awful! I told those volunteers “I remember telling people that it’s only a 5k I can do that in my sleep. Ha!! Right, only a 5k at which I had panicked big time on the swim and help just over a 16mph pace with headwinds out and back on the bike. Whew, I had a laugh and took off again. It was cool to see Adam twice on the run as well as my buddy Kyle.
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All in all, I accomplished my goals for my first Triathlon. The first goal was to survive the swim, I did. The second goal was to learn a lot, I did. We hung around for a while before packing up our soaking wet gear at transition and heading to the car.

Post race photo with my buddies Adam and James.
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I did not look at my times as I typically don’t care much. However since this is my first, I must list my splits
Swim – 16:15 (500 yards)
T1 – 2:27
Bike – 44:12 (12.5 miles)
T2 – :57
Run – 28:02
Total time 1:31:55
When I saw the swim time I laughed. I felt like I was I the water for hours. Ha!

Outside of the panic in the water, I had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again!!

Thanks to my family for their continued support as I get closer and closer in my epic goal of being an Ironman. There are many of you who serve as mentors in one form or fashion, thanks for allowing me to pick your brain and soak up your experience.

I have work to do… Let the fun begin.

#betheexample
#findyourpassion
#findyourstrong
#bemore

Kicking May to the curb

If you know me and know my journey, you know I put it all out there. I’m not even gonna lie, May was a tough month for me. I injured my foot during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and that sidelined me several weeks. Just as I was ready to take off running again, I got really sick for a full week.

There were other things that happened and those are what I want to share today.

I was reminded how easy it is to fall right back into mindless eating. Yep, I’m guilty as charged. I found myself eating empty calories, food that was just food, no nutritional value for my body. No means of fueling my body, just filling my body. Mindless eating and empty calories get kicked to the curb with as May makes its exit.

I was reminded that my journey is mine, period. Regardless of how many I help. Regardless of how many others I lift up. My journey is mine and nobody can ever take that from me, regardless of how hard they try.

I was reminded that injury will/does happen to all of us. This reminded me that if I am really going to attempt to inspire and lead others, I must share and be open about that. Showing others that I am human is important.

I was reminded that I must pack my lunch for work, every single day. I must be in control of the fuel that goes in my body, period. Eating empty calories and spending money on lunch that I didn’t need to spend ends as May makes its exit.

I learned that I stress over things I can’t control, which causes anxiety. I’ll leave that at just that for now.

I was reminded of the love and support I have at home. I changed my life for my family, to be with my family. It’s not about how many races I can run. It’s about being here for them. Without their support this wouldn’t be worth it.

All in all, May was a tough month. We all have them, whether we are willing to admit we have them is a different story. I have made the choice to learn from these experiences and share them with you.

Good riddance May 2014!

Injuries suck

So I went to the doctor today about my foot problem. I already knew what was a wrong, I just wanted them to make the pain go away. That’s not too much to ask I didn’t think.

The nurse recommended amputation, of course she was joking. :-)

The doctor did not want to inject my toe as I really wanted done. He advised that the steroids will cause cartilage to deteriorate over time. This isn’t what I wanted to hear and I told him as much, very nicely of course. :-)

He did suggest that my issue is probably being caused by my running mechanics. I’m honestly not sure what to think about this. My gaite couldn’t possibly be more neutral. Looking over my shoes I confirmed this again when I got home.

He also suggested that the tightness in my calf and hamstring muscles can also cause the issue. I do have issues with tight calves and an issue in my piriformis causing my right hammy to tighten from time to time. This makes sense to me based on the knowledge I’ve learned about functional movement from my friends at Expressions Chiropractic. We talked about the fact that I’ve switch from heal strike to mid foot strike in the last year. I believe mid foot is a safer strike in the long run. However, for athletes like me, not a good idea. I will go back to heal strike to help preserve the Seasmoid bones in my foot longer. Obviously I want to run when I’m old, so I gotta do what I gotta do, right?

I also saw the guys from orthotics about inserts for my shoes. The doctor would like custom inserts done that will help support parts of my foot and relieve pressures on others. We talked about my milage. How I train. How many races I run. Watched me walk etc. They both agreed that my gaite is neutral. We even took molds of my feet incase my insurance will cover these carbon inserts.

So what’s next? Time is my friend right now. I will seek the care of Expressions again to see what they think. I will also seek out a coach to analyze my mechanics after I’ve been running for an hour or more. Running 2-3 minutes anybody can be perfect, it’s beyond that where things could start to break down.

All in all I wasn’t really pleased with what I heard, but I suppose it’s what I needed to hear?

REPOST – Journey from Fit to Fat and back again

You’ve possibly read this, I don’t know.  But I was reading this today and just felt like SOMEBODY out there might need to see this.  SOMEBODY might need to realize that REAL people lose weight and maintain that loss, all completely naturally.  If this inspires you, if this provokes questions orwhatever, please reach out to me, how can I help??

One Man’s Journey from Fit to Fat–and Back Again

Allow me to start by saying this: I love sharing my story with the hope of inspiring others to take their lives back.  It is my hope that by continuing to share my story that I can help even ONE person see there is hope to change their life.

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Growing up, I was not an athlete.

I did wrestle for a number of years, but I was more of a band geek. (Proud to say that too!) I’ve traveled the world “making music with my friends,” as I marched in various marching bands and Drum Corps.   I was always fit, firm and muscular due to the demands that band and Drum Corps put on my body.

Then, in 1998, I changed careers and got a desk job.  Things started to change.
I quickly grew accustomed to sitting all day.  Sitting behind a desk got easier and easier. It also got easier to sit on my chair at home and do nothing.

I lost my mother in February 2005 and I started eating, much more than normal.  I never knew I was an emotional eater, but there I was, eating away the grief and loss.  As time moved forward, and my habits did not improve, I slowly grew to my top measured weight of 264 pounds.  I knew I wasn’t healthy. I couldn’t walk up a small flight of stairs without being winded, I had no energy and I made poor eating choices most of the time. I didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I avoided having my picture taken.  In fact it was the picture taken for my security badge at work that scared me into action.  My swollen face and eyes were not a pretty sight!

That just begs the question words, why, when, how, what?  I simply can’t come up with a better answer than I got tired of being fat.  Why at the ripe ole age of 40 did I decide to take my life back? Why, when I knew it was going to take so much discipline, so much work would I make a life changing decision?

I made this decision for me.

Now, let me give you three more reasons I changed my life.  My wife and two daughters.  My wife deserves a husband who is willing and able to help out around the house. I believe she deserves a husband that she can be proud of, who can come home from work and have the energy necessary to help with dinner, kids, activities, etc. My daughters deserve a Daddy who doesn’t sit in his chair asleep all the time. They deserve a daddy who has energy to play with them, get on the floor and wrestle, tickle, and not be a grump all the time. They need a role model.

So I made the decision on December 28, 2009 to take my life back!

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Me, before

I made radical changes in my life. I’m not sure what my calorie intake was before I started, but I know it was really high! I started logging everything I ate (I used the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker). I had a healthy breakfast and a good lunch that I kept varied between salad, soup or sandwiches most days.  I stopped eating out every day.  Thankfully I have a wife who is on board with the new lifestyle and is cooking healthier dinners.  I am practicing portion control and try to put the fork down between each bite.

Keeping in mind that I made radical changes, I also started moving, A LOT.  I began walking each day. The coldest day I remember going for a walk outside was 27 degrees.  Yes, it was cold, but I had to do it! I would be out my door by 5 a.m. for my first walk of the day, and then do it again in the evening.  I parked farther from the door while out running errands.  I walked with a quicker pace to get my heart rate elevated as much as possible.

After two months I added elliptical workouts to my routine and grew to love that machine!    I joined my wife and began doing high-impact intensity workouts WOW!  I got addicted to that right away!  Running didn’t enter the equation until months later.  Running became my time for reflection, prayer, anger management, problem solving, etc.  I can’t imagine my life without it!

I added DVD workouts in the summer of 2010, stopping after one series due to a major sports hernia.  I had probably developed this hernia years before, but with my increased activity, it became something I needed to deal with.  Surgery and recovery slowed me to a near halt for about 14 weeks.  Then I got right back to it, moving and grooving, shaking and quaking!

Less than one year after I started, December 10, 2010, I hit the 100 pound lost mark.  There was no magic pill that solved my weight problems.  Time, hard work, and determination were the tools that got me here, and now that I’m here, I work just as hard to maintain, there is no finish line in my book.

Now that I am in the maintenance phase of my weight-loss journey, it’s all about simply making sure I remember my triggers for overeating and exercise–and the power I have to control it!  I still cross train 2-3 times a week and I run 4-5 days a week.

I have completed multiple 10k’s, 15k’s, more than 20 half marathons and three full marathons and one ultra marathon.  I consider myself an endurance athlete because I embrace the challenge.  I embrace the feeling of being able to push myself to a new level of fitness.  I also love the challenge of the mind games.  That is a part of this journey that many people forget about or don’t deal with.  I feel that the mind games or the emotional part of this journey is critical for ultimate success.  Learning to deal with WHY I let myself get do big, so depressed has been a lot of fun and I wouldn’t be nearly as successful if I didn’t face that head on!

I’d like to leave you with three success factors that worked for me:

  1.     Know WHAT/HOW much you eat
  2.     Shut up and sweat – you have to WORK it off
  3.     Do it every single day – make it a lifestyle

Feel free to follow me at any of the following:
http://facebook.com\warrior4health
http://warrior4health.com
http://youtube.com/jeromemerlau

Why do I get involved in peoples lives…

I recently had a friend ask me “Jerome, why do you get involved in people’s lives?”   I enjoy creating relationships that MEAN something, relationships that go a little deeper than the surface.  What you see below is exactly WHY I get involved in people’s lives!!

I received this message today:

“Hey bro. I have been home all day with the flu. Been watching Facebook when I wake up every now and again. I saw a post you made and. I checked out your story on warrior4health. Amazing and inspiring. Brother I have been struggling with this weight issue most of my life and I read some things that you wrote and they hit me right in the gut. I am in the place where I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I do well for a week or two then I fall in the black hole of stressful emotional eating only to come out feeling bad about my poor choices. Brother Thank you for the inspiration. Today is my day for life change. Know that when I say that I feel different about it. I am convinced that God is going to see me through to lose weight. My goal right now is to be consistent in exercise and food choices,. Recording everything going for 1000 to 1200 calories a day. Giving up all that is unhealthy until I can trust myself. Thank you for that. Bro. Jerome please pray for me. I want to be a success story and not a statistic. My wife deserves better, my children deserve better, my students deserve better. But more importantly I deserve to be fit and healthy. From fat to fit here we go! Thank you friend and fellow warrior.”

I’ve been building this relationship for several months, growing together, sharing stories and ideas.  I’ve been talking to him since he sent me this message today and guess what, I believe he’s READY for the change!!!

Seriously brought me to tears.

Island Boost Ambassador

February 28, 2014

I am so excited.  I found out tonight that I have been selected as an Ambassador for Island Boost for 2014.

I began using this product about 2 years ago and found my fuel of choice!  I had struggled to find a fuel that worked and did not completely upset my stomach and have me racing for the port a pots at the finish line.

I believe Island Boost is the fuel of the future for many reasons and I can’t wait to work even closer with the 2014 Ambassador Team.

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What IF I QUIT???

February 12th, 2014

I heard something this morning that really hit me square in the mouth.

I’ve been on my health journey for just over 4 years now and it’s been an incredible journey in so many ways.  There have been frustrating times along the way, I’m not gonna lie about it, I like to #bereal.

Most of my journey has been VERY driven.  When I was in my weight loss phase, every pound I lost was a driving factor.  Every single new habit I formed was a driving factor.  As I lost more weight and began to run, I was driven to run faster.  Then I was driven to run further and further.  I’ve ran 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s, 25k’s, half marathons, marathons, and I am about to run my first 50k.  I continue to challenge myself with new opportunities and new distances.  I keep moving forward no matter what.

This journey started because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Because my wife deserved a better husband and my daughters deserved a better father…..and I deserved to be healthy!  These are also the same reasons that I keep going, that I keep pushing myself like I do.  The support of my family is first and foremost!

This morning as I was listening to my daily dose of personal development I heard something that I wanted to share. EVERYTHING WE DO MATTERS!!  Every single thing matters, period. It can matter toward either end of the positive or negative scale, but it MATTERS!!  It not only matters now, it matters forever and ever.  As Andy Andrews would explain, this is the Butterfly Effect.

I’ve learned that this also relates to me and my journey to better health.  I know there are people watching me, there have been since the day I started.  I also know that some of them are waiting for me to fail, for me to quit (I hope they don’t wear themselves out waiting on me).  I also know that there are many more who watch for inspiration.  They follow and wonder if they have what it takes to take their own lives back from obesity.  They wonder if they really have what it takes to create new habits.

The ‘thing’ that smacked me in the mouth today was the simple fact that this is part of the reason I DON’T QUIT!  Knowing that there are people watching me, none more important than my wife and daughters means I must keep moving forward.  I keep pressing forward to a better me, not just physically, but a better me all the way around.

You see, the thing that I’ve finally accepted is that every single person who follows me, drives me.  Every single person who has ever;
asked for help
shared their struggle with me
asked me to help a family member
asked for help with a training program
told me in private they admire my accomplishments
told me they were proud of me
called me an athlete
worked out with me
continues to come back for help over and over

……they drive me to stay with the fight because, if I quit….everyone behind me, everyone that I’ve inspired, everyone that I’ve helped….THEY have a reason to quit too, and THAT is 100% unacceptable!

I DON’T QUIT
dontquit

Moment of the day – February 2nd, 2014

Moment of the day – February 2nd, 2014

Sunday morning, Feb 2nd at 0430am I met Colleen at the park for our Sunday training run.  I sort of have a plan in my head to push her, but I didn’t tell her that.

I managed to push her along without her realizing it until about mile 10 as we hit the hardest hills of the course. We dealt with wind in the face that nearly stood us up it was so strong.  The last half were totally hills and yet we ended with mostly negative splits!!

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Great run Colleen

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/439288425

…..and THAT was my moment of the day for February 2nd, 2014

 

Moment of the day, January 31st, 2014

Moment of the day, January 31st, 2014

When I got home from work, Emily and her friend were just talking about nothing really. I made my way into her room to make small talk for a bit. Not sure how we got on the topic, but it turned to using ’cause I’m Asian’ as a response.
Why are you so smart, cause I’m Asian
Why are you so dumb, cause I’m Asian
How did you do that, cause I’m Asian.

You get the idea, right.

Well Austin is also Asian and is a black belt in karate. I made a comment about “that’s how he learned karate, he’s Asian.”

I said, they come out knowing karate. Then I started making slow karate type moves like I was being born doing karate.

Both of them started laughing hysterically. I made my grand exit with both arms in the air and said “made ya laugh”……and they did, for 5 minutes. Lol

……and THAT was my moment of the day for the last day of January 2014.

Favorite Moment of the day, January 30th, 2014

Thursday January 30th

I was just sitting at work minding my own business when I got a text message from Emily, my 14 year old daughter.

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Yes, I know she was in class.  Yes I know she had her phone out under her desk.  Yes I know that’s not right.

I didn’t really care much.  I am proud of her for the research she did on her project and now she gets to go to UTA to present at the regional contest.

…….and THAT was my favorite moment of the day for January 30th, 2014