I have an Iron Will, love physical activity and I am an Ironman! … see my Ironman report below – it’s guaranteed to make you grin!!
I am huge fitness fan. If asked me what my biggest vice is, I would say it is working out. I love pretty much all outdoor activities. Now, being from Canada, my all time favorite sport…. can you guess it?…… holy smokes eh?!! ….. It is HOCKEY!!!
I have been playing this game since I was around 4-5 years old. My dad was an amazing hockey player, he played against a lot of the greats – Phil & Tony Esposito, Jimmy Papin, Eddie Giacomin. He was recruited to play for one of the top universities in Canada on a full ride scholarship. I have fond memories of my dad teaching me how to take face offs in the basement of our home in Toronto for hours. I don’t think my mom appreciated all the black marks on all the walls!
I continue to play hockey and love the competition, camaraderie, and playing a hard game of hockey with the boys and then sharing a “cold pop” in the dressing room after.
My son Ryan, said when he was 3 – “Daddy, when I grow up, I want to play hockey. And I will skate down the ice with you, pass you the puck, you will score, we will win. And after the game, I will go out for a beer with you and the boys” ……. that made the Canadian in me smile!! Now he is ready to start playing. I’m so excited and hope to coach him like my dad did me. I learned the basics of life through hockey.
Drive, Desire, Determination, Dedication and Discipline. To work hard, sacrifice personal objectives for the greater good of the team, and leadership by example. I was one of the top players on every team I played on but I am most proud of the fact that I was the hardest working player on my team. Thank you dad for teaching me about life through a game!
August 2, 2008. Sonoma California. My very first Ironman Triathlon – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run!! And yes, it’s all in one day!! AND, I raised over $8000 for cancer research in memory of my dad! Thank you all who supported me. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Here is my race report:
They Grinned When I Said I Was Going To Do An IRONMAN, But Their Laughter Turned To Amazement When I Crossed The Finish Line!!!!
Yes, I know, it’s long overdue getting this email out and I do hope you can forgive me. I was so tired for a few weeks after my Ironman and now that I have my energy back, I wanted to share my excitement of the day with you…. it was such an amazing experience!!! I finished in 13 hours, 38 minutes and 5 seconds! It was hot…… more of that later…..
First, I wanted to say THANK YOU for your generous support. I could not have done this without YOU. Yes, I reached my goal of completing the Ironman, and even more important, I REACHED MY FUNDRAISING GOAL – WITH THE HELP OF EVERYONE’S GENEROUS SUPPORT, I raised over $8000 towards fighting cancer!!! I am very excited about that. AND, OUR TEAM RAISED $500,000 – a HALF MILLION DOLLARS towards finding a cure!!! One word to describe that is simply…… AWESOME!!!!!!
So how about the race?? Naomi put together a very cool video of it and posted it on our blog at www.goegan.blogspot.com. Here’s my race report……..
August 2, 2008, Santa Rosa CA, Wine Country…. The day started when the alarm went off at 4:00 AM!! Ugh! I am not a morning person and this was the hardest part of the day for me!! Made my tuna sandwich, final check of my gear and grabbed my Z-Pizza and down to the lobby to meet at 4:30am. As you can see on the video, I’m still very out of it!! Then off it was to the swim start to setup my equipment and get in my wetsuit. It’s 6:45 am and the first wave of Ironmen set off, I watch my teamates Craig “Great White” and Carlos “Burrito Man” start as I wait in anxious anticipation for my wave to start 5 minutes later. The water is a beautiful 74 degrees. The horn goes off and so do I! There is congestion and I have people bumping and climbing over me as I do the same to others, kind of like swimming meets hockey – I AM LOVING IT!!! After 1 hour and 10 minutes I get out of the water. The swim was so scenic and I conquered the Mighty Russian River. As I get out of the water, I HEARD SOMETHING I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD EVER HEAR AT AN IRONMAN – I was asked “DO YOU WANT A STRIPPER?”….. what kind of question is that – afterall I just finished a 2.4 mile swim and was dazed and a little woozy as my body was getting used to standing again after swimming for so long, AND I still had a 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run left! Still, I had to grin, I thought it was funny. Before I could answer, two guys grabbed me and threw me to the ground, then 4 others swarmed on me, threw my legs in the air and grabbed my wetsuit and ripped it off of me. 2 guys picked me up and handed me my wetsuit and sent me on my way. Initially I was stunned and it reminded me of my nights in a Turkish prison then it dawned on me, and I got it…… the strippers were WETSUIT STRIPPERS, they help take your wesuit off! I was cracking up. (And I was joking about the Turkish prison – I have never been to Turkey or prison!)
Before I started the race, I promised myself I would take everything in and live in my dream. This first part was easy. I then pulled my bike off the rack and started out on the 112 mile bike ride, grinning ear to ear as I thought about what just happened. The bike was through beautiful wine country in Sonoma. My race plan which I developed with one of my coaches, Ranger John, was to go slow for the first 30 miles and then pick it up a little every 30 miles. This was much harder than it sounds. People were flying by me at the start and I wanted to just GO FAST!! I had to fight my emotions and stick to my plan. I completed the first loop (56 miles) of the course in 3 hours and 5 minutes and was feeling GREAT!! AND THEN IT HAPPENED – THE HEAT CAME IN! It was supposed to be a high of a very comfortable 81F that day – the actual high was 97-104F! I recognized this and started drinking more water and gatorade, and then more, and more and more! When you are racing long distances, you should have to pee, that is a good thing, I grew concerned when I didn’t have to for a while, this is the beginning of dehydration and heat stroke. If those hit, it usually means getting pulled from the race and a trip to the medic’s tent to get IV’s and ice packs. Neither of which I wanted. So I adjusted my plan and slowed down, increased my fluid intake – I was now drinking about 4-5 bottles of water an hour, stopping at every water stop to have the volunteers pour ice water over me to keep my body temperature down. All along the course there were people sitting under trees with a glazed donut look on their face trying to cool down knowing that their day was most likely over. I never had this thought, I firmly believed and KNEW that I would FINISH! The night before the race, Naomi gave me a verse from the bible that said “the Lord will guide you. He will keep you watered and sustain you in the sun-scorched land”. I chuckled the night before when I read it thinking it was cute but wouldn’t apply as God didn’t listen to the weather man, afterall, the weather man predicted a high of 81F!! Ha ha haaaaa!!! Still, that verse jumped out at me that I wrote it on a piece of paper and took it with me on the bike. I guess God really does know best eh?!!! ……….. ahhh, to finally learn this one for good sometime would be an accomplishment!!!
I adjusted my strategy and slowed down a bit to keep cool on the 2nd 56 mile loop of the course and completed it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. The biggest challenge of the ride was a 30 mile stretch, straight into a headwind, nope, make that a hot headwind (110F), ok, how about it was so hot that the trees were whistling for the dogs, the farmers were feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs, and as I was riding, I realized that asphalt has a liquid state. I was so happy to make that right turn to get out of the headwind and head into the bike to run transition area. So after 6 hours 27 minutes and 33 seconds it was time to get off the bike. The thought running through my mind was WOHOOOOOOO!!!!
I jumped off my bike, put my running shoes on and headed out with only the run left to do. Yup, all I had to do was to run a marathon. 26.2 miles of sheer joy in 100F heat. Piece of cake! The run was 3 loops of 8.7 miles/loop. My plan was to get into a comfortable groove and enjoy the run. I started out this way, completing the first loop in 1 hour 35 minutes. And I felt great! On to the 2nd loop, my primary thought was – “crap, this goo is AWEFULL!”. I had been eating goo (liquid energy) as my primary source of food for the last 8 hours and I JUST….COULD….NOT….HANDLE….. EATING THIS STUFF WHEN IT IS BOILING HOT!!! Now, I like Hammer Nutirition’s raspberry goo, it tastes yummy when mixed with water, kinda like Hawaiin Punch – yum! When the goo is over 100F and you’ve been eating it for 8+ hours, now that is a different story! So what did I do?…. I chucked it at one of my coaches, cursing the stuff, not caring if I ever saw it again! My backup plan?… huh? I was supposed to have one of those? My backup plan was to just keep running. I started getting tired and needed food, after talking with my team mate, Craig “Great White” Watterson, I started drinking coke at the water stops and gatorade between, and then mealed on cool fresh cut peaches!! Yum! Started feeling better and finished the 2nd loop in 2 hours. Last loop, 1 more and I’m done!!! Yeah baby! I saw my wife and kids starting the 3rd loop and went over to give them a hug and kiss, and my daughter sprayed me with a mister, it might as well have been an ice bath, it felt so good!
3rd loop – walking/running, I’m pooped. First half I was hating life. 2nd half, I thought about my kids – we have this running thing with everything we do, it’s a philosophy with 2 parts….. 1. try your best, and # 2. HAVE FUN!! What if my 6 year old daughter Riley or 4 year old son Ryan asked me those 2 questions? How would I be able to answer them? #1, I could confidently say YES. I did try my best. #2, not so much! Attitude adjustment time. ugh! So I set aside the discomfort of the blisters that covered the bottom of my feet (pictures of one 2x the size of my toe is on the video on the blog at www.goegan.blogspot.com under Ironman), and determined to have fun. The sun was just starting to set on the hills of the vineyards we were running through, a breeze was sifting through the trees, I saw the beauty of the vines and rolling hills, I thanked God for the beauty I had been “too busy” to see. I slowed my internal pace down and was going for an easy 4 mile jog on a beautiful Saturday evening. Ahhhh. Now I can say yes to #2, I was having fun. It was time for my last potty break before the home stretch. It was a long stretch of road with a few spectators gathered before making the final turn into the crowded finish stretch. It was at this time I thought about why I was doing this – in memory of my dad whom I lost to cancer last year. I remembered all the good times we had, the time he invested in me teaching me the ins & outs of hockey (and all the life lessons he taught through the game that I didn’t understand at the time), about drive, desire, discipline, determination and dedication. About never giving up, about persevering. I thought all these things and I cried. As I am now as I write this. It was my special time with him to thank him for all those things he did for me. It was a truly emotional moment. Thank you dad. I miss you.
Tears running down my face, I made the left turn onto the final street before the finish. There were people lined up cheering you on. The feeling of persevering and finishing filled the air. I can’t put into words how it felt running down that final stretch before the finish line. 9 months of dedicated training all boiled down into this moment. It was truly special.
At the end of the street, my wife Naomi, met me with our 3 kids, Riley, Ryan and 9 month old Reese (girl). We started down the finish shoot. After over 13 1/2 hours, it was now only 100 yards to the finish line. My coach, Coach Dave, who trained and prepared us was there, he gave me a big bear hug and said “way to go, you did it, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” I appreciate Coach Dave so much, without him, I would have never been prepared. As people were passing me, we continued down the finish shoot. 80 yards to go. I stopped, bent down and spoke briefly to Riley & Rhino (Ryan). I asked them “we gonna do this?!!” and they said “we’re gonna do this!!” and we all said “LET’S DO THIS!!”. I picked Reesey up out of the stroller, gave Naomi a kiss, stopped to hug team mates (Great White) some who were already done and with their families. And it was time. I was off to the finish line. I was off to realize a dream I had for over 20 years, to be an IRONMAN! The announcers teazed me about saving some testosterone for training as I was carrying 1 kid with 2 others beside me and my wife behind me shooting video. I was laughing at this time because she was emotional and crying and I was laughing. Grinning ear to ear, I took one last deep breath, and I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE, AN IRONMAN. As shown on the video on the blog, and as the song said, I AM IRONMAN!!!!
After the race, Naomi had a fresh carne asada burrito with guacomole and an ice cold beer. I savored both of them with my team mate and training partner Craig (Great White). Those never tasted so good!! We all stayed at the finish line and cheered all our team mates on as they came down the finish shoot, 1 by 1. Some jogging, some running, some sprinting, and all enjoying their moment. What a great day.
Last thing, I was touched by a man named Roman. He was on our team. He was 5 years into remission with his cancer as a result of a drug developed by funding from special people like you. 5 years ago, at 40 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer and unsure if was going to see his 2 year old daughter go to school. Now 5 years later, cancer in remission, daughter in school (and doing her first short distance kids triathlon!!) he was competing in an Ironman. 1 word… AWESOME!
Thank you for your generous support, donations, prayers and thoughts. I could not have done it without you. And thank you God for seeing me through and for weaving all these incredible people into my life!
Be Great Eh and Live Life Full Throttle!!