How’d I get here? In 1987 at the age of 16 I weighed 245 pounds, and had just recovered from a broken foot. The doctor quipped, look “Okay, Tubby, here’s the deal. You need to drop some serious weight, or you’ll just keep breaking bones.” Okay then. What followed were several years of my weight going through more wild up and down, crash-diet fueled swings than a ride at Six Flags, before I finally got my stuff together.
In the Fall of 1989 during my Freshman year at Utica College, someone on my Dorm floor said, “Hey, can you swim? The Men’s Swim team needs one more body to make two relays.” I was 210 pounds at the time, but moving the right way. I figured, “What the heck. Sure.” I filled out a standard NCAA waiver, was immediately issued a 42″ Speedo (it was frighteningly wide, yet small), and started swimming distance because nobody else wanted to. That Spring once swim season was over, I started racing road bikes.
By the end of 1990 I was down to 185 pounds. I continued the swim/cycle routine year-round until 1995. On April 12, 1995 I was hit by a car while on a training ride outside of Troy, NY. After completing physical therapy and recovering, I saw a broadcast of the Hawaii Ironman on NBC. I’d known about it for years and was already managing two thirds of the events, so once again, “What the heck, sure.”
I raced my first triathlon in 1996, and carried on with the multisport life through 2009. I finished six Ironman races, close to 100 shorter distance events, and became a columnist for the triathlon website Xtri.com – my first professional writing gig. That column ran from 2001 through 2009, coinciding with the end of my triathlon focus.
In 2004 I entered my first Dragon Boat race on a corporate team. It was just something for fun – another way to train. I was completely smitten from the first practice, and wanted to do more. After three years of paddling on that corporate team and enduring endless badgering from my coach, I joined the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association in 2008, and tried out for my first Team USA in 2009. I was cut in the final round, but had a taste of what it would be like to wear the Stars and Stripes. In 2011 I tried again, and earned a selection to my first Team USA. I have been fortunate enough to represent Team USA again in 2013 and 2015 at the IDBF World Championships, and win multiple medals at all three.
While all of that was in the process of making years pass by faster and faster, the usual thing known as “Real Life” wrote its own script right through the middle of everything. I met a wonderful, patient Saint of a woman, got married, and became a father. My daughter is old enough now that she’s starting to race beside me, and already does just about everything more naturally than I ever could. She thinks I know what I’m doing; one has to wonder how long that sensation will last.
This site is devoted to the stories I’ve written along the way, and the stories yet to come. Because sometimes the only thing keeping you from where you are and where you were meant to be is nothing more the willingness to take a breath, take a step back, and ask yourself, “What the heck? Sure.”