Growing up in Philadelphia, I was an avid sports fan and athlete at an early age. In high school I played Varsity football and tennis and followed just about every other sport known to man. Back then I did not imagine that I would ever be drawn to and compete in endurance sports.
I pushed myself on the field and court. Never the most naturally gifted, I always knew I had to work harder and smarter to achieve the level of success that I desired. At Hamilton College, while playing Division 3 football, I struggled for playing time my first few years. I was on the verge of packing it in, but through perseverance in practice and the weight room, I became a starter and led the team in sacks my senior season.
It was not until well into my mid-twenties that the possibility of doing a triathlon even dawned upon me. In the fall of 2002, after a friend shared the grueling details of his experience at the Vineman Half Ironman, I declared I would do an Ironman.
With her only knowledge of Ironman from childhood recollections of watching Hawaii footage on TV, Isabel, my new wife, exclaimed “You can’t do that, you’ll die!”. Just what I needed—a challenge tinged with doubt.
Within 9 months of September 2002, I bought a bike, ran my first marathon and did my first triathlon– a sprint. I had terrible gear, snail-like transitions, and finished behind a few boys in their early teens. Needless to say it was not a stellar beginning, but I thrived on being so green, having so much to learn and improve upon.
After my first taste of triathlon in July of 2003, I knew that spending a few hours per week swimming, biking, and running was not enough for me. I also knew that to truly excel, I must train smarter, not just harder, than most athletes due to the fact that my time was limited with a demanding job in finance. I needed a guide to learn more about training. Luckily, I was taken under the wing of triathlon-great Scott Molina. Immediately, I began concentrating not only on hours I logged on the road or in the pool but the strategy behind nutrition, recovery and workout timing.
In July of 2004, one year after my first sprint and 16 months after buying my first adult bike, I lined up on the shore of Mirror Lake to race in Ironman Lake Placid. With no clue about the feat I was about to attempt, I did what I could to prepare myself mentally for what would not only be my first Ironman race, but the beginning of a love affair with triathlon.
My 10:50 finish in Lake Placid 2004 laid the foundation for my personal record of 9:25 at Ironman Arizona in 2008.
I have qualified and raced at the Ironman Hawaii World Championships every year since 2005 when, in my second year racing triathlons, I qualified at Ironman Lake Placid.
In February 2006 Isabel and I, with our then 5 month old daughter, Sophie, left Manhattan and moved to Boulder, Colorado. To the awe of some and dismay of others, I gave up my lucrative job and stable life for the uncertainty of a career as an athlete looking to find his potential in the sport of triathlon. But to me I had no choice but to take the leap and pursue my dream of pushing limits and breaking barriers.
My commitment to triathlon remains firm. I will continue to train full-time, coach and share my insight into the sport. I continue to be inspired by the challenge of triathlon and the extreme dedication it takes to succeed. On a personal level, my two children Sophie, 3 and Charlton, 1 remind me each day of the importance of pursuing one’s dream and acting as a role model.