Friday, May 17, 2019

Dana Dudley May Athlete of the Month

Dana Dudley FTR May Athlete of the Month 

WR: Hello Dana, congratulations being selected athlete of the month after Ironman Texas. What have you been doing with your time off these days? 

DD: SLEEPING IN! Haha and relishing in my accomplishment. Catching up on things like housework and spending time with friends and family who helped me along this incredible journey. 

WR: Awesome! Who helped you along your journey? 

DD: So many people helped me with this BHAG. My coach who got me thru this injury free, My running buddies Amie and Tina who were there on treadmills or 5 am, Blaise and Coach Sherril for the OWS and all the encouragement when I doubted myself, and especially my husband who was there all the time helping me and taking care of the house and all the other things I could not do while training, and ZB for getting me into all this triathlon stuff.

WR: We definitely know your husband was your biggest supporter for you on this journey. What sparked the initial interest in wanting to do an Ironman triathlon?

DD: When I was 45 I decided I wanted to start running and thought a half marathon or a full marathon would be a great goal to work towards. So before I turned 50 I had run 3 marathons. I have to have a race or goal to motivate me. So I volunteered to help at the triathlon put on by Steve Farris. I loved it and one of my doctors wife competed and I spoke to her afterwards. She loaned me a bike to ride and I signed up for a training class and it’s history from there. I never thought I would do an Ironman and now I have no idea what I will work towards next. Maybe the Dopey challenge in Disney World? 

WR: How does it feel to be an Ironman? 

DD: Awesome! I realize what an accomplishment it is and how hard I had to work for it. Now to figure out where to put the tattoo. 

WR: Haha, alright. 
You had a busy year including several losses in your family and increased load at work, this definitely didn’t make it easy on you. How did this affect your ability to train?

DD: It actually helped with everything that was going on because I was able to remove myself from the situations/work and look forward to just training and not getting dragged down by what was happening. But it also was a challenge to stay in the training mode just because of all that happened. 

WR: Despite the situations you were able to get through it. Tell me how your experience was at Ironman Texas, through the check in process to the finish line. Help our readers live through your experience and what it was like. 

DD: By the time the race day comes you are walking on cloud nine. From the time you walk-in into the check in tent the volunteers are congratulating you for you accomplishment because the hardest part of all this is behind you and you feel amazing. Finding your name on the official Ironman T-shirt is thrilling and yet there is a sense of calmness. Preparing all you transition bags and making sure you are prepared for anything, getting your bike ready and sleeping are really the only things I focused on Thursday. Friday morning was swim practice at the swim site. Just remember no chip no dip! practice went well and spent the rest of the day hydrating and eating and staying off my feet. Slept pretty well and was at the race by 4:30 am. The swim was a rolling start and that made you feel like cattle and once you walk over the timing line they grab your arms and lead you into the water. I had a hard time catching my breath so I did the first half of the loop doing backstroke. Once I got my breathe I moved into the freestyle and did pretty well. Got out of the water at 1:39 and was wanting to finish by 1:40.

Got my wetsuit off and grabbed the bike transition bag and headed to the tent to change. Volunteers are wonderful in transition. They laid out all my bike gear and I changed into my bike gear. I left my shoes on my bike so I won’t have to run in them which was a good idea. Once on the bike you take a meandering route to the Hardy toll road and that’s when the headwind was brutal. Two laps and made it back to transition 15 minutes before the cutoff. Really felt pretty good but I knew I was behind. I walked the first lap just to get my legs and feet back under me. I saw my husband at mile 7 and he asked me if I was ready to quit because I was 45 minutes behind the cutoff. So if I wanted to hear my name I better start running. 

Then my support group was there; ZB, Tina, brad, Kimberly, and Seth & Jeffrey in speedos. Made me laugh. Then ZB joined me on the second round and Tina and Jeffrey joined in to help me home. Now that it’s done I don’t remember the last lap but I remember coming across the finish line and hearing the crowd and seeing the expression on my husband’s face I was glad I got thru before the cutoff. 

WR: excellent, I was tracking you from the start. I could tell the headwind was brutal. I was texting ZB midway into the run the splits you needed to be at, he did tell me you were in good spirits and such, so I knew we still had a chance to get in under the cut off and boy did pick it up the second half. Great job!

Can you elaborate on how the FTR coaching helped you? We did a hand a lot of problems managing consistency but we were able to get good block of training in before Ironman Texas. 

DD: I had lots of distractions during my training for IMTX. New pressures at work, several loss of close family members and just life in general. I hired Coach Ritter because I did not want to get injured and I wanted a solid base. That’s just what he did without any help from me. He made sure I was working out appropriately and made sure I was resting on rest days. Looking back there was no way I could have done it on my own. Many thanks to all those that helped me along the way. 

What’s next? You mentioned the Disney Challenge, but I hear rumors floating around that you’re feeling pretty good and already talking about another Ironman so you can get some redemption from that headwind on the bike. 

I’m not sure I’ll do Texas again but I’m keeping all my options open for another full Ironman. 

WR: Awesome! I can’t wait to see what is next for you. It’s been a pleasure working with you. You know you can always reach me. 

DD: Thank you so much 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Jenell Decker - April Athlete of the Month

Jenell Decker is our April Athlete of the Month 

WR: Hi Jenell, congratulations on being chosen athlete of the month for FTR after your brave race down in Galveston!!

JD: Thank you. I’m so excited 

WR: Before we get into your race this past weekend, tell me how you got started in this crazy sport. 

JD: It all started with running. I was challenged to run a marathon and so I took the challenge and I was hooked on running.

I always liked to swim but had to learn how to swim correctly. I could not swim a lap across the pool. I saw an elderly gentleman and he gave me the encouragement to learn how to swim. So I practiced and practiced. 

I grew up riding bikes. I had a friend at work who did Triathlons and told me I should try one. I pondered the idea and decided to try. I did my first triathlon at Jefferson, Tx and came in last place. I also went to wrong direction. I was hooked the minute the put the ink on my arm
So the the addiction began. 

WR: Last place and now look at you now. Always on the podium. How long ago was your first triathlon in Jefferson? I’m not sure it’s still around. 

JD: I did that in 2009. I was very scared of the swim. I had no idea that running after riding a bike would hurt so bad. 

WR: Was that your first time to run off the bike as well? Did you have any practice beforehand running off the bike? 

JD: Yes it was my first time to run off a bike and I never had any kinda of practice. I Really did not know how to ride a bike during a race. I Did not know how to shift gears on the bike. 

WR: Crazy Jenell, that’s why triathlon can be dangerous. So, what was the process like trying to figure all of these skills out between then and now? 

JD: At first I had no clue how dangerous that was. I had no idea about any of it. 

Swimming, I started going to the lake to swim some but it was scary. But in my mind I was gonna overcome fear and so I did. I would practice at the pool swimming and watching Swim videos, trying to learn how to swim. 

I was awful with the bike

WR: It looks like things eventually came along for you. What was the build up leading in towards Texas 70.3 in Galveston like? 

JD: While preparing for Galveston I had set me a goal time and the only way I could even come close to getting there was I needed to focus more on running. Running after riding a bike ride was my weakest link and I wanted to improve that area. I would do my runs on hills and after biking. I would try and trash out my legs and run on them when given the opportunity. I noticed that it was working! My runs were getting stronger. I was excited too. Biking I was maintaining and learning a new way of riding with watts and holding back on it so I could run better. This plan was working. Swimming it was just keep on swimming and hope for the best! I’m strong swimmer now. 


Awesome! Running off the bike can be completely different. So then day of Texas 70.3 actually game. What was your goal time and how did your race go?

JD: 70.3 was game for me. My goal time was around 6 hours to complete. I was excuting my plan exactly how I was trained. I was on target. I had a good swim and bike ride dealing with the wind and rain. My transition times were better. My biggest goal was to master that run! I was doing that until the lightning, wind and rain started. I was almost to mile 6. I was under my goal time for the run. Then the race officials pulled us off the course. I was gonna run that storm if allowed too. I’m kinda stubborn like that. That’s what Ironman is all about. Grit, pain, 
toughness and character building! I was doing it and felt good. I was never scared during that storm.

WR: You have been working with Coach Sherril for awhile. How was her coaching and how did it help you nail the run? 

JD: She listened to me and gave me more effective runs and bricks after doing bike rides. She gave me target paces for my runs

Not to much running but effective running. 

WR: What do you mind by effective running?

JD: Effective running doing speed work and long endurance run with some hills in a given pace.

I Did hilly runs and some trail running which helped strengthen my legs

WR:You may know my buddy Mike B and you went pretty regularly to his classes, is this right? Did this help you gain any additional skills ?
I’m practiced running using correct form 

JD: That was a big key in gaining knowledge and strength on the bike. I learned how to ride the bike more efficiently which helped lead to a better run. I gained a lot of extra fitness, strength and mental toughness from Mikes class! 

WR: Yeah it looked like you were cruising on the bike pretty good. What % of FTP was that? 

JD: Great!! You definitely executed a great race. So, how bad was the weather actually? We know you’re out side of the norm and would have ran through a tsunami, haha?? 

WR: Great!! You definitely executed a great race. So, how bad was the weather actually? We know you’re out side of the norm and would have ran through a tsunami, haha?? 

JD: On the bike it was very windy, like riding in molasses in January. The run was the most exciting! I ran in the lightning, thunder, hail, extreme hard winds and running in ankle deep water was kinda tough! I was determined to run in this as long as I was allow too! 

WR: That has to be quite a day. I can only imagine. Where did you end up in results after they chaos had settled? Did they cut it off at the end of the bike?

JD: I was at mile 5.6 according my garmin and the tracker cut me off at mile 4.4 on the run. My bike time was 3:01. Which was good considering the wind and weather. 

The chaos was the ultimate experience. One that I will never forget!!

WR: Did we get a final place for you? 

JD: I got a DNF along with the rest of my age group. That’s the most amazing DNF. If I was able to finish at the pace I was going I believe I would have been in the top 10 in my age a group. This DNF is special. I got an experience in what a true triathlete is all about. I do this for the love of the sport, to grow inside and out. If I can help another athlete on the course with words of encouragement and a smile and see that athlete finish their race that’s the must amazing experience to me. 

WR: Thank you for filling me in on that. I think the officials did all they could given the circumstances. Thank you also for reiterating in your own words what this crazy sport is all about. 

JD: Thank you! I will get redemption at Half IM Waco. I have to go battle those hills

WR: Great! I was going to ask what is next for you. Glad to hear that and that’s in October. Can you explain how Fly Tri Racing and the coaching by Coach Sherril has helped you become a better overall triathlete? 

JD: I did not want any injuries and my work schedule is crazy! Coach Sherril gave me workouts that were challenging physically and mentally at times. She able to juggle my schedule. She has taught me that it’s ok to rest and enjoy the recovery weeks. A huge lesson that I’m still learning. Fly Tri has let me become part of a team and family. It takes a family to grow an athlete. Coach Sherril is always there to help with swims and bike rides. Can I say she is the must Aero Dynamic person on the bike that I have ever seen. Sherril has helped me get my nutrition under control so I can race efficient. She has done so much for me. I’m so appreciative of her and Fly Tri. I love my team!!!

WR: Coach Sherril has been great. We love her too. We’re glad you have chosen to train with us. Thank you for sharing your Galveston experience and your mindset with it so others can learn from you. 

JD: You all are awesome!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Kevin “Marathon” Green March Athlete of the Month

Kevin Green
Athlete of the Month
Boston Qualifier at Cowtown Marathon 
Kevin “Marathon” Green 

WR:  Hey Kevin, congratulations on meeting the Boston Qualifying time standard  at the Cowtown Marathon last month.  Let’s back up and tell us how you got started on this running journey to begin with? 

KG:  You all know me as the guy who qualified for the Boston Marathon on February 24th 2019. What you don't know is the life i lived before my running journey and the road I traveled to get where I'm at today. In my early 20's I dropped out of college and began life on my own not knowing what I wanted in life at all. I also began drinking alcohol and I drank a lot. Seemed like everyday I was drinking. As the problem continued, I fell in depression for a long time and I hid it well. March 13th 2013 little did I know my life would change. I got into some legal trouble involving alcohol and it took me to the bottom of the pit in life where I didn't want to be. Taking responsibility of my actions I knew things had to change. Drinking to continued for a couple more weeks until 1 particular night I was sitting outside my friends house drinking and out of nowhere I began to cry like a baby for about 20 minutes or so. Then a thought of running a Marathon came to mind. I threw my last beer away and asked God to take alcohol out of my life and asked him to start working in my life as well. The next morning I began my Marathon journey and it was very hard. I ran my 1st half marathon in 1:45 and some change and my 1st Marathon in 2016 in 4 hours. After my 1st Marathon I wasn't satisfied so I set a goal not only to run another but to qualify for Boston. I failed to reach my Boston goal 4 times. 2 of which I dropped out of the Marathons. After all the frustration I reached out to Coach William and he lead me to Coach Garrett. When Coached Garrett took over he only had about 7 weeks to train me before the Cowtown Marathon arrived. After all the proper training from Coach Garrett, Cowtown Marathon was here. The Morning of the race I woke up and when my feet hit the floor I knew something special was going to happen. I got to the starting line and off we were. I felt incredible till mile 23 and I began to get tired and my foot was in some pain. I knew I was very close to getting the Boston qualifying time so I began to pray and I asked God to help me to the finish line. As I seen the clock nearing the finish line I was overwhelmed. I finally had qualified for the Boston Marathon. I cried in happiness walking to get my finishers shirt.  Now here I am still overwhelmed of the finishing time of 3:02:59 and a 14 minute p.r. Today I'm 4 years and 6 months sober living for Jesus Christ our Lord and sharing my testimony. I give God the credit of what has taken place throughout my Boston journey. Now I must train to run Boston to end the journey for my 1st trip to Boston.

WR:  Wow...Kevin. This is probably one of the bests I’ve heard.  Drinking every day took you to your worst in life and I’m assuming you were surrounded by the not the most positive people. We’re you exposed to running before that night that a marathon came to your mind or did you know some one or have some prior exposure? 

KG: High school running thats it. Marathon running just hit me that night. Then next thing I know I'm running and living for God and surrounding myself with Godly people.

WR:  That’s great. We will come back to God and your faith at the end of this. So running a marathon running hit you that night and off you go. You ran a 1:45 half marathon on your first try, obviously you have a little talent there. Then you attempted 4 marathons before Cowtown within this 2013-2018 time frame, finishing 2 of 4. We know according to your standards this was  a disappointment need help at this point.  Which marathons did you attempt and when?

Ran my 1st Marathon December 2016 in 4 hours then a 3:36:00 in April 2017 then Dallas 2017 again in 3:17: and some change. In 2018 I ran Houston in January and dropped out then December 2018 Dallas and dropped out.

Also during my 1st half I suffered I.t. band issues as well at mile 7 and almost dropped out

In 4 years and 6 months I have ran 15 half Marathons and 4 Marathons and 5 15ks, 3 5ks and 1 10k and a 5 mile race

I can write a book on what I went through during this time

WR: Dang Kevin, I look forward to the book. What issues did you have during these marathons?

KG: Lack of experience and training to be honest. 

WR: After a DNF at Dallas you said, I’m calling William now? We know you were referred by Lance Vernon. What brought on this decision ? 

KG: I knew I could be faster and could get there. Admitting that I needed help was a hard thing to say plus I seen William and Garrett’s time and then it clicked I gotta let these 2 rabbits get me faster. That's what made my decision

WR:  Well, thank you. We know that it takes more than being fast to make a great coach . You were the one that put in the work. 

In the 7 weeks and more now that you have been working with Coach Garrett, can you elaborate on your experience about working with him and being a part of Fly Tri Racing?  How was training with Coach Garrett in your corner vs by yourself? What was different about it? We know we have many of our athletes already looking up to you. 

KG: Doing my own workout vs Garrett’s workouts  I realized I was not running enough miles and was working harder than need. Also I didn’t have enough easy days. It's not the miles you put in, it's what you do with the miles you put in. Working with Coach Garrett gave me some sort of responsibility to make sure that I make him look good as a coach , because he will make me look good as an athlete. Being part of the fly tri team is amazing, you’re lifted up on top of the world when you do well and when you don't do so well your treated with love and understanding that is doesn't always go your way and it will be ok. To me it's like a family of athletes who encourage each other and thats how you succeed. All you need is 1 person to believe in you and the possibility of your goals are endless.

Yourself and Garrett give me hope. You two tell me something I can do that I never thought possible

Exactly, Kevin. You nailed it here. Let’s get a little deeper here. You mentioned A lot of connection with Jesus to Running how so? Did you discover Jesus at the same you found the marathon? 

I knew Jesus as a young kid but I went my own way. When I started to follow Jesus Christ Marathon running happened to come in place at the same time. Now I use running to show others change is possible through Jesus. Marathon running is hard as is training but we have to stick to the program for success. Following Christ is also hard but if you follow his program you will not only discover success you will find the ultimate price which being a true follower of Christ and not just a fan of Christ.

WR: Incredible Kevin, you have an outstanding testimony to share with others now and able to use running for God’s glory. 

Will you be doing Boston 2020 now? Any races between now and then? 

For sure in Boston 2020. And have in mind several race between then. I plan to run Houston Marathon in January 2020 as well also have Irving half coming up April 27th. Possibly Too hot to handle 15k , DRC half in November. 

At the end of each race I do I know that 1 less race I will ever have, just as living life, at the end of the day it's one less day you have. So count the blessings  rather it's a good race or bad race and share your experience with others same as you would share your experience in life living a Christian life and not living a Christian life. Our main goal in life should be leading people to Jesus Christ though our talents he gave us. The hardest part about telling your story is that you know people are watching every move you make so we have to stay obedient we have to stay in the Christian Life so we can become mentors and good leaders for the ones that are watching us.

WR: You’re exactly right. I’ve enjoyed you sharing your story. What is one thing you you do to prepare yourself to never miss a run?

KG: A proper schedule on a weekly basis is probably the best preparation I do to not miss a run. If it consist me running at 10 p.m. or 3 a.m. the run will get done unless an over workload is in the week then I might miss but highly doubtful. 

If you are passionate about what you love your priorities will be in order. I do without tv watching to get a run in.

WR: Hey Kevin, you’ve been great here as we close out. I think many people are going to find a ton of insight, information, and inspiration all from this.  Where can people follow you if they want to check your journey? You’re not too old for the social media stuff right ? 

KG: Not at all. Facebook and Instagram  @kevinmarathongreen

WR: Thanks again, Kevin! 

KG:  You’re welcome. Thanks for letting me tell my story of hope

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Skin Cancer Health

With spring and summer soon to be around the corner soon (fingers crossed). We figured this would be a great time to discuss skin cancer health. It's one of triathlon's dirty secrets. Pro Triathletes Dough Maclean and Leanda Cave are testaments to this.  How you protect yourself from over dosing from the sun in those early years through those forty years will effect you in your upper years. 

Jenell Butler is an FTR Ironman Triathlete and she shares her recent experience. 

It was over a year ago when a friend or two at work noticed a strange spot on the right temporal area of my head!  The neurologist who was working that day noticed it too and told me I better go get it checked out ASAP!  He thought it was a skin cancer.  I basically got busy with life ingored it for a good while!   The spot grew and got bigger in size!   

I finally decided to have a dermatologist examine the strange mole and she recommended getting the site biopsied   I finally agreed to have it biopsed.  I really did not think it would come back as skin cancer!  I was wrong!  When they told me the results I was a little bit nervous!  They told me the type of skin cancer I had which was a Basal cell carcinoma.   I was very lucky it was that kind. 

Basal cell carcinoma is very disfiguring and it grows and grows!  So the dermatologist said it had to be removed or it can grow further unto my face and can cause problems!  They told me the best way to remove it was doing the Mohs procedure.  The day after Christmas I had the procedure!.  I got nice little face lift from that procedure!  I now have a nice scar too!   The lesson learned from this is wear sunscreen and take care of your skin!   Don’t take your skin for granted!   It’s scary when you hear the word cancer!  Cancer can be deadly.  It’s painful to have it removed. 

What can you do protect yourself from the dreaded word skin cancer? 

Take Care of your Skin
We as athletes need to take care of our skin and be aware of the signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be deadly, if not treated in its early stages. We are at a higher risk for skin cancer, because we are out in the sun more. Our skin protects us against exposure to dangerous things in our environment, such as bacteria, viruses, and harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. 
How do we protect and take care of our skin?
1.    The best way to protect our skin, if possible, is to avoid sun exposure between 10am – 4pm. Which is difficult to do for athletes who are training and racing.

2.    Next best line of protection is sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF greater than 15, higher for fair skin people. Key is to apply a generous amount to skin 20-30 minutes before getting into the sun. Apply to all exposed skin. Must reapply at least every 2 hours, as athletes, we must carry it with us.

3.    Wear protective clothing, cover your skin with long sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide brimmed hats.

4.    Don’t smoke.

5.    Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

6.    Apply moisturizer to skin and avoid harsh chemicals.

7.    Manage stress.

8.    Examine your skin.

So, what are the signs of skin cancer? What do you look for when doing a skin examination? 

Look for the A, B, C, D, E Rules.
A = Asymmetry– That’s a warning sign, the benign mole is symmetrical.
B = Border– Non-cancerous moles have smooth even borders. Melanomas have irregular borders.
C = Color– The presence of more than one color blue, black, brown, tan, etc. or the uneven distribution of color is a warning sign. Benign moles are usually a single shade of tan or brown.
D = Diameter– Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6mm in diameter.
E = Evolution– The evolution (or change) of the mole is the most important factor. The change, if it changes color or size, immediately get it seen by a dermatologist.
Skin cancer is abnormal growth of skin cells, it mostly develops on areas of the skin exposed to sun rays. Skin cancer affects people of all color and races, although those with light skin who sun burn easily have a higher risk.
Types of skin cancer;
Actinic Keratoses – Least Dangerous - These dry, scaly patches or spots are precancerous growths. Most people see these after the age of 40. These develop from over exposure to sun. Treatment is needed because the cancer progresses to squamous cell carcinoma. 
Basal Cell Carcinoma– Least Serious - This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC frequently develops in people with fair skin yet can occur in people with dark skin. BCC looks like a flesh colored pearl like bump or pinkish skin (mine). BCC develops over years of sun exposure and indoor tanning. BCC are common on the head, neck, and arms, but can form anywhere. 
Early diagnosis and treatment for BCC is important. BCC can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones causing damage and disfigurement.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma– SCC is the most common type of skin cancer. People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC. SCC often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch or sore that heals and then re-opens. SCC tend to form on the rim of ears, face, neck, arms, and chest. Can also grow deep in the skin causing damage and disfigurement. Early treatment can prevent this spreading to other areas.
Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer but is the most deadly and serious because it often spreads. Risk for melanoma includes over exposure to the sun. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that arises when pigment producing cells known as melanocytes mutate and become cancerous. It’s rare in people with dark skin. Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin but mostly chest, back, arms, legs, neck and face. It looks like irregular shaped moles with different dark colors. 
Treatment is immediate. This type of cancer has staging. People prone to this cancer have high freckle density, high number of moles (five or more atypical moles), pale skin, red or light hair color, high sun exposure, age, and family history.
Treatment for skin cancer is important.If skin cancer is not treated, it can be disfiguring and deadly.
For basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, actinic keratoses, melanoma a trip to the dermatologist will help decide the proper treatment based on the type of skin cancer and size.
Types of treatment for skin cancer are:
1.    Curettage and electrodesiccation for smaller size cancers (95% cure rate).

2.    Mohs micrographic surgery (99% cure rate)

3.    Excisional Surgery

4.    Radiation

5.    Cryosurgery

6.    Topical medications

7.    Oral medications

Treatment for melanoma

1.    Radiation therapy and Mohs surgery.

Written by Jenell Butler, Ironman Triathlete