IRONMAN Boulder Race Report

IRONMAN Boulder Race Report

The adventure known as our third IRONMAN finish began with quite a whirlwind. Brent, Erica and Caroline headed down the Sunday before the race to get acclimated to the altitude and, from what I hear, traveling with a toddler can be an adventure in itself.  

My buddy Ian and I flew out together on Wednesday, just a couple days before the race. Ian has been a good friend for a few years, but has never taken care of me, so this could have been an adventure for him as well. I knew he would do a great job though, so I wasn’t worried about it. I was, however, worried about my wheelchair making the trip all the way to Colorado. My everyday wheelchair is not made to fly. There’s a lot of things you have to do to get it from point A to point B and it weighs about 500 lbs. Ian and I took all the extra precautions to make sure it made it out safely and so it would arrive in one piece undamaged.

Prior to the flight, everyone told me to drink a lot of water. So I did. I won’t go into too much detail, but something really funny happened on the plane. Because I drank all that water, I eventually had to use the bathroom. If you’ve ever been in an airplane bathroom you know what two guys crammed in one could be like. I’ll just leave it at that...

After we landed and got settled into the hotel room, we went out to dinner with Erica, Brent and Caroline in the hotel restaurant. On Thursday morning, Brent, Ian and I went to the IRONMAN village to get our bibs and everything else that we needed to get ready for the race.

In between all of this, we did some interviews for a video that IRONMAN Boulder was putting together. It’s always fun to do interviews, but once that was complete the focus turned solely to the race, and the preparation for what would turn out to be a crazy day.

 

(I think all that hard work with the interview turned out great.) 

On Friday, we got to hang out and meet Miranda Carfrae. We chatted for about five minutes. It was so amazing to be able to talk to and connect with one of our sport’s greatest athletes. She is basically the Michael Jordan of women’s triathlon. Although, I was a little starstruck, it was an honor to meet her.

As race day came closer, we tested the equipment out to make sure that everything was good to go. By that time I felt pretty acclimated to the altitude and water intake. All of our transition bags were packed and ready to go. Mentally Brent and I were laser focused and ready to compete in our third IRONMAN distance race together.

The morning of the race, Ian woke me up at 3:30 AM. I quickly drank some water and ate a little something to keep my pills down. Then, just like that, off we went to the starting line. We had about an hour and a half once we got there to do our final preparations. I like to listen to music with headphones in my ears, trying to get some quiet time and ease my racing mind. I was getting some nervous and excited energy. 

As the minutes got closer to the start, I went to the transition docker, which lead me to the boat. We met up with my dad, Ian and Jason (Jason was the third member of our crew helping with transition). My dad whispered some encouraging words, Brent kissed me on the head and we were off!  


THE SWIM

The swim started calm on the way out, but on the way back, we had a bit of a tailwind. It was a little choppy, but it really helped us out. I ended up getting a lot wetter than usual because of all the people surrounding us (IRONMAN Boulder is a big race). We were out of the water in 1 hour and 7 minutes - our fastest swim yet! 

 

THE BIKE

When I got to transition, Ian picked me up and we were off to the bike. The bike is our equalizer, it’s our biggest obstacle. During transition, we were going a little too fast and I almost fell out of the jogger. It was scary and things were kind of hectic, but once I saw Brent things calmed down. We were off on our 112 mile bike. Wait, IRONMAN Boulder is actually 114 miles!

 

 Once we were on the course, the bike has three racks. We had 17 people supporting us on the course throughout the race. They were all amazing. We did the first loop in 2 hours and 31 minutes. The second loop got a little bit harder. There’s a stretch in the course called Nelson Road, a heartbreaking six mile climb. We were cruising at about 28 miles per hour downhill, then stalled to 5 miles per hour going up. Nelson Road was seriously crazy. I never want to experience it again.

We got this, come on buddy, we can do this.

On the end of the second loop, Brent started to get fatigued. I had to reel him back in and try my best to give him encouragement. “We got this, come on buddy, we can do this.” Our support team followed us throughout the bike course and Brent said we need everyone out there with us on the third loop to give us the inspiration we would need to complete the course. I could tell that we needed all the help we could get. And boy, did my family, and our loved ones show up in a big way.

About 30 minutes into the bike portion all I wanted to do was get off, but I knew I had to be there for my brother. On that third loop I started to get hot. I had on a jacket and long sleeves, so when we saw our mom, she helped me get my jacket off. When we stopped, Brent noticed one of our wheels was a little wobbly. While I was getting changed, Brent gave our tire a solid and thorough inspection, but everything looked good. After this slight interruption, it was go time.

 

I knew that it was on me to keep Brent going emotionally and on his incredible ability physically, but no matter what we were going to get through this bike course. To me, one of the coolest things about IRONMAN, is that they have cut-offs. If you don’t make it through a certain point of the race in time you’re disqualified for the race. There was a 5:15 PM local time cut-off. We were out just over eight hours when the race official came over by us and said we had about 42 minutes left. We both mumbled about that and we just said, we gotta go, let’s go! One more time.  

The rest of the way, I was whispering so Brent could hear me, “I think we can, I think we can.” And we did. When we hit mile 112, with 2 more miles and one more big hill to go,  I was there whispering to Brent, encouraging him. Like we said in Wisconsin, I made follow Brent’s legs, but he follows my spirit. I think that’s what helped us conquer the bike portion in 8 hours and 51 minutes, 24 seconds.

Like we said in Wisconsin, I may borrow Brent’s legs, but he borrows my spirit. 

I’ve never been more happy to get off the bike. When I got off I yelled…some not so nice words, because I was so sore. By this time, Brent was getting ready for the run. When Ian started pushing me, I told him we gotta go slow, (to avoid almost falling out again). When we got to transition, they laid me down on the towel to change and get ready for the run.

I laid there for a minute and collected my thoughts. You see, it was our own will, and our tenacity to get us through the bike. We didn’t execute the bike plan the way we wanted to in regards to nutrition, but that was behind us. We had to get some nutrition to end on a high note. It was our moment to shine. It was our moment to feel what we were about to accomplish.


THE RUN

Once we got onto the run course (after about a 12 minute transition) we started slowing down. Then we walked for the first couple miles until we got some food in us. When we finally got to eat, at an aid station, Brent dropped me with the volunteers so he could get as much food as possible. Once we were fueled up, we started to pick up the pace. And pick up the pace we did.

 

We started to get a little pep to our step and saw all of our family and friends as they were out there in numbers for the run. Every time we saw them they’d be dancing or yelling with vuvuzela in hand. They were with us every step and wheel throughout the 26.2 miles. We stopped at every aid station to make sure that we were well hydrated and well fed before we came to the famous red carpet and the finishers shoot.  

We were at mile 25 and we started to celebrate! I told Brent how proud I was of him. As we inched closer to the end, the emotions started to pour out. They were emotions of pure elation. Pure joy. As we rounded the final corner the crowd was deafening. They were raucous. The music was blaring. I told Brent to slow down so that we could shake every hand that came to see us finish and complete our third IRONMAN together.

We started with our bike mechanic Curtis, his wife Jen and then Wayne (who drove all of our equipment from Atlanta to Boulder). We moved to the next set of friends. By this time we were on the red carpet.

Then a roaring noise came across the PA, “Kyle Pease you are an Ironman. Brent Pease you are an Ironman. Brent and Kyle, this is one of the best stories of Ironman this year. Kyle, you pushed Brent across the line,” the PA announcer said.

 

Brent kissed his wife, and hugged our good friend Betty. I got a big hug from my dad, then Ian, Jason, Danny, Helen, and everyone that was out there from the KPeasey crew. It was amazing. Words cannot express my gratitude and my love for each and everyone for the sacrifices that you made to get to Boulder. Thank you. To our sponsors, to our friends back in Atlanta, thank you. To Mom and Dad, thank you for giving us the gift of our family. To Ian and Jason, thank you. Ian was so great that he decided to stick around and be a part of my team and my caretaker. I’m so appreciative of you and Jason. To Erica, thank you for your continued support and I can’t wait until Caroline gets a little older so we can explain to her what her dad and I accomplished. Thank you for your continued sacrifice for your passion and love. Last, but not least, Brent. Thank you for giving me the ability to be an athlete. To be an athlete with you is so, so awesome. Thank you and I’m so proud of you. What you did on that course, what you did on Mountain Road and what you have done for the Kyle Pease Foundation... I love you and I’m so proud of you.

Together We Wheel, 

Kyle

 

KPF Takes the Show on the Road

KPF Takes the Show on the Road

Though we make our home in and around Atlanta, we have made several trips over the past few weeks to spread the message of inclusion. It should never be lost upon our friends and fans that our mission is more about furthering the acceptance and inclusiveness of those with disabilities, than it is about lacing up the Newtons and winning a race. To have the opportunity to visit areas outside of our local zip codes aids KPF in accomplishing this goal. 

Our first stop on our road trip of inclusion, took us to Delaware, where we spoke at my cousin's health and fitness club to a crowd of about 40. It was great to talk about how anything is possible and it was a wonderful evening with all of our friends and family. We consider Paul and Abbey Mcnulty to be not only our family members by blood but also an important extension of the KPF Family and we appreciate their constant support.  We then journeyed to Newark where participated in the Fusion Inclusion 5K, where Brent and I had a PR and were the first overall wheelchair & AG winners with a time of 18:35.  So though winning isn't important, it certainly doesn't stink either. 

Brent and I then were able to share our message with all the race participants. A special thank you  to Nic Declaire, Steve Sinko, and Deb and Preston Buenaga for their hospitality. 

Now as the summer gets hotter so does KPF. We kick off our summer race schedule in three weeks with VA highlands  Summerfest 5K. It is a great race through the neighborhood and it is one of our favorites. They like us and we love them. We will be out in full force covering the area in a sea of KPF blue. 

After two short days off Brent and Kyle will attempt our third Ironman at Boulder CO. This race is known for their scenic views, altitude & perhaps a few hills. We are looking forward to the opportunity of competing with all the other athletes and to push another envelope. We will everyone posted and hope you will follow us on our social media outlets.

When we return we will go straight into the Peachtree Road Race, where a record  nine KPF athletes will be competing in our own category. This is a momentous event as this represents the largest contingent of assisted athletes in the race's long and glorious history and indicates that we are indeed getting our message of inclusion out loud and clear. 

Please remember to apply for the Jake Vinson Family Grant and to register for Camp Wheel Away.  Look to support your favorite participating KPF athletes leading up to the Peachtree as well as a gala event at the home of our dear friend and board member, Christy & Greg Smith.  

If it gets any better than this, I may not make it so remember, Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way! kp 

Many Emotional Miles at IRONMAN 70.3 Florida

Many Emotional Miles at IRONMAN 70.3 Florida

It's 3:23 AM. Sun isn't nearly close to rising and yet I've been up for 20 minutes already.  "Didn't we just do this a few weeks ago?," I think to myself.   My alarm isn't even supposed to go off for another twelve minutes and yet I just can't go back to sleep. Even for the twenty minutes or so that I may have slept, I tossed and turned, flipped my pillow, kicked off my blankets. While my wife and daughter are sleeping  peacefully, I couldn't be more the opposite.  My first inkling is to skip the race and just hang out at the pool until the Masters coverage starts.  But the urge to punt subsides when I think of my brother sleeping next door.  It's been a LONG month for us both.  Between racing, training, racing some more and handling events, we both could use a little extra sleep.

Instead, we pull ourselves together and by 4:00 AM, we've started the van engine to make sure we can get to transition when it opens.  We don't start for another four hours, but parking and traffic are a problem and we want to make sure we minimize the stress as best we can.

Jim of Special Compass meets us at the race site at 4:30 and we just sit in the car and laugh to keep the mood light.  We could just stay here I think and treat this as a vacation day rather than braving the bulk of the day conquering 70.3.  We could relax, eat a couple bacon, egg and cheese sammies, drink too much coffee and then just head back to the hotel.  I know better and decide to get my race face on. Kyle decides to  sleep for just a few more moments.  My dad and I go and pump tires, check (and re-check the gear) and then head back to stage the boat.  Lee Strawbridge is waiting for us.  Lee was one of the first guys we met on this journey and we were glad he jumped in to lend us a hand today.  It's now 6:00 and I ask Jim, Lee & my dad to get the boat and pads set up for us by the water.  Kyle and I then just sit quietly in the car reflecting, not uttering a word.  

It's 6:45 and we are working our way to the water.  

"Our helmets", I panic...My dad runs to transition.  "Everything is there" he assures me.  The nerves are kicking in. I get a little more excited as the sounding of the horn grows nearer. I'm now glad to be up this early...ready to take on the day.

It's 7:05 and Kyle wants to get in the boat.  Enough waiting around. We'd rather go off first, but we are in the last wave, which means we will have to navigate through a little traffic.  When Kyle is settled in the boat, I lean in and whisper, "Today is for us.  It's a chance to do something we love doing together.  Smile today, Kyle, and smile often.  When it gets tough, you get my back and I'll get yours."

When it gets tough, you get my back and I'll get yours."

When it gets tough, you get my back and I'll get yours."

The gun goes off.  Our favorite Kayak Escort, Lisa, is right alongside us.  It's always great to have a familiar face to help you through the day.  We are swimming into the prior waves before I know it, turning into the oddly shaped course trying my best to keep the boat from drifting.  Kyle is shouting, screaming, coaching , motivating, urging me on.  My shoulder aches a bit and I pull harder.  My legs didn't feel great when I woke up so I try to keep my legs relaxed.  We are nearing the shore.  I touch sand and stand up.  Jim & Dad grab the boat.  Jim rips Kyle out of the boat and carries him up the beach.  We are getting sunscreen on Kyle, helmet, pads, nutrition in pockets and we are off.  My quads are already screaming.  "Be patient, Brent" I tell myself.  Kyle smiles back at me and puts his head down.

The bike starts to get hard as the winds pick up around mile 27/28.  By 33, I can tell it's going to be a long ride home.  I had told Kyle when the bike gets tough just count to 5.  The run we can count to 10.  He keeps asking for water, water and bananas.  I want to scream to relax, but his lips are already cracked a bit, his left ear a bit sunburned and he has been fighting the winds and roads too.  I give him more water and I give myself more calories as I see our speed start to drop.  I try to relax as we manage the course mostly to ourselves.  We haven't been over 4 hours in a half since New Orleans 2012.  The winds were brutal that day and we could barely pedal the bike.  "Focus", Kyle is yelling again and pushing me up a hill. 

One...TWO...THREE..come on Brent...FOUR..AND FIVE.  I wince. My legs are barking louder now and we've still got six miles to go.  "That's going to take 30 minutes," I think. Luckily it's a fun downhill to the finish and I tuck behind Kyle's head and yell over the wind that we need to get ready to run.  He just nods.  He worked hard to help get us here.  There is work to be done.

My legs are barking louder now and we've still got six miles to go.

My legs are barking louder now and we've still got six miles to go.

We take off on the three loop run trying to hold off the competition as best we can.  Competition is not something we are used to only because it's usually just one team per race. But it's fired us both up on the run.  We were smart on the bike.  Managed it as best we could, stayed patient in the wind and tried to stay diligent about eating and drinking.  We hit the run course and there are some hills to battle in the first two miles of each lap.  Kyle starts counting again...this time to 10.

At the top of each hill, we get ready to cruise down the hill to make up some time.  We want that finish.  Pretty soon all I can muster is a few grunts in response to Kyle.  I am worried I may not make it to the finish.  Betty's words are ringing in my head to push harder with each lap.  Kyle's voice is coming louder and louder now.   I hear the finish.  Just keep pushing and don't stop.

Kyle starts counting again...this time to 10. 1...2..3......7..8...9......10. 

Kyle starts counting again...this time to 10. 1...2..3......7..8...9......10. 

We are here.  I collapse. My wife helps me to my feet, placing my medal around my neck.  I hold her and the tears start coming.  I can't control it now.  Everyone goes out of their way to help Kyle and I compete.  Especially my wife and family.  I find Kyle and I can only sob and mutter "Proud."  The emotion of competing for 1 or 70 miles is always an ask of us both and I could not do it without you Kyle.  

Today was for us and for our enjoyment.  There was never a dull moment and only the opportunity to learn and pick each other up when we were down.

See you for the next one!

Inclusion and Smiles Shine at Publix Georgia Half Marathon

Inclusion and Smiles Shine at Publix Georgia Half Marathon

It was cold, like it was really cold. It was early, like 3:30 in the morning early. But just like any big race I was excited to be up at that hour and ready to battle whatever was ahead of me. I checked on Kyle, he was breathing heavily, deep in sleep. I almost didn't want to wake him as he was working his tail off just a few hours ago... but it was time for us to take on our biggest day yet for KPeasey. We were about to welcome 42 athletes and over 200 runners and volunteers to the Publix Georgia Half Marathon. THIS.WAS.BIG.

It took over an hour to pump up the chairs, we ran out of coffee and did we mention it was COLD?! But that didn't damper anyone's spirits. Everyone ran around in our bubble of organized chaos. Everyone was patient and everyone was ready to run. We are running to the line, no sprinting. We've taken a tad too long and it's time to go. We get there just in time for the national anthem, my favorite part. I hug Kyle, so proud, the horn blares and we are RUNNING! Together We Wheel!

Seriously they couldn't stop smiling and enjoying their day. So proud to see how far this has come, so thankful for those that have helped make this possible. A big thank you to The Atlanta Track Club for allowing us this opportunity. A giant thanks to Helen Gardner for her tireless efforts, David Gaynoe for inspiring donations with his generosity, Jim Blackburn for being up at 3 am (even before the rest of us), our board & families for allowing us to pursue this with passion. Too many to thank but we are here sharing this because of each of you and your kindness. Our hearts our full, our legs tired, and our minds eager for the next run. Until then, Where There is a Wheel, There's a Way!

Check out all the photos over on our Facebook page.

Ready, Set, Go as KPF Begins the 2017 Racing Season

Ready, Set, Go as KPF Begins the 2017 Racing Season

There is nothing better to heal the soul after a disappointing Super Bowl outcome than to kick off the 2017 Kyle Pease Foundation racing season. 

Despite the fact that the calendar still reads winter, Brent and I laced them up along with three other KPF athletes at the 2017 Hearts and Soles 5K in Decatur, GA on the Saturday before Valentine's Day. 

 Curtis Ward, Naomi Hicks and Aidan Jackson represented KPF along with Brent and me. We had a great time with full hearts and smiles from ear to ear. It was great to be out there as I love the first race of every race season. Despite the fact that it should be old hat by now, I still find myself with nerves and goosebumps prior to the start of the first race. 

And not that it is always about finishing times and PR's but Brent and I achieved our personal record for a 5K breaking 20 minutes for the first ever. Better with age? Perhaps. 

Now we turn our attention to Publix where the Kyle Pease Foundation has a record number 40 athletes toeing the line for the GA Publix Half Marathon. Over three dozen KPF athletes and nearly 200 volunteers will make this a virtual KPF party through the streets of downtown Atlanta. A regular sea of blue leading out the marathoners at 6:50 AM.  What makes this race so exciting for me is the fact that it is in our backyard and we get a tour of our beautiful city. It gives me a new round of goose bumps to see how far we have come since the launch of the the Kyle Pease Foundation.  It's not too late to sign up to join the Atlanta Track Club and all our friends if you want to try and catch us...

If you can't join us as an athlete or a volunteer for this great race, you can still participate by going on FaceBook and liking us or by making a donation to the foundation or to any of the athletes who reach out to you asking for your support.  

Stay tuned for news  and for info on the race, as well as, other exciting news in the on deck circle.  As always, Together We Wheel! Kyle