My Support System

Notes made on March 19, 2011, with my CNN FitNation NYC Triathlon training well under way:

My children and friends are my world, and without them I would have no inspiration to stretch and grow by doing this triathlon. I love you all, and this is for you!

CNN has provided the six of us (the “Six Pack”) with a top-shelf athletic director (Laura Cozik, owner of NYC’s Team Lipstick), a nutritionist (Frances Largeman-Roth, author of the best-selling “The Carb Lover’s Diet” and nutrition editor at “Health” magazine), and many other experts to help us learn this sport from the ground up. I particularly thank Matt Sloane and Caitlin Hagan, the CNN Medical Producers who are our managers and champions.

I also have local specialists who are contributing their time, energy and expertise to help me navigate this path. First of all, I want to thank my trainer, Dr. John Azar-Dickens. He practices at The Scott Center here in Rome, GA, and is also on faculty at Berry College. John has completed several Iron Man triathlons, along with many olympic-length and sprint events. In addition to being a clinical psychologist, he has a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, both of which have had much value to my training already. John is knowledgeable, energetic and patient, and I can not believe my good luck in having him find and offer to work with me.

One of the first things John recommended was to have my swim stroke analyzed by Paul Flinchbaugh, the swim/dive coach at Berry College. It’s a wonder that Paul agreed to coach me after that first session: I was about 2 days post-flu and could barely fight my way to the end of the pool without coughing. Fortunately, I guess he saw some hope for me, and the first lesson I had scheduled with him turned out to be on the day that CNN producer Caitlin Hagan and photojournalist Ric Blackburn came to town to do an article on my training progress. They did a great job with the video, and you may see it here if you’re interested.

The most recent addition to my training team is Bobby Lewis, LMT, my personal and excellent neuromuscular therapist. Bobby is the program director for Neuromuscular Therapy Technology at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (where I also work), and when he learned of my triathlon journey, he sent me an email offering to do weekly therapy that would improve my performance, speed my recovery times and prevent injury, and I have to say he has already succeeded at all three. I will document this in more detail soon.

Last but certainly not least, I have a great support team at my local bike shop, Cycle Therapy. Owner Trey Smith measured me for my new road bike, and Theron took me out for my very first ride when it arrived, filming it for posterity with my little GoPro Hero camera. Will and Mandy are also always there to help me out and answer questions; I have much left to learn about my road bike.

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