In March of this year, I agreed to fly to Houston and spend a week preparing to compete in the second annual C Different Triathlon at Telfair Challenge. If I finished in under 1:45:00, I would qualify for Paratriathlon US Nationals to be held in Austin on Memorial Day as part of the CapTex Triathlon. David Adame, then the Executive Director for the C Different Foundation, insisted I do the race. I was unsure. I turned to pro triathlete, Jenna Parker, for guidance. I explained how my swim was not up to par and would be my weakest link and reason for not doing the race. Jenna all but demanded I put aside my swim fear and insecurity to go do the C Different Triathlon. Almost immediately after hearing that, I called David and told him I would race in the event. He informed me that TV producer and Ironman triathlete, Justin Sternberg would most likely be my guide. It turns out, he was my race guide. I met Justin a few days prior to the race and did a brick workout with him. A few days later, he and I enjoyed a twenty mile bike ride. We did the race. With Justin's help, I made it through the swim, hammered the bike, and coasted to my best run time ever to finish in 1:17. A couple months later, Justin met me in austin as he guided me to a Paratriathlon US National title in the Tri6A category (Male Totally Blind).
Last week, just hours before I was to race in the Paratriathlon Mideast Championships at the Chicago Triathlon, my guide was injured and could not do the race with me. Luckily, an Ironman triathlete working the race expo for Newton Running stepped in at the last minute to take me the distance. With my guide going down, this meant he could not be my eyes when I race at the Paratriathlon World Championships in London. I needed to find someone else. Once more I turned to Justin Sternberg who had to make sure he could go. Once everything checked out, he called me to say, "I'm in!!" In just over a week, I will see him again. In just under two weeks, Justin will guide me for the third time in a triathlon. thank you to Justin for being my eyes at some very special races for me. In fact, Justin is the reason those events have been so special. Whatever happens, I know Justin and I will work together and give the best performance of my triathlon racing career. Looking back on it, had Jenna not insisted I go do the qualifying race, I would have never met Mr. Sternberg, so thank you very much to Jenna for making me go do the race. Of course, Jenna did force me to go do it, but Jenna's confidence and belief in me enabled me to have confidence in myself that I could get out of my comfort zone for a little over an hour to swim, bike, run very fast.
Here is a one minute video featuring the TV producer and Ironman who will be my eyes at Worlds