10 weeks until World Championship Ironman!

It might seem like a lot of time, but it’s not!!  I got OKed to start running again after 5 weeks off due to foot injury – planter fascitis.  It was and still is painful, but the pain is only temporary, I hope.  The podiatrist gave me some stretches and something to wear in my shoes.  Anyway, I am behind on my running but I hope to be where is was running before too long!  I have kept up with biking and swimming.

Plus, I’ve been spending time analyzing my running style.  I overextend my knees and I’m not pushing off strongly enough.  Easy, right?  My right foot dragging is another story.  James, a physically challenged athlete who I met racing Ironman 70.3 Hawaii, said he noticed my foot drop at a training session I had while in Honolulu.  He set me up with TurboMed Orthotics, who makes athletic braces for foot drop.  Short story, I ordered one and it should be here in a couple of day!  I am so excited!  

I also had a conversation with a guy who is a professional cyclist and does Ironman and Ultraman, and he has seen me bike.  He says the number one reason physically challenged entrants in the Ironman don’t finish is because of the lack of speed of bike.  Gulp!  I better get on this!!   You got until 5 PM to be done with 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride through some hilly and windy country (before starting on the run portion, a Marathon).   I’ve already adjusted my  training schedule to include more rides at a faster pace.

This brings me to today.  I rest of Fridays, and I need it.  My legs are so sore!  Right now, I’m icing my right foot and I’ve got my two legs undergoing some electrical stimulation.  Earlier today, I did yoga and stretching.  Later, some more stretches.

Why am I putting my body through this, you might say.  To give stroke survivors hope!  Too often I hear stories where people give up on life because of stroke (or other catastrophic life event).  I’m here to say stroke, though unfortunate, just means adjusting life’s message and/or goals.  Life is not over; it’s just starting!  Stroke survivors CAN!!

As always, I would like to thank my sponsors for making this possible – Bike Works of Kona and Bikeworks Beach and Sports, Project Rudy, and XX2i!

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Racing and Training Update

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Halfway on my 112 mile biking run, June 18, 2016, Hawi, HI.

It’s been three weeks since I competed in Ironman 70.3 Hawaii and I’ve been busy! I had Sunday and Monday following the Ironman off to recuperate, light training for the rest of the week.  On June 12, I participated in Peaman’s 2016 Papa Pea’s Sizzling Summer Sprint, a 1/2 mile swim and 2 mile run.

Let me say something about Peaman events.  They are free and offered every month. An interesting plus is they have special races for kids (keikis) with toys as prizes. What a wonderful way to help build the community. Hats off to Peaman!

Anyway, I finished well, coming in 23rd place. I did the swim and run at 36:39, counting a very slow transition time.  Apparently, I still need help in my transitions.

I’ve been hard at work building my cycling endurance and strength. Part of it is psychological. I have this fear that the wind will cause me to crash. Now, when I say wind, I’m talking about side gusts up to 40 miles per hour, regular occurrences in North Kohala. Downhill presents its challenge, as well. At almost 40mph, I have this tendency to use my brakes. Factor in that I have just one working hand, and you get my drift. However, my confidence is growing as I continue to practice.

Three weeks ago, I injured by right heel while running.  June 19, as I ran 20 miles, it really began to hurt. Last Tuesday, I had x-rays done, and the radiologist still hasn’t looked at them. Frustrating!  Needless to say, I’ve been giving running a rest. Ice is the treatment until I hear from the radiologist. Meanwhile, swimming and cycling don’t seem to hurt it. I will be glad when the running can resume. Hard to believe, right?

Ironman Vineman, the full length Ironman on July 30 in Napa valley, California, is in question. The Lord is in control, and unless a minor “miracle” happens in the area of finances to go to California, I won’t go. I’m fine with that. The Lord’s been good to me by letting me participate this far, and I’m in the World Championships through a drawing in October!

I would like thank my sponsors for helping me get this far – Kona Bike Works, Waikoloa Bikeworks Beach and Sport, Project Rudy, XX2i, special mention to BioAstin, and to my first coach, Rick Rubio. Thank you!

 

Humbly and with Gratitude,
Kevin Rhinehart
Stroke Survivors CAN!

www.kevinrhinehart.com
GoFundMe

Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

13335911_1102627216462497_2185197965966400087_nI did it!  My first Ironman is in the books. It included a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a half marathon, 13.1 mile run.  Swimming was no problem (42: 25), and I was surprised that running (2:27:03) didn’t create more of a problem.  What I was surprised at was the biking (3:46:19).  Too slow!!  I need to work on speed and endurance.

However, I was pleased with my first Ironman.  I finished it and was not last!  Incidentally, that same morning of the event, a newspaper article cover me was published.  It covers my story and gives hope to stroke survivors!

Lesson learned from this event, besides the bike time, were many.

  1. Don’t try any long distance stuff two weeks to the event.  I swam 2.4 miles nine days prior.  I felt miserable during the swim.
  2. Decrease weight on the bike.  I used a Camelback during this ride.  While it may be fine for a leisurely bike ride, Ironman was not leisurely.
  3. If I use socks for the run (I don’t, typically), wear compression socks, not household socks.  I had the socks fold up under my feet, and I have blisters as a result.
  4. If I ride my bike after the event, don’t try and hold sacks (me, anyway).  The sacks got caught in my front tire and I flipped, breaking one of my electronic gear shifters.  I’m still bummed…

As Coach Rubio says, every event is a learning experience.  Yippie…

As always, and it comes from the heart, I would like to Grant and Janet Miller of Bike Works and Bike Works Beach and Sport.  Without them, participation in triathlons would not be possible!   Thanks for my other sponsors, coach Rubio, teammates, and Team Kevin.  You have been an invaluable source of support, encouragement, and friendship!

Gratefully,

Kevin Rhinehart
Stroke Survivor, Triathlete
www.kevinrhinehart.com

Ironman Preparation

Being in an Ironman takes a great deal of effort.   It’s no longer being in shape alone.  There are a lot of lifestyle changes.  No more are the days are eating and drinking a whatever (although my stroke was a big factor before I ever thought about being shape).  I now eat lots of grains, veggies, and fruit.  I still eat meat, although much less of it.  And I pay much more attention my mental health, working hard to erase negative scripts in my head and filling it with truths about me.  I try to maintain a semi balanced life; not an easy thing to do.  I connect with my wife and kids, volunteer, go to church, read nonsporting materials, and visit friends, for example.

I do, however, spend lots of time and energy due to Ironman, from reading, talking, working out, and recovery from working out.  A lot of time…  I read about ways to build up endurance, foods and supplements to fuel my body, and ways to become more efficient in training.  I also want to find out want other triathletes do, both what worked and learning experiences.

I spend a fair amount of time each week swimming, biking, and running.  I try to do a couple of disciplines each day, but I take two days off during the week (Monday and Friday) because I need to rest.  Saturday and Sunday are reserved for extra long distances biking and running.  These next two weeks are lighter because of Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on June 4.  After June 4, it will be back to my regular routine but getting tougher because I’ve got two full sized Ironman in front of me… Vineman Ironman in Napa country in California at the end of July, and the big dance, World Championships Ironman in Kona at the beginning of October.

Yes, I’m excited to be able to participate, but I’m also intimidated!  To be able to participate in two half Ironman (70.3) and two full Ironman (140.6) is unheard of considering it all…had a stroke at 53, I’m 57 years old, didn’t start training until last October, and all the unusual circumstances (I personally hesitate to call it a miracle).

I am learning to rest, too. As hard as I train, I’m tempted to myself lazy, but I have learned (learning, to put it more accurately) the value of letting my body recharge/rebuild.

I would like thank Kona Bike Works, my coach Rick Rubio and team, and all the other sponsors and Friends of Kevin.  Without it, I would not be where I am today!  Truly!!

Stroke Survivors CAN!!image

 

Race Day, Lavaman Triathlon!

The Lavaman Triathlon Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Lavaman Triathlon was held at Waikoloa Resort, just North of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. My “big race” had arrived! By “big”, I mean there were over 1500 racers registered, and at least double the viewers, event staff, team supporters and resort guests in attendance.  There was a lot of energy and excitement in the crowd, clear bright Kohala Coast sunshine, and a well-organized race course ahead of me.

I had just spent 6 months training and preparing, so I was ready!  As my carpool made its’ way North on the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, I noticed there was a fairly strong wind.  Although I felt physically ready to race, and had rehearsed my race plan, I began to obsess about being blown off my bike and wiping out in the gravel, or getting pushed into fast moving highway traffic!  The highway remained open during the entire race.  And like most racers, as the start time approached, I became very aware of everything going on inside me and what was going on around me.  It’s all a little overwhelming, but thankfully, a teammate reassured me they had “never seen anything like that happen”…so with that, I could set my mind at ease and pay attention to the details of my race.

Early Start:

First things first  in order to prep for my first “big”race, I had to start my day at 3:30 AM.  An early start is all part of the race plan. Get up with my alarm, shower, dress in my tri-suit, and have a good breakfast. Now the thought of eating breakfast at 3:45AM was not very appealing, but previous experience taught me the value of eating well before my race. I’ve learned to fuel my body and help sustain me for the day.  Breakfast, being oatmeal with fresh fruit, eggs, cup of coffee, and a sustained energy drink was a great start, and also helped settle pre-race jitters.

Go Time:

When my coach arrived, (lucky me I didn’t have to drive myself to the event!), I was packed and ready to go…or so I thought. When I arrived at the staging area, while unloading my gear, I realized I’d forgotten my changing stool and the bath towels that help make transitions between segments much more comfortable and easier to manage.  But nonetheless, a crucial part of participating in events like this is to remain flexible. It was GO TIME, so the only thing to do was to stay calm and focus on the start of the race..  All I could think of were the words of E.E. Milne’s character, Winnie the Pooh. “Oh, bother.” and just keep moving!

 Pre-Race Staging:

The day before the event, I was assigned race number 1163.  I set out to find the parking place for my tri-bike, located in the transition area. Talk about good fortune! My place was located on the end of a row of hundreds of bikes.  From there, I could easily position all my race gear and  supplies…bike shoes, running shoes, socks, portable nutrition, sport drinks, and bike helmet. From there, I checked in with the race officials and was given a timing chip to wear on my ankle. I set out to warm up and prepare for my first stage – the swim.

Race Time:

For those of you who’ve been following my blog, you already know there are three segments of the Lavaman…thus a Triathlon!  Swim. Bike. Run.

Stage 1 = 1500 Meter Swim:

After surveying the start line, I decided to position myself on the outside of my race group. This way I wouldn’t be caught up in a mass of flailing arms, kicking legs, and moving bodies.  And although my race line was not direct, my position paid off and I was able to swim relatively unimpeded, turning in a time of 30:45 for a 1500 meter swim.  This was my fastest time in the water and gave me confidence for the next segment.

Transition 1:

Things were going great! But when the swim ended, and I started to run toward my bike in the transition area, I managed to stub my right toe. Hard.   Another “Oh bother” crossed my mind.  Remember, due to the stroke, I have trouble picking up my right foot.  Well, my thoughts  may have been a little stronger than “Oh, bother,” but by then, my adrenaline had kicked in, literally, and the pain didn’t last long at all!.  My transition time was a bit slower than other races because I’d forgotten my changing stool, as well as an extra towel to dry my feet, and for some odd reason, I decided to wear socks!  Trying to put on compression socks over wet feet was a bad idea.  Thankfully, I had help from two team mates not participating and was ready to ride!

Stage 2 = 40 Kilometer Bike:

As a newcomer to not only the sport, but also navigating a customized racing tri-bike, (provided by my sponsors at Bike Works Kona and Waikoloa shops) my skills and times are continually improving. But biking is arguable my slowest segment. Prior to the stroke, biking for fun was a no-brainer. Lavaman was a whole new experience. In spite of the strong wind, balance challenges, a somewhat bothersome toe,  and legs feeling worn and heavy post-swim, I covered the 40 K distance in 1:26:29.  My plan was to complete the segment in 1:30:00, so overall, not a bad ride. And true to my teammate’s words, I did not get knocked over by the wind!

Transition 2:

I got this! Again, with help and encouragement from my teammates, my second transition time was better than the first, and had no complications gearing up for the run. Even a bit of hi-jinx humor from my teammates sustained my motivation…As I think of it now,  I can see several ways to practice and improve my transition times.  But at race time, there was no time for analysis or any place for self-doubt. My mind and body was in the “zone” and I visualized myself crossing the finish line.  I was ready to run!

Stage 3 = 10K Run:

Leaving the transition area on foot, my quads were letting me know I’d just finished a 1500M swim and a 40K ride! I started cramping up, stopped, did a little stretch, and ran slow for about 1.5 miles. The cramps eventually calmed down then subsided, much to my relief!  I’d never experienced cramps during a race prior to Lavaman, and I realized I had to be do the right things for my body and remain calm to accomplish my goal of finishing the race.  So at every aid station along the route, I dumped cold water on my head, put ice down the back of my shirt, and drank the electrolyte drinks offered by race support.  The majority of the 10K was open road, but the last mile was single track – lava and coral.  Passing was nearly impossible.  With a sluggish right foot, the terrain was a challenge, and I just about fell down twice! To make things even more challenging, the last 300 yards was marked by soft, deep, unleveled sand.  Aha, another item for practice notes.  All this said, I finished 10 Kilometers in 56:45. Again, one of my top finishing times for the distance!

Finish Line: 

During my time competing, one thought kept coming to mind: I want to do triathlons so I bring hope to other stroke survivors.  Even when challenges come up, I don’t want to quit.  There is great reward for continuing whatever path is set before you -whether it is working to regain speech, doing endless physical therapy exercises, or showing up willingly for occupational therapy sessions.  Sharing your story and your personal mission is a gift.  In the big picture, my finish time and place become irrelevant. Why do I run Triathlons?  Because I am a stroke survivor, and stroke survivors CAN!

As always, I would like to thank by sponsors Bike Works of Kona and Waikola, Rudy Project, and XX2iXX2i. Special thanks as well to my coach Rick Rubio, my team mates, and Team Kevin! Without all of you, reaching my goal of racing a triathlon would not be possible! With all of you, I can bring hope to so many!

 

Update on Spring Training

imageKevin Rhinehart, age 57, Triathlete, Stroke Survivor.  Kailua-Kona, HI.

My personal mission:  Give Stroke Survivors Hope!

A stroke survivor has strength, courage, willpower and fight.  The body and mind may change following a stroke, but hopes, dreams and perseverance become stronger! Survivors become more determined, and day to day life becomes more meaningful with even the smallest effort.

Work hard. Keep the Faith. Dream BIG. My dream is to complete Triathlons. Not only for myself, but for Stroke Survivors everywhere.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/teamkevintriathlon

Catching Up

It has been a while since my last post so I want to update you on my progress.   I have been working hard and learning a lot!

Spring Training Notes

Feb 14, 2016:  “Mini-Monster Triathlon” I took part in a 70.3 half Ironman. It consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 run (half-marathon).  Since my last post, it was the longest race so far! I finished well under the allotted time and learned a lot about racing and even more about myself!

Mar 6, 2016:  “Kona Peaman” I completed a  1/2 mile swim and 3.9 mile run.  My transition time decreased by several minutes…Definitely one of my best races so far!  My motivation, again, was to do my best, and show the world that stroke survivors can, and do, make their dreams come true.

Mar 19, 2016: PATH Run For Hops (10K). My very first 10K race! It was a great festive family event, and I was satisfied with my effort and best personal time!

Mar 20, 2016: “The Dragon”, a bike race featuring nine challenging hills in and around Kona, with the last one being 17% grade! I definitely learned a thing or two there, including ways to improve my riding skills and maintaining grace through challenging conditions, and pushing my mental limits.

Mar 26, 2016: “Mac-a-Thon”, another 10K race! My time was an improvement over my first 10K, despite it being a tougher course! The steepest hills came at the last half of the race, but I had my best split time at the end!

In the Works

Apr 10, 2016: I will participate in Lavaman, at Waikoloa…my first Olympic distance Triathlon (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run).  There will be over 1,500 participants!  I’m so excited and hopeful… Your prayers and positive energy will carry me through!

June 4, 2016: I plan to enter the “Ironman 70.3” held on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii. Remember, “70.3” is a half-Triathlon; 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run.

July 30, 2016: I am entered in the “Vineman” Ironman, a full-length Triathlon (140.6 mile) in the heart of Napa wine country…2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run (full-length marathon)!  I do plan to check out a few wines after the Ironman to celebrate. Who’s with me?!?

Oct 8, 2016:  My name is entered in the lottery for the World Championship Ironman scheduled in Kailua-Kona.  This is a huge event with hundreds of participants, many of which have participated in International competitions and attend by invitation only.

Training is a Team Effort

Thank you first and foremost, to Coach Rick Rubio, who volunteers countless hours providing professional training, direction, feedback and support… Second, major thanks to my sponsors Bike Works of Kona, Bike Works of Waikoloa, Project Rudy, and XX2i. They’ve provided essential sport equipment and technical support to take me to the Ironman triathlon racing level.  Third but definitely not last, thanks to Team Kevin!, my training group under Coach Rubio, and all my friends and community members that provide unending love and emotional support. I would not be here and racing if others had not stepped in to support me.

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Triathlons are Just Plain Expensive

Entry in the Ironman Series competitions is based on many qualifying factors, but for those lucky enough to be selected, the entry fees are high, another little detail I learned in the training process!  Then there are equipment costs, traveling expenses, other entry fees, and the like.  Upon selection, I am in need of  sponsorship and/or pledges to help make this dream a reality!  Through your support, I can swim, bike and run for all Stroke Survivors!

As always, you are invited to participate in GoFundMe to help my goals of participating in Triathlons through :  https://www.gofundme.com/teamkevintriathlon

Thank you to all who follow my blog!  If you have any words of advice, questions about my Mission, want to share your Survivor Story, or just want to speak with me directly, please reach out at www.kevinrhinehart.com.

With Gratitude,

Kevin

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Superbowl Half Marathon

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I just finished my first half marathon!  It was long, but I paced myself.  I may not be fast, but I am persistent and I have good training under Rick Rubio.  Special thanks to Bike Works who sponsors me,  team mates, and Team Kevin!

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This is what my right shoe looks like after 13.1 miles!  I still have trouble with my right foot… Fairly common with stroke survivors.  Thankfully, there’s Shoe Goo!

Next week, I am entered in my first half Ironman!  That’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and half marathon.  Intimidating!  Pacing is key.

Should you be willing to help me out financially, I take PayPal, Gofundme, or checks.  You’re help truly is appreciated!

Stroke Survivors CAN!!

For more information, http://www.kevinrhinehart.com.