Tag Archives: Ironman World Championships

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October is one of my favorite months with the Exceeding Expectations kids.  As you all know, our top priority for the kids is, and always will be, education. That said, every October we participate in two athletic events that I feel are significant in laying the groundwork necessary for them to be successful in the academic world and in their adult lives.  The first of these events is the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) triathlon, aptly called “The Best Day in Triathlon.” Here’s a brief overview from their website:  “In 1994, three friends started a triathlon fundraiser to help one man regain his independence after a tragic accident left him a quadriplegic. From one came many, and Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) took root in the belief that sports and an active lifestyle are a pathway to more in life. Since that fundraiser 25 years ago, CAF has been committed to breaking the financial barrier that individuals with physical challenges face to participate in sports and live a healthy and active lifestyle.”  Participating alongside challenged athletes in a very tough race gives our kids an additional perspective on their own lives. The racers on the course with them face obstacles that they

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Stuff Happens: Tips on Overcoming Setbacks

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Turns out, boulders and shoulders don’t mix. Our resident butt-kicker and 10-time Ironman World Championships Age Group champion Cherie Gruenfeld found that out the hard way during a recent early-morning training ride. Head down in the aero position, cranking away at 6:30AM, she didn’t see the landscaping boulder that had fallen into the bike path.  Until she hit it. Let’s just say the boulder won. A broken clavicle and four broken ribs later, Cherie now finds herself in the position no athlete wants to be in: Evaluating their racing season and asking themselves, “What next?” As expected, Cherie has some great insight on what to do when things don’t exactly go your way. It’s a beautiful summer day. My next planned event, the 70.3 (Half Ironman) World Championships, is 6 weeks out. Today my training schedule calls for a 50-mile bike ride followed by an 8-mile run. But instead of “enjoying” that workout, I’m sitting here trying to adjust to my new future. As the old saying goes, “If you want to see God laugh, make a plan.” Two weeks ago, I crashed while doing a bike ride, breaking my collar bone and several ribs. Clearly the 70.3 Championships are

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CAF Helps Disabled Athletes Get Back Into the Game

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Every once in awhile I hear a story that so touches me, I feel the need to share it. In 1985, Jim MacLaren, an all-American defensive tackle, lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. He reinvented himself into an endurance athlete and competed with able-bodied athletes in the Ironman World Championships in 1992, finishing in 10:42. Unfortunately, in 1993, tragedy struck again – a van veered onto the Orange Country Performing Arts triathlon course and struck Jim, who became a quadriplegic. A group of friends in San Diego rallied to raise money and provide emotional support to Jim, who needed to re-configure every aspect of his life to accommodate wheelchair-living. Flash forward to today. What started with a few good friends helping Jim MacLaren has now become the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). This non-profit organization, whose stated mission is “to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics,” has raised more than $11 million to help athletes get back into the game. CAF has changed thousands of lives over the years and recently, they took their show on the road. They went to Haiti, where over 2000

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One Step at a Time


Here is the scene of one of my typical days twenty years ago: It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I’m sitting in my office in downtown Los Angeles.  I look out the window at the beautiful spring day and realize that this is the first time all day I’ve stopped to look outside.  I’ve barely been out of the office for the last several days, and I likely won’t for several more, as I’m about to scramble to LAX to catch a plane for Boston. Once again I have that same pounding headache that seems to have become an afternoon fixture. Something about this scene had to change, and change it did! I didn’t just put down my briefcase immediately to do my first Ironman. It was a journey that started with baby steps. And with the first day of this morphing into a new me, I lost the headache, so I knew I was onto something good. One step at a time can lead you to wonderful places – sometimes to a place you had no idea you could reach. As a first step, I encourage you to turn on your television to NBC this Saturday afternoon, December 18th,

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Meet Boingo’s Official Butt-Kicker

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A few years ago, I decided it would be really fun to do a triathlon. Looking back, I’m not sure what aspect I thought would be fun – the freezing cold ocean swims I spent hoping I wouldn’t be eaten by a shark? The minor fortune I spent on equipment? The small death of embarrassment I endured each time I wiggled into to my Spandex training outfit? Hard to say. But I do know one thing that made my journey from novice to triathlete fun was that I got myself a darn good coach – Cherie Gruenfeld. Cherie Gruenfeld is one of the most decorated Master’s triathletes in the world today. She’s competed in twenty-three Ironman races, including the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii 17 times. Now, for the uninitiated, an Ironman triathlon is a study in insanity. It begins with a 2.4 mile swim, continues with a 112 mile bike ride, and concludes with a marathon. (Yes. All on the same day.) Cherie is a master at this particular form of crazy. She’s won the world title in her age group ten times and currently holds the world record for Women 65-69. She is the first female over 55