Friday, February 7, 2014

Triathlon is a beautiful metaphor for life.  Three in one... and the one isn't complete unless you can function well on all disciplines.  Just like triathlon you exist three in one... Body, Mind, Spirit.  This is also the best explanation of the trinity.  We are made in the image of God, and He too exists three in one... Father, Spirit, Son.  And just like triathlon, to be able to function properly without injuring yourself or others, you must be able to listen.  In triathlon you have to listen to your body and know when to quit so you prevent injury.  That's why there is a rule in triathlon that you are not allowed to wear ear buds or listen to music.  If you're not paying attention to your surroundings, you're going to get hit or hit someone else.  In life, you must listen to the spirit of God.  He is always speaking, there are just certain factors that keep us from hearing him.  Unforgiveness, past wounds, wrong believing, these are all things that will keep you from hearing him.  When you do hear Him, it changes your life forever, you step into the kingdom, and you become who you are and were always meant to be.  Old patterns are broken and you start living in a manner that no longer hurts yourself or others.  This is the gospel... hope for a renewed life... and it only comes through Jesus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back at It!!

It's been ages since I've run or worked out... I'm about 20 lbs heavier and the achilles still hasn't healed. I'm planning on signing up for IMTX in 2013... but something's gonna have to give. either I find a way to get this thing healed or I'm not gonna be running anymore Ironman races. It does feel good to be running and riding again, I've decided that I need to make some major changes in my bike in order to be comfortable and safe. My torso is simply way too long for the Cannondale Slice. I would like to switch to the cervelo, but it would cheaper to put a giraffe-type stem on my aero bars. Which would look hideous. Anyway... it's spring... and the CBI triathlon is a couple weeks away... it's gonna be painful... and slow :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Your Head Into the Post-Game

I've always heard it said that the pros work hard at their training and even harder at their recovery. Doesn't sound right. Recovery is just sitting around and resting right? Well, it's been a month since IMTX and recovering has been a lot harder than I thought. Not just getting rid of the post-race soreness and feeling fresh again, that part for me took about 3-4 days, I've had the hardest time keeping myself from pushing forward and continuing my training program. I kinda got hooked on the 1-2 hour workouts. It makes you feel good about yourself and the weight-loss benefits are unmistakable. In my case, I absolutely have to take 1-2 months off of running completely. I ran on a sore achilles the better part of 3 months leading up to the race, and now I can't seem to get it to go away. I know the best solution is complete rest. The mind-games have been horrible. Every evening I think about the training I should be doing, I fear that I am losing fitness every waking moment that I'm not exercising. What's worse... I'm a comfort eater, and without my daily endorphin fix, I find myself going straight to the fridge. I guess working hard at your recovery is more of a mental exercise than anything... create a plan, stick to it while listening to your body. I really want to go for a run tonight... but more importantly, I want my future to consist of pain-free running. So, I'm going to focus on enjoying my family and my friends and remind myself of all of the things I used to feel like I was missing out on because I "had to train for the ironman."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ironman Texas - Race Report

WOW, what a day that was! And what a week it has been since! I have been telling everyone that I WILL NOT do another Ironman race again... too much pain. But I have slept since then, and good ol' Ironman amnesia is setting in I guess. Because, I catch myself thinking, "NEXT TIME I'll do *such and such* differently." Here is a summary of the race as it pertained to me.

May 21st.
4:20 am - I wake up ten minutes before my alarm clock goes off and I start getting ready.
I get dressed in my race kit and put on my Tevas.
I froze two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the night before to place in my special needs bags.
I grab my wetsuit and my breakfast (1 blueberry muffin, 1 apple muffin, 1 32 oz Gatorade.)

4:40 am - My biggest fan, close friend, and car-ride to the race site shows up.
We sit down, read through my morning devotional scripture, and pray together before leaving.

5:00 am - We pick up another close friend and pray together in the car as we head to the race.

5:15 am - We park and walk 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile to the bike transition area.

5:35 am - I pump my tires and fill water bottles with Gatorade and stuff bento box with cliff bars

5:50 am - We walk 1 mile to the swim start and get body-marked. (at this point I am supposed to check in my special needs bags but in the excitement I completely forget.)

6:15 am - We walk around, chat, and wait in a porta-potty line for about 30 mins.

6:49 am - The pros are in the water, music is playing, and age groupers are called to the entrance. I realize that I am still clinging to my special needs bags (all the food I intend to pick-up during the race), and bolt off to the volunteer tent to turn them in... just in the nick of time.

6:50 am - Age-groupers are now being hurried into the water, and I suddenly realize that my group (which i hastily departed a minute earlier) were holding my morning clothes bag which had my swim cap and goggles inside. At this point, the entire crowd is moving and jockeying for position at the swim start to see their athlete in the water. I do not know if my party of friends realizes that they have my materials inside the bag they are holding or not. I try to find the same spot I had just left, but everybody is moving, and I have no idea where they might be. For all I know they assume that I have my stuff and ran to the swim start with all of the other athletes, and they have also started walking to the shore to get a better view of the race. I start to panic and I begin fearing that the race will start without me. I run to the water's edge and can't find them there either. I beg a stranger to use his cell phone, luckily Caroline is holding her phone in her hand so she can feel if it rings (at this point the Ozzy Osbourne song "Ironman" is blaring, so there is no way she can hear it). I give her my location and soon afterward I have my cap and goggles and am standing in the swim cue.... whew... crisis averted.

7:00 am - The gun goes off and the water turns white with arms and legs flopping around everywhere in the water. In the next 1hr 20mins I would end up getting kicked in the eye once, the top of the head three times, and in the jaw once (that one rang my bell pretty good).

7:30 am - I complete the turn-around and am heading back toward the swim start.

8:00 am - I complete the open water portion of the swim and enter the canal. At times it feels almost as if there is a bit of assistance from a current created by so many swimmers swimming in such a narrow canal. I looked to my right at the canal wall and I seemed to be moving faster than normal without any abnormally high output on my part.

8:21 am - I complete the swim and climb out of the canal. The swim exit was surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of screaming fans and clanging cowbells. Truly the most aesthetic and exhilarating swim course exit I have ever had the fortune to be a part of.

8:30 am - I exit transition, smeared with the most obnoxious sunscreen ever, and begin cycling

11:30 am - I pass the halfway point of the bike and I haven't had a single miss-step. I was able to eat and drink every 20 mins. according to plan and I felt great.

11:40 am - a screw came loose on my rear bottle cage, and I eject both of the half empty bottles it was holding onto the course.

11:45 am - I stop and grab my bike special needs bag - I eat one peanut butter and jelly sandwich and reach for one of the two fresh bottles behind my seat to find that I have once again ejected both bottles. It is here that I realize that the rear bottle cages have been rendered useless. At this point I have a mouth sticky with peanut butter and I have essentially skipped the last aid station and must wait an additional 10-or-so miles until the next aid station. This is the beginning of my downward spiral of hydration, I broke from my plan and it would eventually affect my ability to run. It becomes difficult to stay out ahead of my nutrition at this point. No matter how much I drink and eat, I notice that I stop sweating, my uniform dries up and salt crystals are appearing everywhere. I continue taking two bottles from each aid station. Drinking as much from one as I can on the spot, and placing the other in my jersey pocket. I also back off the pace a bit in hopes that I could "catch up" and not out-ride my hydration... not to mention the slight headwind, and my lowered energy level on the return trip.

2:30 pm - I pull in to the bike to run transition and am blown away at the crowd that has gathered around the bike finish line. All my friends were there screaming for me. I instantly forgot any of the issues I was having on the bike, tossed my bike to a volunteer, and began running to the changing tent with my run gear bag.

2:46 pm - The leg cramping began instantaneously on the run. I grabbed as much sports drink as I could hold and walked onto the run course. I was able to sustain a maximum of about 2-3 mins of jogging at a 10 min/mile pace, before both quads, both hamstrings, and both calves, would all start locking up simultaneously, then I would walk for about 2-3 mins. Once the cramps settled down I tried to stretch my legs out. But as soon as I stretched a quad, the hamstring would flip out... and vise-versa. Stretching and stopping was not the answer, only walking would settle things down, and that's a good thing... I wanted to keep moving forward.

4:30 pm - I finished the first lap of the run. I felt terrible, but the crowd was amazing and I had a renewed motivation after seeing all of my friends and family again. The cramping, however, did not get any better. I continued alternating running and walking. I would pick a landmark out in front of me and attempt running to it before walking again. That worked fairly well for the second lap as well. Each time a cramp would flair up or a twinge would set in to my knees or ankles I would pray about it and it would end up subsiding within about 10-15 seconds. I was having a blast observing how the Lord was making it possible for me to keep moving forward.

6:30 pm - I finished my second lap. The split-off for the second and third lap is about 150 yds from the finish line. Passing it up for the second time was a very disheartening thing. That was overshadowed by the sight of my friends once again chearing me on. I took particular notice of Caroline on this lap. I could see in the smile on her face that she was proud of me. That look will remain in my memory forever.

6:40 pm - I realize that I started running the last lap and haven't had to stop at all in the past ten minutes. In fact, I begin to pick up the pace, and I feel looser than I had all day on the run. Well, apparently, thinking about it was a mistake. Because, once I began to focus on my pace, my legs won the battle once again and I was reduced to a walk. I continued walking and running, but each time I run I try and pick up the pace and see if that was just a freak occurrence or if I had actually succeeded in catching up to my hydration enough to run at a normal pace. I was able to keep it up for approximately half of the last lap.

7:30 pm - At this point the chafing from a full day of sweating and running in a relatively new and unfamiliar pair of tri shorts had gotten the best of me. But, I had half a lap left, I should be able to endure anything for one more hour in order to finish.

8:25 pm - I approach the 2nd & 3rd lap split for the last time and I am able to make a left turn down the finishers chute. I see the jumbo-tron with my picture on it. I see my friends, and hear them cheering my name, I run zig-zag up the chute giving all the strangers high-fives. I stand on the finish line and hear Mike Riley say that cherished phrase... "James Roberts, You, are an Ironman!" I was given a finishers medal, hat, and t-shirt and taken to the med tent where my temperature was measured at 96 deg. They placed blankets over me and gave me several helpings of chicken broth. I perked up after about 20 mins. At that point I had to pick up my bike, my run & bike gear bags, and walk another 1/2 a mile to the car. I passed out in the car and really don't remember much of the transition from the car - to the shower - and then into bed. The next day Caroline and I celebrated our 12 yr wedding anniversary with a big lunch at the Cracker Barrel. I was craving chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. :) All in all, a very fun experience, I do not remember thinking even one time that it was too hot outside. I am fairly used to it, compared to a lot of people I guess. I do not plan on doing this race next year, or the next, but I will most likely do it again in the future. I enjoy being an Ironman.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ironman Texas - May 21st - Let's Do It together!

Sponsor a Mile Today!
Sponsor a mile of my Ironman on May 21st and change a kids life for eternity! The sponsorships are starting to roll in and spots are beginning to fill up. Read about Camp 220 on their website for more information. I am very excited about the race and it means that much more to me now that I see the support coming in. It will be hard to contain the emotion on race-day. I think about crossing the finish-line, even now after a years worth of preparation and struggle and I get a bit sentimental. There are still plenty of spots available for sponsorship. If you want to see your name listed below by your chosen leg of the race, send me a message and make a pledge today. Here's a quick and easy link to register and choose which portion of the race you want to sponsor. Sign Up Now! If there is a specific mile that you really want, and it isn't already taken, just leave a comment or send me a message and I'll make sure you get it. Take a look at the list below to see which miles are still available. Find out more about the race itself here at .


  • Swim - Miles #1 & #2 ($290 - 1 mile)

  • Mile #1 - Jim Roberts - Individual Sponsorship

  • Mile #2 - Physical Therapy Assoc. - Corporate Sponsorship

  • Bike - Miles #3 thru #114 ($25 = 1 mile)

  • Miles #3 thru #22: TAS Commercial Concrete - Corporate

  • Miles #23 thru #42: NBMC Inc. General Contractor - Corporate

  • Mile #43: Geronimo Hilton - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #44 & #45: Abby Horn - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #46 & #47: Sherri Jones - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Miles #48 thru #49: Ruth Hill - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Miles #50 thru #69: Available

  • Miles #70 thru #81: Andrew & Ruth Miller - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Miles #82 thru #99: Available

  • Mile #100: Dre Dupont - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Miles #101 thru #110: Available

  • Mile #111: Tim Griepp - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #112: Brandon & Brittanie Hennesey - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #113: Alfonso Lugo - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #114: David Johnson - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Run - Miles #115 thru #140 ($145 = 1 mile)

  • Miles #115 thru #136: Available

  • Mile #137: Brynnley Trout - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #138: Bayley Trout - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #139: Sarah Trout - Ind. Sponsorship

  • Mile #140: David Trout - Ind. Sponsorship

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ironman Texas and You!!!

Ironman Texas is getting Closer every day and I couldn't be anymore excited. A couple of friends and family members have actually asked me how they could help me out during the race. After explaining that any on-course assistance would actually get me disqualified... I had an idea. Why not provide an opportunity for people to participate in the Ironman with me and change someone's life in the process. Every year, my wife and I volunteer at a summer camp that has changed the lives of literally hundreds of young people. I wouldn't miss it for the world. In fact, as soon as I finish Ironman Texas we will switch gears and go into full on camp-mode and start getting ready to minister to the hundreds of junior high and high school students that will be traveling to camp 220. is a non-profit organization that hosts youth groups from churches all over the southern United States and presents the gospel of Jesus Christ in an environment of worship and prayer. The kids come from all walks of life and many are unable to cover the complete cost of tuition but truly have a great desire to attend. If a kid wants to go to camp where they have the opportunity meet their savior and change their lives forever, they will not be turned away. That is where you can help. Your donations can help cover the cost of tuition for the dozens of kids each year that are unable to pay their way. I would like you to sponsor one or more of the 141 miles of my Ironman. I am running this Ironman for the glory of the Lord, and as a symbol of the well run race. Each mile represents an obstacle in this life and how with persistence and training; victory is a reality through Jesus Christ and it is available to each and every one of us, and each mile is an opportunity for you to get involved. Purchase one or more of the miles of the Ironman course I will be running on May 21st and not only will you be providing motivation for me as I run this epic race, you will be providing an opportunity for a young person to get the tools to run this race of life with passion and persistence.
I am offering three different levels of participation. Here is the break down.

Swim leg sponsorships (2 miles - two full sponsorships available - this represents 2 students)

Mile 1 - 2: 2 sponsorships available @ $290 each

Bike leg sponsorships (112 miles - 112 partial scholarships available @ $25 ea. - 10 students)
Mile 3 - 115 - 112 sponsorships available @ $25 each

Run leg sponsorships (26 miles - 26 partial scholarships available @ $145 ea. - 13 students)
Mile 116 - 141 - 26 sponsorships available @ $145 each

So visit and send in a donation with a note that says which miles you want to sponsor (first come first serve), and include an inspiring message for me to carry with me on race day. Feel free to contact me if you want more information on how to donate. I will post the list of sponsored miles right here on the blog.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not Quite According to Plan

Finishing the Houston Marathon was just a landmark on my roadmap to IMTX. It was to be a celebration of the progress I've been making in my quest for weight-loss and fitness and a launching pad into phase two of my ironman training. Instead, it turned into quite a little battle in it's own right. Marathon training got interrupted four weeks before Thanksgiving when my appendix flared up and I couldn't run at all because of the pain... or a few weeks following the surgery once I finally got it taken out. That took me into Christmas and I officially had less than a month until the marathon. My goal of setting a pace quickly turned to "just finish". Believe it or not, I was making really good progress with my running partner. I was confident that I would have no problems finishing. I had cranked out several 12-14 mile training runs with no problem, and I wasn't having any issues with my joints. I had been struggling with some achilles tendinitis and decided to take the majority of the week prior to the marathon to rest and rehab before the run. I had no idea how much rest I would be getting. Two days after my best and last long-run, I came down with the Flu. I struggled through the fever for the rest of the day at the office on that Tuesday, and then spent the following Wednesday thru Friday in bed with a 102+ fever. Saturday I decided to venture out of the house and pick up my race packet and T-shirt. I had no expectations of running in the race. It was supposed to be rainy and cold the next day and I simply did not have the strength. But if there's one thing a pre-race sporting goods expo can do... it's pump you up. I decided to show up and support my buddy and maybe even jog a little bit with him before heading to the house. Well... like a jerk... I got caught up in the magic of race morning and toed the line with him. We approached the half marathon turn-around point and I told him I would see him at the house... no... I didn't pull out of the race... He went to the half marathon finish and I ignored all reason and headed out on the Full marathon course. No, I was not feeling in top form, and no, I had no idea what was in store for me after that. I am pleading temporary insanity brought on by a nice case of Flu-hangover for that decision. The endorphins were pumping, there was still a huge crowd, and I just kept thinking, it will be over before you know it. The first 20 miles I finished in 3:15... That was better than I had hoped for. I was moving right along. I figured I could start mixing in some walking at the aid stations and slow it down to a 10 minute mile pace and I would finish well ahead of my 4:30 goal. Not any sooner than I had made that plan... my gas light went on and I started running on empty. Every muscle in my body decided to cramp at the same time, I could see and feel my knees swelling, and my body wasn't responding to anything I was putting into it. I could not even manage so much as a shuffle. I could only walk. The most crowded portion of the race route, the home stretch, was lined with people cheering on the runners. That's when most people pick it up and jog it in... the pain was simply too much. I was starting to feel embarrassed, but I was scared that if I ignored this pain I may screw my knees up to where I would have to take the ironman of my calendar in May. I walked every inch of that last six miles and it took me two hours and ten minutes to do it. My finish time was 5:23... marathon fail. I got pwned. Here's the finish line video... I'm the big guy on the right side of the screen. I managed a sad little version of a jog in order to cross the line. So... now... three days later... I only have a slight limp from the soreness, and I have a LOT of work to do. I need to switch my focus to my biking and get in many hours of quality pool time. Here's a quick rundown of my training obstacles so far: tonsillectomy... back surgery... snake bite... hit by car while biking (separated shoulder and "near spinal cord contact in neck")... appendectomy... Flu... The worst has got to be behind me now... right?