2015 Season in Review: Starting and Ending the Year in Different Hemispheres.

December 30th, 2015

Oklahoma hiking!

At the beginning of the year, I found myself near the Oklahoma/Texas border attending the next academic and professional development school in my Army officer occupation called the Captain’s Career Course or CCC. I decided to start an online Master’s program that involved a ton of enjoyable writing assignments too (I am being sarcastic for those of you know don’t know me).

Trail running was not too bad in Oklahoma

Trail running was not too bad in Oklahoma

With many difficulties occurring in my life, I found myself pulled in different directions.  Training was not ideal but I did not let that stop me from participating in a few races along the way.

Matt Hickey

Matt Hickey sharing his words of wisdom.

At least I had some good friends in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. Mathew Hickey and Rex (aka little bear) to keep me company, drink Kombucha (Matt) and eat left overs (Rex).

Rex says…please sir, can I have some more?

My first race was just at the start of spring in Sarasota, Florida at a Pan American ITU sprint race.  I had the pleasure of staying with a friend, who was the girlfriend, now finance of one of my best friends.


Swim…no need to look back, you’re one of the last out of the water.

Congrats Karen Anthony and Nick Chase, who will eventually be Karnick or Nicken! When you find someone who will share an altitude tent with you, you know that is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, not to mention your oxygen.


Bike harder, you have some time to make up!

That race began with a poor swim and followed up by a solid run. If you ever have to practice in an 86°F (30°C) pool, you cannot do much fast swimming to help you for racing.


Run Nickorest, Run!

Luckily, my next competitions did not require swimming, only being 5k road races. One was in Fort Sill, OK and the other in Austin, TX. I preferred the one in Austin, as there was money to be won, not to mention, it is in Austin. I have raced it twice and will continue as long as the bunny keeps making it rain.Plus, Rex usually helps with the driving.

F1 Driver

F1 Driver

Concluding the end April, I was back with Nick and Karen to do another race in Florida.  It was almost raining with how much humidity was in air.  On the plus, it is not often you get a top 10 finish at the St. Anthony’s triathlon.  We’ll just say it was fitness that secured my top 10 placement and not the reduction in the pro prize purse. Getting back to Oklahoma was crazy. Heavy storms delayed flights in Dallas and I had to drive through the night to ensure I made it to class on time. Oh, and I got a flat along the way.



I was back in Austin during the month of May.  Only a 5 hour drive away from school, there was no reason not to go take advantage of local Austin races. At the beginning of the month, I participated in the rookie triathlon. By the end of the month, I participated in a 1500 track race at Fort Sill and the Life Time Tri CapTex in Austin. All of which, I placed 1st and set new course records.

Donut Carb Load

Donut Carb Load

CapTex was easy to do this year because I had all the energy I needed from the donuts I ate the night prior and they also canceled the swim. The Armed Forces National Championships was up next. Dealing with a lot of anxiety, I almost fell apart during the race. I took second overall, but first was well in reach.  Nevertheless, I qualified for the [6th] CISM World Military Games in South Korea.

All Army Triathlon Team

All Army Triathlon Team

Shortly after this race, I graduated CCC and took some personal leave to ready myself for the move to South Korea, no relation to qualifying for World Military Games.  During this time, I visited some great friends in Florida including my coach Tim Crowley and family, Catherine Vanturini, Nick Chase and Karen Anthony. Let’s face it, I consider them all family.

Rex and I hanging out before I leave for Korea

Rex and I hanging out before I leave for Korea

After enjoying the pleasures of their company and of course several stops at Donut King, I flew to Minneapolis, MN to compete in their famous Life Time Tri. Overcome with more anxiety than at Armed Forces, I raced terrible and wish I had never gone.

I finished in Minneapolis...

I finished in Minneapolis…

The time to leave for Korea came fast.  Austin did not want me to leave so it decided to have my flight cancelled until the next day. No problem, Barton Springs it is! Thanks Kathy & Lewis Aven and Heather Cox for making my last day in Austin a fun one. A day later and after a long flight, I was one small step for man, one giant step in Korea.

Exploring some of the local Korean markets

Exploring some of the local Korean markets


With some time on my hands learning the ropes of my new job and training up for the Military Games, I won a local reverse triathlon and then snuck away to Japan, with Final Destination in the town of Murakami.

Enjoying some tea...

Enjoying some tea…

Escaping death (not literally but thumbs up for all that caught the movie reference), I had a top 20 performance. Moreover, I enjoyed the local sites with athletes and a few Japanese families who hosted me with open arms.

Out for lunch...fresh caught fish

Out for lunch…fresh caught fish

My next race was extra special, since it was my first time participating in a Military World Games. Even though I got sick a few days before the race, I was able to rest up enough to finish 3rd on the US team and 33rd overall.

A friendly foursome...photo

A friendly foursome…photo

The excitement did not end there when a few weeks later I participated in my first ITU World Cup race (Tongyeong), being the last athlete to make the start list.  Unfortunately, this was also my first ITU World Cup DNF (Did Not Finish) due to a snapped bike chain. Next time I’ll be sure to lay off the leg squats and presses leading up to the race, so I don’t bring too much power (as Arnold would say).

Tongyeong post race spin around the island

Tongyeong post race spin around the island – with a chain

Not letting up, I was in Hong Kong a week later to race in my last triathlon of the year.  Only half the distance being a sprint format, I still missed the main swim pack and was yet again running hungry to chase people down.  Nevertheless, I met some good people and caught up with some old friends.

Making new Australian friends

Making new Australian friends on top of the world

I ended the year with a personal best 10k at a local road race in Seoul, running 32:35.

10k personal best

10k personal best

This year I have endured many unexpected life changes, experiences and emotions, but I am stronger for them and have been humbled throughout the journey.  Next year will be better, as every year should be with a positive and learning attitude.

Enjoying some day hiking

Enjoying some day hiking up to Seoul “Namsan” Tower

I am fortunate to have my health and honored to represent the US Army, Armed Forces Sports and race for the US Military Elite Team, part of US Military Endurance Sports. Racing and training is made effortless and possible because of the following 2016 USMES sponsors: Boeing, Snapple, Scott, PrimalU-Haul, SRAMRudy ProjectsBlueseventy, Knight Composites, Schwalbe, TriSports.com, Black Diamond, Sea Sucker, Klean AthleteHeadsweats, Mad Alchemy, ProGold Lubricants, Orange Seal Cycling, Clever Training, Recofit, Triggerpoint Performance, Zealios, and Zwift. Team Sterghos also includes VasaSable Water Optics and Total Immersion. I’m coached and trained by Tim Crowley of TC2 coaching.

Temple, now where is the steeple?

Temple, but where is the steeple?

I am a true believer of eating and promoting a plant-based diet for maximum nutrition, performance and recovery. Furthermore, I encourage the pursuit of living life and searching and holding onto quality relationships—be true to yourself and live life with others. Revel in the journey, not just in the destinations. ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος (“Ef-tee-xee-sme-nos o ke-nour-yios xro-nos”)! Or if you this is just Greek to you…Happy New Year!

Exploring different parts of Seoul.

Exploring different parts of Seoul.