Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – From Sedentary to an IMOO’R – Raymond

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Raymond Marier:

First time Triathlete Raymond

Raymond: Three years ago, I was sedentary and obese. None of my pants fit anymore and I decided that I needed to lose “a few pounds”. I eventually lost over 50 lbs. At that point, someone challenged me to run a 5k. I had never run before, and had no real desire to start, but decided to give it a try. I guess I had a talent for it, since I ran my first full marathon 18 weeks later. One of the race series that I enjoyed had a sprint Duathlon on their schedule, and that motivated me to get a bike for cross-training (hadn’t owned a bike since I was twelve). It wasn’t long before I added swimming (the only sport that I had any background in).

I ran my first triathlon that summer and loved it. By the end of the season, I completed my first 70.3. By the time I crossed that finish line, I knew that I wanted to try a full Ironman. I remembered seeing the Kona championships on TV as a teenager and thinking that they were all insane. Now, I wanted to do one.
I spent the entire next year competing in events to test myself, to see if it would even be a possibility. The day after finishing my fourth 70.3 (Muskoka, a brutally hilly course), I decided to take the plunge. I signed up for IM Wisconsin for September 2014.
For the next year, this was my obsession. It was all I thought about. I followed a training plan for 30 weeks (never followed a plan before) and peaked at 29 training hours/week (I was completely sedentary 2 1/2 years before) and completed over 4000 miles of training in the 30 week span (over 100 miles swimming, 1000 miles running, and 2500 miles cycling). Still, I was terrified that I just wasn’t ready.
Race day was a blur of emotions. There were some real highs, and some devastating lows. I had stomach issues early on the bike which killed my nutrition plan. I could not eat at all, and barely sipped any fluids. I was severely dehydrated by the halfway point on the bike. I almost took the DNF at T2. But, I took a short break, forced some fluids down and started feeling a little better. I had 7.5 hours to complete a marathon. I started real slow and just worked on hydration. I was able to eat grapes and orange slices, so I was finally getting a few calories. By mile 3, I could run a little, and completed most of the course running (with walks at the hills and aid stations). At mile 19, I could barely stand up anymore, but I realized that I could walk the rest of the way. I decided to do just that. When I reached the finish line, a wave of emotions swept over me. I don’t even remember the fist pump captured on this photo, but it shows how overwhelming the comclusion of this three year journey was for me…
Full race report here: http://roadtomadison.wordpress.com/category/ironman-wisconsin-race-report/

That is an amazing photo, and journey. Raymond’s expression is priceless. All of his hard work, and passion culminating in a moment of excitement as he achieves his goal. Fantastic work Raymond! You are an inspiration.

*Raymond’s full race report is truly epic, and worth a read.

For more Fantastic Finish Photo Fridays, the archive page can be found here.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firstimetri@gmail.com.

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