Ordinary Fellow Blog Part 1 11/8/2018
I had just made the turn and was heading for the home stretch. I could see the lights from the chute at the finish line. It was about 9:30pm and I was at mile 25.2. My get-up and go had gotten up and went. My watch battery had died at about mile 12 of this crazy marathon so I had no idea as to what my “statistics” were but I was nearly finished. My feet were sore, my mouth was dry and it was still really warm. Even though I had been drinking water at every aid station, I had stopped sweating some time back. But my fans (my wife and daughter) had hung with me and were cheering me to finish line (I never had fans before). I shuffled passed the final water station. One more mile and… (Sound effect time: the sound of a phonograph needle scratching across a record on the record player (do you even know what one of those is?); the sound of screeching brakes) Let me back up…
I started on June 3rd. The year, 1958 and I was at Cottage Hospital in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. I was there because that’s where my mom was and I wanted to be close to her and my sister who showed up just a few minutes before me. After the allotted amount of time we, both sister and I, were taken to our home in a blue collar neighborhood in Detroit. Hmm, too far back…
Hi all you TriKats (and TriKitten!). My name is Pat Huot (pronounced ‘yacht’ like the boat) and, as one of the new kids on the TriKatblock, Cara (A.K.A. Prez) asked me to write to you guys. Her idea is a monthly blog for the website regarding my journey to finish the ironman distance triathlon this past summer at the Michigan Titanium. In this series of (at this point) five installments I hope to encourage any of you who may be thinking about doing the ironman distance but perhaps question the “do-ability” of it, whether you could do it or not. I hope that you see from these articles that I’m just not an elite athlete like the Cara’s, Joe’s, John’s or the host of others in the gang. I’m just an Ordinary Fellow. I hope that you will see that you too can go the distance.
I felt that before I really get started I should introduce myself and give some back ground to me. A bio of sorts and since I know me better than anyone else I’ll tell the story!
I was the youngest child of 4 and grew up in the city of Detroit. Outside of street football/baseball (no dibs on broken windows!)/hockey and backyard basketball, my only exposure to sports was the high school swim team. I wasn’t good at it so only lasted one year.
I never followed any sports programs or teams growing up, being indifferent about them. So it was a rare thing to find me at a sporting event. But here I was and it, as it turns out, was a triathlon, to cheer for someone I knew who was participating.
Later that summer I was visiting these same some folks who were camping in Covert, MI. They had pedaled the KalHaven trail to get there. That, to me, was a seriously long way (I knew how long it took for me to drive there!) to go on a bike, and then to camp in a tent (my idea of camping was the Holiday Inn!) But we were sitting around the campfire and just enjoying the evening (a beer or two may have been involved). It was there that I came up with a bucket list having been inspired by their athletic prowess and stories they had been regaling me with. I decided that I was going to begin running and accomplish a 5k, a half marathon and a full marathon. Also I said that I was going to do triathlons, a sprint, a half ironman and a full ironman. I stated that I was going to do this before I turned 80, thinking that that would be enough time to get it all done. I don’t know if anyone there thought I was serious or not. I was the epitome of the Couch Potato. (Actually I heard later that they thought I was just going through a phase – like a mid-life crisis but without the shiny red sports car.)
I remember the day I went for my very first run. I was all geared up in my running clothes that I had purchased at Target and a pair of Nike’s from Kohl’s. I stepped off the back porch and ran as fast as I could. My goal was to make it around the neighborhood – a reasonable goal I figured. I got as far as the corner, about 50 yards! I was wheezing and gasping terribly! Exercise induced Asthma!
Well, with a little bit of advice from a seasoned runner – slow down, and a Ventolin inhaler I eventually made it around the block and beyond to my first “organized run” which was Run Through the Lights, sponsored by Gazelle Sports in Kalamazoo (at that time there was only a Kalamazoo store!)
That was the event that pushed me over-the-top on seeing that this bucket list was going to be accomplished. Since that first run (I still have the shorts!) I’ve run in all those events that I had goaled for plus some I didn’t even know were a thing (10 & 25k) as well as achieving personal speed goals for the half and full marathons. I’m not fast, but I am determined! My first triathlon was the Shermanator at the Sherman Lake YMCA. It was so exciting to participate in the event. A borrowed bike, a free helmet (which I still use), a used (Ebay) Garmin Forernner 410 and a pickle bucket (it took a long time to get that pickle smell out!) to carry all my stuff and double as a chair in transition. In short I completed all the items on my bucket list, this year fulfilling the last item, the full distance ironman tri.
I’ve made a few improvements over the years since that first run and tri, not many. Mostly I just found that I like to run/train with others better than by myself so I have been participating in the Borgess Run Camp and Gazelle’s Summer Safari for several years – hey, it’s a great social outlet for me plus I get to run. This year I joined the TriKats which opened up another door for training with others who do more than just run.
Well, I’ll end my intro at this point. Next time I’ll begin by telling how I got organized for my ironman tri. Right now I need to sign off and get dinner made! Until next time…