What the Mind Believes… The Body Achieves!
But it’s sure a lot easier with a guy like Jeff in your corner!
In July of 2009 I was introduced to Jeff by a mutual friend and Triathlete. First I should probably tell you a little bit about myself so you have an idea of the challenges Jeff faced at the start of my Cuddeback Journey. For most of my life I had been an out of shape avid golfer (overweight golfer that is), smoked tobacco and enjoyed an occasional beer (ok lots of beer). I like most, knew that I was not in the best of health but like so many people always said to myself tomorrows the day I’m going to start getting in shape and like most, tomorrow never came. Sometimes life throws you a second chance and little did I know on September 29th of 2008, at the age of 39, I was about to get mine.
For about a week in late September of 2008 I had been feeling like I had had the flu or a really bad cold and felt somewhat congested. At the same time I also had what I thought at the time was a muscle strain or cramp in my right calf. On the evening of September 29th I felt dizzy and noticed I was having a hard time catching my breath. Several people have always told me including Jeff to listen to your body and this was one time I was really glad I did and asked my wife to drive me to the hospital. As my wife was driving me to the emergency room and I was struggling to stay conscious all I could think about were my two young children that I had just left at home crying with a friend so my wife could drive me to the hospital emergency room. After checking into the hospital where I remained for the next 7 days I was seen by several specialists. After going through a battery of tests I was diagnosed with having a Pulmonary Embolism (PE or Blood Clots In your lungs) that had developed from a clot breaking free in my leg as a result of having a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The doctors attributed it to inactivity, excessive drinking and smoking and said if I hadn’t come into the hospital that evening I probably would have died in my sleep. I underwent blood therapy for the next 9 months which consisted of high doses of Coumadin and Lovonox to keep my blood thin while my body could naturally dissolve the clots in my leg and lungs. When I checked into the hospital my weight was at an all time high and I was 6’2 – 290.
After going through several months of therapy and receiving a clean bill of health 10 months later (but still on blood thinners) I was downtown in my hometown of Coeur d’Alene watching the 2009 Ford Ironman as I do every year admiring the athletes and their determination. Later that week I bumped into a friend who had qualified for Kona and was our areas top local finisher. He had noticed that I had lost a little weight and heard what had happed. During this time I said I was running a bit trying to stay healthy and had just finished a 12k race and jokingly said “now that I had ran the 12k race my kids think I’m superman and want me to do Ironman”. He quickly said without hesitation “Are you going to do it?” to which I politely responded “Expletive, I wouldn’t even know where to Start!”. Needless to say ten days later I had registered for the 2010 Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene and didn’t even own a bike!
Enter Coach Jeff…
Even though my friend would have been willing to help me train he strongly recommended I get a coach and suggested I talk to Jeff. At first I was somewhat hesitant to call Jeff especially given the fact that I had never even done so much as a sprint triathlon before and had also been dealing with the past health problems. After working up the courage to call what was supposed to be a ten minute conversation ended up being over an hour. After talking with Jeff I was very surprised at how humble and at the same time motivational he was. He didn’t even second guess my decision to try and complete the race even after hearing about my health issues and quickly put me to work swimming, biking and running. Jeff was very good at pushing me to my limits and constantly challenging me every step of the way during my quest to complete The Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene. He has a way of having confidence in you when you may not even have it in yourself and was always available to offer encouragement when you
needed a pick me up. Equally important is Jeff’s ability to recognize that people also need to maintain some type of semblance of a normal life and his ability to allow you to train but also balance your job, family and other day to day things. They say that Triathlon is just as much a mental test as it is physical and I believe this to be true. Having Jeff as a resource to talk to was extremely beneficial to me and he has a way of making every athlete feel like they are his only athlete. I must say and I mean this with unwavering conviction, that aside from my marriage and the birth of my two children, my Journey with Jeff was THE most rewarding experience of my life and I couldn’t have done it without his help. I will never forget what he has done for me and what this experience has done for my family, my relationship with my wife, and what a positive influence this has had on my two young children who just completed their first Triathlons!
I’m, proud to say I am an Ironman and completed my race weighing 185 pounds (100 pounds less than when I started), am no longer on any medication, was third place in the Ironman Health Weight Loss challenge and finished The Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 12:41.15. But I am even more proud to be able to consider and call Jeff Cuddeback my friend and coach. Keep up the good work Jeff you truly do make a difference and the sport is better because of you and the things you do to help people achieve their dreams…….whether they be elite level athletes or regular folks like me with a crazy idea!
THANK YOU JEFF!
Ian Martin – Ironman ‐ Coeur d’Alene Idaho
Races completed on my “Journey with Jeff”
Black Diamond Olympic Distance Triathlon – 9‐27‐2009 – 2h: 49m (Two months after starting training!)
Ironman California Oceanside 70.3 – 3‐27‐2010 – 5h: 48m
St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance Triathlon – 4‐25‐2010 – 2h: 34m
Onionman Olympic Distance Triathlon 5‐30‐2010 – 2h: 30m (11th in AG)
Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene 6‐27‐2010 – 12h: 41m
Coeur d’Alene Olympic Distance Triathlon – 8‐7‐10 – 2h: 32m (7th in AG)
CDA IM 2011 11:36 PR by 65 minutes!!