Thursday, May 7, 2009

Awesome story!

I subscribe to the blog, and this was their post today...AMAZING!

Traumatic brain injury victim David McGuire recovers to race with TrainingPeaks

Posted: 06 May 2009 02:35 PM PDT

image In 2005, David McGuire suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of blunt force trauma to his head. His brain started to swell so much that a large section of his skull had to be removed for 28 days. Now, although he can no longer form new memories, David uses TrainingPeaks to help remind him what he is training for: the Ironman.

After the accident, David was a different person. “I am released from the hospital a person with disability. My brain has lost all of its memories; how to walk, how to talk, how to taste, how to avoid hazards… During my time in the hospital and in my recovery, my job was outsourced and my apartment was sold. So I woke up with no home, no job, and no memory. At least I didn’t remember how bad things were!”

Although his memory was initially completely destroyed, David was eventually able to recall some long term memories. “I now suffer from what is called short term memory loss. My long term memories have been somewhat restored. Things like the ability to speak English. I have remembered my family, and my home. What happens now is that when I wake up tomorrow, I have no memory of what happened today. I know longer make ‘new memories.’ Think of the movie Memento.”

In addition to his short-term memory, David lost his sense of direction. “I have also lost my internal GPS. I no longer have any sense of direction. This can be troublesome when biking for 4-6 hours or running for more than hour.”

His sense of direction and memory were not the only things that changed for David, however. “Before my accident I was an office worker in a cubicle. I spent my time at work on a computer, and at home playing video games. I was the textbook example of a couch potato. I liked fast food, I liked junk food, and I was a homebody. I was not in very good shape… After my accident I had a peculiar moment. It happened one day I was at my parent’s house. They were my caretakers as not only had my apartment been sold, but I was unable to take care of myself. I required home care.”

“On this day my parents were out at work. They live in a very small town, where the transit system is every hour for only peak hours. I was reliant on them to do anything. I had spent years being independent and I was frustrated. You see I needed a haircut. I thought well I will just go and get a haircut.”

“I put on some jeans and t-shirt, I put on some shoes (not running shoes) and I went out. I managed to run all the way to the barber and I got my hair cut. As I left the barber however, my brain had deleted all memory of where I had come from, where I was, and where I was going. The only thing I knew was that I ran to the barber. I knew this because I was talking to the barber when he asked me why I was so winded. So I just started running. I figured I would eventually find my way home.”

“By trial and error and several hours later I found my way home, much to relief of my family. They were upset, and relieved, but still a little livid. I didn’t care though. I was elated, I found a new freedom. I could run, I could go anywhere, I didn’t need a bus, I didn’t need a car, and I didn’t need a ride. I could go anywhere. I could do this all by myself. Freedom!!”

Starting with that run home from the barber, David started running all the time and keeping track of his workouts in a day planner to remind him what he had done. One day, he went to visit his sister and showed her his log.

image “While I am visiting my sister, the big marathon runner in the family, one night we are sitting around and I am showing her my intense day planner. She makes a statement that I still remember to this day: ‘You run more than I do.’”

“This caught me off guard as I never saw myself as a runner. I mean a marathon was something almost biblical, it was impossible. I was however intrigued. So my sister and I came up with the idea of running a marathon together. We chose Chicago; my sister had run it before and really loved it.”

“It was on; I contacted a local Running Room. I got fit for shoes and gear and signed up for a Marathon clinic. I have never looked back. 18 weeks later, I ran my first marathon in Chicago, in 2006: a little less than a year after I was told I might never walk or talk again.”

From his first marathon with his sister, David started looking for more, and decided to try a triathlon. However, he knew that because of his disability, he would need to plan very carefully in order to accomplish his goal. “Now because of my disability, I can’t just jump into things. I need to plan, organize, study, research, and test. I read everything, I look at everything, I find the best bike store, I find the best products, I find the best people. I buy books, I buy magazines, I find websites, and resources. I take all these ingredients put them together and then start baking my goals.”

During this process, David discovered a special book that helped him prepare for his first Olympic distance triathlon. “In this research I found what is considered the ‘must have’ book of training for triathlons. It was the The Triathlete’s Training Bible 2nd edition by Joe Friel. Everything anyone needs to know to finish a triathlon is in this book.”

After discovering Joe Friel’s book and completing his first Olympic-distance triathlon in Vancouver in 2008, David made the decision to try an Ironman. “After some really long nights and a lot of talks with my family, I decided to try an Ironman. You see instead of thinking about all the things I can’t do, why not try to push the limits of the things I can do? I can swim, I can bike, and I can run. I love the training life style. I like the setting of goals. Let’s push the limits physically as I have reached what I can do mentally. Ironman here I come.”

To help with his preparation for Ironman, David applied the same level of intense research he uses with everything else, and found his way to Training Bible Coaching, TrainingPeaks, and training devices like the Garmin 705. “These are not just fancy toys for me, these are a necessity. Without them, I don’t know where I am, what I am doing, or how to get back.”

image Through TrainingPeaks, David has found the coaching guidance that he needs. “Well I have a fantastic coach #1; while we have never met I feel a level of connection. Carla Hastert has taken the time to make sure my specific needs are taken care of. I am what is called a high needs individual. I need to be told things over and over again because I forget. Carla is patient, understanding, and clear.”

In addition to the personal connection that he feels with his coach, David really appreciates the technology side of TrainingPeaks. “To add to the incredible charisma of my coach, is the technical ability of the training. You see Carla gets all the data from my Garmin devices, through TrainingPeaks. These are so easy to upload (with maps no less) she can then inspect a whole bunch of information, and email me specific workouts to do.”

David also clearly enjoys the tracking functionality of TrainingPeaks. “I can also keep track of my goals, my workouts, and upload and download data to it as well. I can save all my workouts, this was important because my computer had to be repaired. I lost all my data on my computer. I was able to go to TrainingPeaks and have all my data restored.”

The combination works perfectly for David. “With the relationship between Training Peaks and Training Bible Coaching plus the Garmin it is like having my own coach. It is much more than downloading a workout schedule. It is individual daily workouts that are specific for you, based on the information that is provided to the coach. Distances, efforts, intensity, all of this is taken in by my coach and then she sends me detailed workouts.”

“I know exactly what to do, what to focus on, and I get world-class information that covers all my specific needs. As I run or bike I can hear Carla every time my Garmin’s beep at me to slow down, or speed up, cycle faster, or just keep going. In a way I am taking my coach on the road with me.”

“What the Training Bible Coaching allows for me to do, as a guy with half a brain, and living off a very low income, is to follow my dreams. I get a world class coach; I get world class advice, from a person who has been specifically trained for training Ironman athletes, at a cost that even I can afford. There is no way I would be able to do what I can do without TrainingPeaks, The Training Bible Coaching, Garmin and most of all my Coach Carla Hastert.”

“Thank you TrainingPeaks.”

It's been too long since my last post, and I have much to report. More on that soon. Maybe even later today.


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