IRONODIE ~ Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas

May 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

IMG_4400IronOdie North of Houston, Texas; The Woodlands is home to the 2013 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas.  A crazy triathlon, athletes begin with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-miles on bicycle and ending with a 26.2-mile marathon.  Participants have exactly 17 hours to finish and only 50 qualifiers go on to the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii. 2,818 competed and I was lucky enough to photograph one of these entrants on his 140.6 mile virgin IRONMAN run.  I have never seen anything like this race and it is truly a feat beyond belief.  One word-Atmosphere!

 

Now, meet James Oltman, "Odie" is what everyone knows him as.  First time IRONMAN competitor, and 3 years ago he weighed 281 pounds. Odie is my best friends big Brother and I always remember him being bigger, that has all changed however and he is now a slim & forever changed, triathlon competitor.  Family & Friends gathered from several states to support him and we even had angels with us on race day, as we were amazingly able to locate our IRONODIE 3 times on the bike course, and create some beautiful images.  

 

Here are his words as he explained his amazing journey to me:


"I had always thought about doing triathlons. For many years when I was living in Nebraska I was always intrigued with the sport. Whenever I would get to the decision of doing one, it was always in mid winter when the weather wasn't conducive for training. By the time the weather got nicer, there never seemed to be a level of urgency to my decision, and it always got pushed to the back burner. 

In the winter of 2010 I had ballooned to my highest weight ever 281 pounds. I was never "unhappy" with myself, nor did I ever consider myself "obese". I never had that defining eye opening moment, or health scare or anything along those lines. I had always wanted to get in better shape but had never really had a sense of drive to stick with it once I would try starting. 

 
My old college roommate Jarod had been doing triathlons for a couple years at this point. He has tried talking me into them before, and once again we were having a conversation about them. Living in Texas at the time I knew weather wouldn't be the issue it once was living in the Midwest. So one day I finally just decided I was going to go for it. 

I signed up for the Austin Triathlon that was going to be held Labor Day weekend in the fall of 2010. At this point it would give me 4 months to train for it and see what I could accomplish. I started running, albeit it very slowly, with one of my coworkers who had also been on a weight loss mission. It started off by running a mile without stopping. Then eventually two. I also joined a masters swimming class to learn how to swim properly for racing.

 
Slowly but surely I was able to run farther. The weight was slowly starting to come off. By the time the Austin Triathlon came around I was 50 pounds lighter weighing in at 231. I only signed up for the sprint distance (1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run), and at times it was painful, but I will never forget the feeling crossing the finish line. It was at that exact moment I knew I wanted to go for "it". The Ironman. 
 
I knew it was going to be a journey and a long one at that. However I had never been more committed to something. By the time I ran my first half marathon I was down 60 pounds total. My first half ironman I was down 95 pounds total. When I ran my first marathon I had lost over 100 pounds completely on my own. No fad diets, no surgeries, no reality tv shows. Just staying committed to a goal and combining eating right and exercise. 
 
You will never here my say I am on a diet, because I am not. A diet is something that is temporary. If you want to see results and see them stick, you have to make a lifestyle change. Its one I made 3 years ago, and I haven't looked back. 
 
On May 18, 2013, after many years of hard working and dedication, after 5 half marathon races, 4 half Ironman triathlons, 2 full marathons, and countless shorter races, my dream became a reality. 15 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds after the starting cannon for Ironman Texas went off, I crossed the finish line. 
 
It was a special day, and one I will never forget. But with all that being said, I am already looking forward to the next one!"
 
Thank you Odie, Thank you for letting me travel with your family and capture your amazing day on camera.  It was an experience that you, nor I will ever forget!
 
 
 

Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...
Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February March April May June July August September October (1) November (1) December (2)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February (12) March (2) April May (1) June July August September October November December
January (2) February (1) March (3) April May June July August September October November December
January February March (1) April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December