THE CHALLENGE

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Alright, here it is… the thing I have been most excited to propose all year. I’ll need everyone involved to pull this one off! Wait, don’t stop reading, hear me out! First, I’m going to propose the challenge. Then, I’ll explain why I am so excited about it.

The Challenge:

The Kansas City Marathon on October 18, 2014. Yes, I want YOU to participate. I would love for all of you to run the marathon, but I know most people won’t want to even attempt it. Fortunately, on that same date they offer a 5k (3.1 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles), the marathon (26.2 miles) and the team relay marathon (five legs with different distances).  This race is Kansas City’s biggest running event, with 15-20,000 people participating each year. Plus, about 3 times that many people line the streets of Kansas City to cheer you on.  It is really a sight to see!

If 40 people agree to join #TeamBlue, I will do something I swore I would never do again. I will run the marathon in full police uniform for the second time. At this point, all you have to do is send me a message on Facebook or email policemankeegan@gmail.com with what distance you are willing to do and who is coming with you. I will provide a 12 week training program for the distance to help you along the way. Get your family involved, no one says you have to run the 5k, you can even walk it. Once I know how many people want to participate in this challenge, I will contact the Kansas City Sports Commission to see about the best way to sign the team up for the event (I’ll see what kind of discount we can get as well). I will also get t-shirts made for the race so we can see and cheer on our fellow #teamblue members.

Why I want you to participate in the challenge:

For your health. Most people don’t know or remember, but in 2010 I was 50 pounds heavier. That summer I decided to make a change and did it in a crazy way. I began training for the Kansas Ironman 70.3. It was my first triathlon and I went big! I hadn’t swam any real distance, rode a bike more than 5 miles at a time or ran more than 4 miles, but I finished! I’ve never looked back. When you make the decision to lose weight and set a goal it is the most gratifying thing in the world. I never felt better, I had more energy for enjoying the small things in life.

Most of us can stand to lose a few pounds, and to improve our overall fitness – having a goal and some support along the way is a great way to accomplish this task.

So what do you say? Make this the year you get healthy? C’mon, let’s do this!

Of course, my hope is all of this will also give exposure to the charities I’ve been fundraising for this year. With your help, we can really raise some money! We can do this several ways. You can help raise money by sending others to my website to donate or you can set up your own fundraising site (I can help) and we can track donations that way. Our law enforcement, military, and firefighter families need our help.

Please give this some thought and join #teamblue to make a difference in your own life, and in the life of a family who really needs it.

Thank you everyone for reading this and for your support.

Keegan

2014 Kansas Ironman 70.3

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It had been three weeks since the Rev3 Knoxville Championship race and I was back on familiar ground at the Kansas Ironman 70.3.  This would be my fourth time at this race.  In 2011, this was my first ever triathlon.  Go big or go home I guess, since most logical people start with a sprint triathlon and here I was at a Half-Ironman.  In 2012, my second time at this event, I had my first and only DNF (did not finish). It was a very hot and windy day that forced me to quit two miles into the run.  So yes, every time I race this event I am very nervous.  This year I felt I was in the best shape of my life and was ready to have a great day, except for the fact I was fighting off a head cold and an upset stomach.  I said many prayers to feel better and on race day and I did!  One other great thing about this race, for the first time ever, I had a friend racing with me.  Wendi Winans, a fellow police officer, and it was her first time at a Half Ironman.  Between her family, friends, and my family we had 35 people there cheering for us.  This was a first for me.  It is great to have so many people there to motivate and push me – it truly made a difference!

Race morning:

I was able to get a full eight hours of sleep the night before and was feeling great.  I got all my items into the transitions and walked down to the swim.  It was great to see the water so calm.  At Clinton lake it is a crap shoot weither or not the water will be rough or calm.  The other great thing is that the high was to be around 75 degrees and we were to have cloud cover most of the day. 

The Swim:

As always my age group is the last two swim waves to take off.  I felt great on the swim.  The water stayed calm until I got to the turn around and that is where it got a little rough.  I got out of the water 5 seconds faster than last year.  I got out of the water and, as usual, walked to transition to get into bike mode.  (Most people run.)  I use this time to catch my breath and regain energy to take on the bike course.

The Bike:

The bike course is a series of rolling hills with about two or three good hills.  One of which being at mile 50 when your legs are already yelling at you.  I take off and for the first 20 miles I am absoloutly killing it.  This is when I realize that I made a critical mistake.  Due to the cooler tempatures, I failed to hydrate adaquetly.  My stomach began to turn and it really slowed me down.  I kept forcing Gatorade and water down to catch up but by this point it is too late.  I finish at 3 hours and 5 minutes only 5 minutes slower than last year.  I truly feel that if I had been drinking correctly I would have had my best bike ever.
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The run:

At this point my stomach hurts so bad that even though I try to drink, it just makes it worse.  Time to put on the uniform and tough it out.  Like Tony Start  and the Ironman Suit,  I put on my Police Uniform except my super power today happens to be not puking. I just run. At the start of the second lap dehydration catches up and forces me to walk a lot more that I want to.  It gets to the point that after two minutes of running my stomach and back cramps so bad I can barley breath.  But I push on, I have a mission to accomplish.  I am doing this not for me anymore but for all those families.   With our huge cheering squad, there was someone cheering around every corner.

The finish:
I finish about 10 minutes slower than last year. This really makes me mad knowing that if I would have hydrated properly, I would have had my first sub 6 hour finish. We always make mistakes during a race but I always tell myself – it isn’t only how you finish it is how you ran the race. I finished in just enough time to catch my breath and watch Wendi cross the finish line for the first time. Go Wendi! She swears she will never do it again. Yep, I say that after every race and well now I have 7 half ironman finishes.

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The Rant:
First of all this is not complaining it is just personal thoughts about the toughness of fund raising. When I first started this I did not know how tough fundraising would be. I figured that once people saw me finish at one of these races they would just donate. Boy was I wrong. I have yet to receive a donation that has not come from a person who is further than 2 degrees of separation from me. I was shocked. I really did not want to rely on my friends and family for the donations but thankfully they have come through. I have even had business promise a donation one of which I even put their logos on a banner yet to only have them not donate after several promises. I just keep thinking that between my fundraising Facebook and Twitter accounts I have over 600 followers and if 100 of those people gave $25.00 that would be $2500. I know 100 won’t donate but I have very generous donors who far exceed a $25 donation. So please I ask you, if you have made it this far in the blog – please donate to one of the great charities at http://www.policemankeegan.com. It is tax deductible and for a good cause. Thanks for the read and stay tuned because next week I have a challenge for everyone.

Rev3 Championship and some other thoughts

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First off, let me say I am a cop not a wordsmith.  When I write, I write to detail the events of a crime and keep it simple. After the last race, I felt I needed to start a blog to detail my races and better share what I am doing.  Maybe give everyone a better idea of what this is all about.

The race is the Revolution 3 (Rev3) Triathlon Series Championship.  To qualify you were given points based upon your finish and had to have at least completed two races in the series.  I qualified at Branson and Wisconsin Dells both doing the 70.3 distance.  Rev3 is a smaller but is still a large triathlon series mostly held on the eastside of the country. 

Pre-race:  We go to the expo which is located at the World Fair Park in Knoxville, TN.  A cool little park just outside of downtown.  We get checked in and get the bike off for mandatory bike check in the day before the race. I check to see how many people are in the Championship race and was a little upset that only 88 people took advantage of it.  I mean at Ironman’s championship races there are over 2000 athletes. I know I just compared David to Goliath.  The expo was a little small but gave the Rev3 rock star atmosphere.  After the check in there was nothing to do but make sure I had everything and just relax.  My favorite thing to do.  We walked to the swim area at which time I notice that 75% of the swim appeared to be up stream against the current.  Well, that sucks because my swim has been slowly deteriorating.  Guess who is in a bad mood now?  This guy!! Well, nothing I can do about that.

Race day:

Of course I wake up before the alarm. Why? Because no matter when I set an alarm, I always wake up before it.  I wake up the most beautiful supportive, coach, wife, cheerleader in the triathlon world to get this party started.   We walk from our hotel room to the transition where I get all my stuff set up for the day.  You know, Red Bull, energy food, shoes, drinks, oh and a full police uniform.  Who doesn’t take one of those to a triathlon.  We walk to the swim start and I immediately notice the river current HAS CHANGED DIRECTIONS!!!!.  Now 75% of the swim is with the current. I don’t try to explain it, I just enjoy it. That is on the same level as  winning the lottery in my book.

Swim: 1.2 miles

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I get in the water and wow it’s cold.  They said 68 degrees but I wow that felt much colder even in a wet suit.  The swim starts and it takes me about 10 minutes to catch my  breath because it was so cold and I am fighting for a swim path.  At the halfway point I get passed BY A GIRL and they started three minutes behind us.  Well I should say I was in shock but not really there are some really fast women out there and I am not so fast.  I get out at 37 minutes, which is about 4 minutes slow for me and I shouldn’t really point out that I swam with the current.  I was hoping for 4 minutes faster. 

Bike: 40 miles

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The bike course is through the Tennessee country side and has 2500 feet of elevation gain over 40 miles.  Kansas Ironman 70.3 only has 1200 feet of elevation gain over 56 miles so this course is hilly.  To make it worse, the down hills were blind S-curves so you couldn’t go all out.  I just did my thing an rode what I thought would be an 18mph average speed.  WRONG it was 16.7.  I am guessing Rev3 added some miles to the bike course and can be the only logical explanation for my slow time. 

Run: 10 miles

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This is what we came here for.  I get in to transition and like Clark Kent I went from normal triathlete to POLICEMAN KEEGAN.  Well other than a bunch of strange looks and a lot of extra weight I am just the same.  I take off and feel great.  I ran for all but one minute of the 10 mile course.  I was expecting my time to be great because of that.  NOPE it was 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Please don’t do the math it is too embarrassing. Once again, I am led to believe that Rev3 secretly added miles to the course. Some of the best parts of running in uniform is the crowd and athlete support.  It truly is a motivator.   

Finish: Yep, I finished did you expect any other outcome?  OK, OK, I finished last in my age group and including all the men and women in the championship race there were only 16 who finished after me.  Luckily there was two other distance races going on so there were people to talk to on the course. I don’t do these events to win, I do them to raise awareness and money for the families of fallen police and firefighters.  People always ask me why and it is the same reason I put on the uniform every night I work.  I do it because there are people out there who need our help and someone needs to do it.   

Rev3 Soap Box:  First let me say I had a chance to be on the Rev3 age group team. Which is a sponsorship and in triathlon that is huge.  I was asked if I would be willing to take off the uniform to be a part of the team and just race for them.  Well NO THANK YOU.  I was surprised when they asked me that since I clearly stated in my application that I would not do that and I still made the first round of cuts.  In my head I figured it would be good PR for them to assist an athlete such as myself, but that is why I am a cop and not in business.  I am not mad, I understand their view.  With that let me say Rev3 is hands down the best triathlon series in the business.  They treat everyone like rock stars and give a personalized race experience like no other.  That is why I can’t figure out why they struggle to get 600 people at an event. When the series owner (Charlie Patten Jr.) rides the course and says hi to the athletes and calls out by name the ones he knows, it makes you feel special.  He actually cares about what he is doing.  They truly offer a one of a kind race experience that other series can’t even touch.  Once you race Rev3 you will never look back. There are so many benefits to racing Rev3, I just wish they had more races in my area that I could enter.