Smitty Smith

I was born, raised, and live in the "Village" (New Iberia) with my wife Shawn, and beautiful daughter Emma.  I should have known I had issues from the outset.  As a young boy, I rode the wheels completely off of three "big wheels" (those three wheeled plastic trikes that were just low enough so that most vehicles couldn't see you).  From there, I moved up to a BMX and would ride and ride and ride....and ride (no I'm not OCD/ADD, they didn't have that back then!).  My graduation present was a used girls road bike (I was a wee lad - and still am).  When I moved to BR (large village on the river) after college, I was hit by a car and quit riding.

Age and a few pounds later.  I decided I had to get moving again.  I started running - ha!  More like a jog/pant/puke situation.  I could barely make it around the block whenever I first started.  To motivate myself I signed up for a 5K.  I called my wife before the start and was in full panic mode, telling her I didn't think I could even finish the race and would embarrass myself.  3.1 miles later, I finished, and had won my age group.  You really don't know what your body will give you or can do, until you ask.

Well, I could now run (without puking), had some experience on the bike, and had heard about this traithlon thing.  So, why not?  As fate would have it, I went into Precision Bikes the first day he opened with my old used road bike in tow.  I asked some dude that looked like Antonio Banderas if he could get her road worthy again.  I'm sure he was real impressed by a scrawny lil fool with an old rusty/dusty/rotted girls road bike.  Nonetheless, he smiled and got my bike ready.  I did my first triathlon not long after and was hooked.  I had fished Kona for years and had heard about those fools that bike up to Hawi and back, then run a marathon all in the Kona heat/wind.  Hell that's a long ride in a jeep.  I decided to jump off the deep end and set my sights on becoming an Ironman.  I had done a mini tri, how hard could a full blown Ironman be?

First, I had to see what a marathon felt like.  I should have skipped that part.  I finally carried my butt into a shoe store, to be told that my Nikes were 2 sizes too small - got my first pair of Brooks that day.  I purchased a new tri-bike from Miller at Precision Bikes (still a pseudo girls bike - 650 wheels and well at least it wasn't used).  I then found a training partner and mentor (a fool that had done one of these before).....Ben Hawn.

Well, my first marathon turned out to be the St.. Judes Marathon.  It was awesome.  I raised a pile of money for the hospital and they let me meet the kids and I even got to run wearing one of their hospital bracelets.  Every time I suffered, I thought of those poor kids fighting cancer and sucked it up.  Something I still do to this day.  I made friends with pain that day....and as such have never been alone since!  At the end, all I could think was, holy $$$$, I have to do this after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112.  No way!

If my memory doesn't fail me, I think I threw in another marathon along the way and plenty of training.  I know, I know....this is supposed to be a bio.  You'll soon see where I'm going with this.  It's always a journey mate....always a journey.

In the end, I crossed the line at Ironman Florida, side by side with my friend/coach Ben Hawn.  It was a surreal experience and I wanted more.  Like a man lost in the dessert, whose torrid thirst drives him forward.....I wanted more.

So, 5 Ironmans later, my appetite wasn't satiated.  I decided to jump into the ultra running scene.  Ultra's are any races beyond 26.2 miles.  It takes an idiot to run 26.2 miles, but it takes a special kind of idiot to run beyond that.  I will steal my favorite runners quote and twist it...Emil Zatopek, "If you want to win something, run a 5K.  If you want to experience something, run an ultra!"

The ultra race circuit is the antithesis of Ironman/Triathlon.  It is so understated out there, and the only competition is against oneself and the trail.  Like marriage, having children, or sex......you can read all you want about it, but until you experience it....enough said!

So, here I sit, having gone from big wheels to 100 mile runs.  The one thing I know for certain is that you cannot do anything without support.  The support of family, friends, training partners, and the advice of those that have been there before.  I am a firm believer that when it comes to preparation/training, one size does not fit all.  You have to take all the advice in, all the gearhead jargon for what it is, all the training programs that tell you to run a 6:15 pace for "X" miles, and make it your own.

As the Kenyans say, "Let the run come to you Mon!".  So too with training.  It will take time to learn what you need.  Running, biking, or whatever activity you choose can help you to understand just who you are and what your limits are.  Once you know those, you can push them.  To truly know who you are, you have to find out who you are not.  The usefulness of the glass is never in the glass itself, but in the emptiness within.  Until you go overflow that glass, you will never know your limits.

I'll end this dissertation/bio with some ancient musings and my pre race prayer:

Man - a being in search of meaning, that man is wisest, who like odysseus, realizes that wisdom is worthless. The true measure of a man is what he does with POWER! Life is an unfoldment, to understand things that lie at our door...is the best preparation to understand that which lies beyond...the unexamined life is not worth living! For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories. Because beyond the horizon there may be defeat...some men stay...If God lay beyond this starting line...I will go...I will go! NOW TO THE BATTLE...and if the mongoose should die on this trail, let it be like this...remembering those that he has loved and those who loved him, forgiving his enemies, and grateful for having shared the trail with both the butterfly and the snake .... and if he should live....the same!

I hope to see old friends and make new ones at the Geaux Run shop.  Those who want more tales to boggle the mind, should share some trail with me.  Believe in yourself, and GEAUX RUN!

Oh I almost forgot the bio part:

Height:  5' nothing
Weight:  100+ pounds  (just slightly more than my german shepherd)
Age:  40+ years on mother earth
Sex:  Once in Mamou
5 - Ironmans (yes I have the corporate logo on my body)
12 - marathons (I think - thats how many medals I found)
6 - 50K's (should have just done 50 - 5k's)
5 - 50 milers
1 - 12 Hour Race (67 miles)
3 - 100 milers (21, 23, and 28 hours)
1 - Rat Race (and da rats are winning - all good, not sure I want to break the tape in this one yet)