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- - - - - I must apologize to everyone, but I must postpone my Ironman event until 2013. I have not been training very much, as I am sure you are aware, due to some physical issues that have begun to crop up again. As you know, I am 90% disabled and although I WILL complete this event, I must ensure my success. I have some issues with a re-constructed shoulder and the disc that was replaced has been giving me some issues.
At any rate, I will continue to maintain this site, along with my others and I have decided that I will complete the B2B next year, regardless of my physical condition.
Thank you all for your support thus far and I hope that you will continue to provide your words of encouragement which help motivate me more than you know! - - - - -
First, and most importantly, I want to thank my wonderful wife Tania and daughter Victoria because without their support and understanding, I could never properly commit myself to this challenge. My wife and daughter encourage me to exercise when I'm not feeling up to it and then they have to put up with mess I leave in my wake afterward. I am truly fortunate to have them in my life. They have supported me through many ordeals and have always remained by my side. Thank you, I love you both with all my heart.
My name is Michael Mauldwin, aka ‘Crusty’ during my team days. I joined the Army at the ripe old age of 17 in 1981 and retired in 2009 from Special Forces. Most of my time was spent as an Operator on the teams in 2/7 Special Forces Group (Abn). I was fortunate enough to spend that time in the presence of some of the hardest, most trustworthy and honest men that serve our nation. I'm nearly 50 and I'll be a month shy of 51 by the time I complete this. It's hard to believe that I've been retired for nearly four years.
I am alive today, because of my brothers that covered my left, right, and rear in some extremely hostile environments. I’ve decided to honor those men, friends and families by undertaking a mission that will test not only me as an individual, but also my fortitude and my mental and physical states as well. Although I have never undertaken anything of this magnitude, I will complete a full Ironman Triathlon to honor our Special Operations family and the memory of my 27 friends who have been KIA.
If you are not familiar with an Ironman Triathlon, like all triathlons, it includes three events: swimming, biking and running. These three events are conducted back to back with no rest or breaks in between. The Ironman is not only the hardest, it is the longest triathlon, a true endurance competition. You have only 17 hours to complete all three events while covering the required distances with no outside assistance:
Swim: 2.4 miles Bike: 112 miles Run: 26.2 miles
I will be dedicating my participation to the friends that I have lost along with the countless other Operators who have been injured or killed in Afghanistan and / or Iraq, as well as to the families who have lost their husbands, fathers and sons.
I went through nine major surgical procedures in as many months just before I retired in October 2009. Those surgeries included Facial Reconstruction, five Septorhinoplasty procedures, right shoulder reconstruction, disc replacement, and a few others that were mandatory to keep me ticking. I’ve been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Brain Disorder, Post Traumatic Chronic Headache, a Higher Cognitive Learning Disorder, Short Term Memory Loss (Unless you ask my wife, then it's long term) and a multitude of other closely related issues. The Veterans Administration ultimately rated me as 90% disabled.
"I’m not nearly as young and agile as I used to be, but I am persistent. If I appear to be reacting like a cockroach that’s been sprayed, just stand back and give me a minute or two, I’ll be fine!"
After some prolonged physical therapy, I decided to do something about my physical condition on my own. I began swimming to help my shoulder, not only to “teach” it how to work again, but also to relieve the strain on my left shoulder which I had been using for many years to compensate for the right’s failure. The damage to my right shoulder is permanent and has limited my range of motion which makes swimming very difficult, especially since I’m right handed. As with most retirees, my knees hurt badly while running, so I purchased a road bike and began riding to augment my swimming. The riding has helped my knees and provided me with a means to stay better fit. I believe my knees have actually regenerated, to some degree, because now they only sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies that is half full of milk. I have also begun running again and my longest distance to date, has been just over 11 miles, albeit at a much slower pace than my previous sub-eight minute miles (Give me a break, I’m nearly 51!)
I began my training on November 1, 2011, but due to some issue I've had to push it to the right. I continue to run and ride but swimming is somewhat of a pain, literally. My training plan is a three-phase program. Phase I will end with the completion of an Olympic Triathlon, perferably in Pine Hurst. Phase II will end with the completion of the ½ Ironman at White Lake, NC in May 2013. Phase III will begin immediately following that and will culminate in October 2013 with the Beach2Battleship Ironman Triathlon in Wilmington, NC. This will be an open water (ocean) swim. I just "love" swimming with the big fish. I will complete several Sprint Triathlons during the 2013 season as well to gain more experience in event execution.
I have 16 months to train for this event and I will require every opportunity to do so. I want to raise funds in memory of those who have given their lives and for those whose lives have been changed by their commitment to the principles and beliefs of our warrior society. I can think of no better way to do that other than to undertake a challenge that honors our way of life in the same fashion that we live it. A way of life forged of loyalty and a sense of obligation, determination and an unwavering dedication that is mentally challenging and physically exhausting.
I hope that you will accompany me in what I am calling the "First Annual Ironman Triathlon Honorarium", or FAITH, either physically, or in thought. I pray that you will join with me in memorializing those who have suffered an injury or whose names are now etched on the walls of those very special places, found in each one of us.
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation mission is devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent while serving in Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations during an operational or training mission. The forces covered by the Foundation include Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, Marine Force Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces (Green Berets), Navy Special Boat Units, Special Operations aviation units and others throughout multi-service Special Operations organizations.
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), a four-star nonprofit organization as rated by Charity Navigator for seven consecutive years, supports the families of fallen and wounded Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
First, thank you for taking the time to visit my SOWF site. Donations can be made by selecting the green “Donate” button at the lower right side of the page. This is a secure donation and it can be made using your credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover).
I encourage everyone to come out and participate with me for either the White Lake or Wilmington triathlons! If you want more info, or would like to contact me directly, please feel free to email me at Fallen Heroes Memorial Ironman 2012. You can also visit my Facebook site: Fallen Heroes Memorial Ironman.
Whether or not you choose to make a donation, please take a moment and forward this link to your family and friends that may wish to support our Special Operations soldiers. I truly believe that remembering our fallen heroes and their loved ones is worth our efforts, regardless of how large or small they may be. I have FAITH that you do, too.
You can follow my progress at My Triathlete Training Site or provide additional support through your comments on my Fallen Heroes Memorial Ironman Facebook site that I have established. I also send out notices on Twitter and I'm looking into possibly a Dailywire site soon as well.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of our retirees, veterans and those still serving for your dedication to mission and each other. Our service to our country has earned Americans the right to benefit from freedoms not recognized in many other countries. When our great nation was forged, God held the hammer. You can see his impact on our nation in nearly every one of our historical documents, our monies, and throughout our lands. Thank you for your service and
GOD BLESS AMERICA
God remains a part of my life and should my writing this offend some "Anti-God" movement, please feel free to undertake some judicial action. I'll more than willing to reverse the tables and sue you for impedance of my religious beliefs since I have earned the right and you, I'm willing to bet, are merely the recipient of someone else’s commitment and sacrifice.
De Oppresso Liber
J. Michael Mauldwin
Follow the First Annual Ironman Triathlon for Heroes (FAITH) progress here!!
Follow my progress on Beginner Triathlete
Follow my progress on Facebook