Camp Cortisol and IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta Training

April 5
If you are interested in attending Camp Cortisol, we would love to have you. So many of us parents are inspired by your story. - Rebecca Lemley

That is a message I received after my story from Children's Hospital Los Angeles was posted. Come to find out it had been passed around by many people throughout the country. I have to be honest it took a few weeks to consider this offer. I kept coming up with excuses: It's too far. I don't know what to expect. I'll be in the middle of training. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Yep, I do believe those words were actually said out loud and in my head. There's a lot that is said in my head, but that would be too long of a blog post.

Ok, well, back to the story at hand.

With my wife's urging ("Why wouldn't you go?) and Rebecca being VERY persuasive, I said yes.

Camp Cortisol, located at Children's Harbor at Lake Martin in Alabama, is a new family camp created by Rebecca for families of children with Adrenal Insufficencies. I was representing the insufficiency of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).
See the bike in the back?
I loaded up my car with the bike, training clothes and those clothes you wear when not training. See, I am wearing a collared shirt in the picture. There was the agonizing in the back of my mind question that went on for quite a ways down the road. "Did I remember my medicine?!?!" (I am sure I am not the only one that thinks worries about that!) There were a couple of messages from The Wife to say that I did indeed forget something (pillow and a blanket), but nothing of importance. The drive was to take about 6 hours-ish with no stops. Hello Kitty insisted on stopping at all three state welcome centers (South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama) and to stop for a lunch. This set us back about 45 minutes.

Around 3:30 p.m. I pulled into the camp, with what I am sure was the most lost look that one could have, to check in. I was in Cabin 5B. This is the view from Cabin 5B:
Next door was Elesha. She is also an adult with Adrenal Insufficiency. She's a runner and one time triathlete!

After prepping dinner I sat down for a nice meal with the Gander family. They came all the way from Texas. We talked about what I am doing and they told me that in the past they have worked medical at IRONMAN Texas in the Houston area.

I looked around and was amazed at the number of families, about 44, and children that were there. That included those with adrenal insufficiencies and siblings. There were infants, toddlers, elementary school aged and pre-teens. Talking with these parents, as it was when I went to Painted Turtle Camp last year, was the most enjoyable time. This went on all weekend. I kept being told, "Thank you for being here and showing us that there are active adults." In return, it was my honor to be there. I enjoyed seeing all those with the medical bracelets and ID. The children would gasp when they saw that I was wearing one, also.
On Saturday, I got up in front of the lunch crowd to talk about who I was, who I now am and what I am doing. No longer was I "The (crazy) man with Hello Kitty," but Brian Hacker who has CAH and is training for a Half-IRONMAN. Rebecca had joked with someone that wouldn't it be funny if I got up on top of a table to get everyone's attention. Well, I didn't know about that conversation, but I did not disappoint her.
While not meeting families and enjoying the littles that were at the camp, I did get in some training for IM 70.3 Augusta. There was running, riding and an open water swim! The run was done in 77 degrees with 87% humidity. The ride was short, but fantastic training for cornering and turns. I think I am now comfortable on the bike. The swim was an experience. I believe it was about .4 miles from shore to buoy and back.
 It was hard to say goodbye, but I needed to head home. After a stop at Piggly Wiggly for a gift, Hello Kitty and I headed to Auburn University for a visit. Being there during a non-football weekend was really enjoyable. Hello Kitty had so much fun! We will need to head there this fall for a game.
We eventually got home around 7 p.m. What a tremendously fun and rewarding weekend. There are too many people to thank and I don't want to leave anyone out. I will thank Rebecca for taking the risk and inviting me to come. I still don't believe what I am doing. Never in my life, well 48 years of it, did I imagine that I would be a beacon of hope for so many.

I can't wait for next year!
Here is a link to my GoFundMe: