Sweat fell in pools from his body and he gasped for air. Senior Adam Chinery raised his arms above his head with the finish line in sight.
Running for the line, he couldn’t keep his arms up and slowly they moved to a resting point on top of his head.
Grinning ear to ear, the first thing Adam thought about was food.
He barely heard the announcer call his name and give a shout out to his family nearby. Adam crossed the finish line onto the red carpet and was immediately covered with wet paper towels to cool him down.
He covered 70.3 miles: a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run.
Five hours. Forty-eight minutes. Three seconds.
First in the 19 and under age group.
“My original goal was seven hours,” Adam said. “I hit the finish line and I was exhausted; I basically did nothing for the rest of the week.”
Adam finished the Redman Half-Ironman competition on Nov. 26, 2010.
“This was some crazy idea Adam and his brother Brad had,” Adam’s mother Teri Chinery said. “Brad was still in the Air Force Academy when they had the idea. We spent over two years trying to find a time and a place and then Brad decided to get married so he could not compete with Adam.”
Adam’s older brother Brad Chinery, a Blue Valley graduate, ran a marathon his senior year.
“I remembered that was his big physical thing his senior year,” Adam said. “So I decided to do this.”
For training, Adam chose to mix the schedules of a Half-Ironman and a full Ironman.
Adam would bike to either 259th Street and Metcalf Road or Gardner-Edgerton High School.
A typical Sunday work-out consisted of long runs, sometimes 13.1 miles.
Adam said transitioning from bike to run was one of the toughest aspects of training.
“Your legs are stuck in this rotating motion from cycling for three hours,” Adam said. “After I was finished, I watched the transition and people were literally falling on their faces. I saw a guy flip over his handlebars.”
Adam said the hot summer bike rides taught him important life lessons.
“I had to go off and ride alone– there was a lot of focus on integrity,” Adam said. “It was just me and myself; I had only myself to push myself on.”
In preparation for the Ironman, he decided to buy special biker’s shoes that click onto the bike pedal.
“Originally his transitions took forever,” Adam’s father Mark Chinery said. “Then we got the speed clip shoes and special pedals. The guy told us when we originally got them to stay in the area because you will fall.”
Teri said gravity took over once when Adam was beginning to use the speed-clips.
“I only fell once when I was coming to a stop sign,” he said. “I tried to put my foot on the ground and I just didn’t click out and I fell over.”
On his longest bike rides, Adam had to consume 2,000 to 2,500 calories to sustain energy. His parents became alarmed when they found out Adam had not been doing this.
“During the race they were handing out salt tablets and pickle juice, just trying to get the sodium back in them since they are sweating like crazy,” Teri said.
Adam spent many hours training.
“A lot of it was time,” Adam said. “You go out for a run or a bike and it is three or four hours later.”
Adam experienced different feelings in each of the three race segments.
“Swimming, I was just loving it– nothing but me and other people suffering around me,” he said. “Biking – that was pretty fun, going a lot faster than I thought I would. I was out there just talking to people; it made the time go by faster.”
At the start of the half-marathon, Adam’s confidence began to diminish. But as he pushed on, he began to realize how much he accomplished.
As he raced around the twist and turns of the race he kept one competitor in sight the whole time.
“There was another 17-year-old that I could see, and the whole race I wouldn’t let him pass me,” Adam said. “It was like I’ve come this far and I’m not going to let you win.”