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    Posted February 3, 2012 by
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: Triathlon Challenge

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    From Fat College Grad to Ironman

    My journey into triathlon started simple enough — when I was eight I would run outside, bike to the city pool, and swim all afternoon each summer. I would spend so much time at the pool that I would go through multiple ear infections.

    Like most men in college I ignored cardiovascular fitness and focused on lifting weights. A lot. I started power-lifting and ballooned up to 240 lbs. I got married, graduated, and really never concerned myself with the five components of fitness. I knew I could bench 300 lbs. and that was about all that mattered. I never got my body fat tested, but I am sure it was super high.

    Sometime around there I got bit by the running bug. I am not sure why I got decided to start running, but I did. I trained for a half marathon in my first season and ran it in the Clydesdale division and finished in 2:10. I was pretty proud of my time and decided I should start training for a marathon the next year.

    So in 2002 I ended up running the St. George Marathon in 4:38. My goal was a 4:00 and I obviously missed that. I had a training schedule I followed from Runner’s World and it helped me finish. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. But there was that little piece of me that was left unfulfilled.

    I kept running through the next couple of years. I skipped the marathon in 2003 because of the constant pain I found myself in. I loved to train, but found that my body didn’t love training for the marathon distance. My max was about 30 miles per week at the 200 lbs. mark where I was maintaining. I started to educate myself about training methods and strategies and nutrition, both during the run and at the table.

    In January 2004 I started to train again for the St. George Marathon. I trained with my buddy Marion who was the CFO for a client of mine and an Ironman. He was my endurance sports hero. At the age of 40 he had done it all and I decided I wanted to be him. His patience helped me train throughout the year and hit my still standing PR of 3:58 at the marathon a couple of months later. But then he gave me an even greater gift.

    He talked me into starting to train for triathlons. I started to educate myself on training strategies, and then I hit the road. I started to change my body type. In May 2005 I completed my first triathlon — the St. George Tri. It wasn’t my fastest and I even walked my bike up a 9% grade hill. But my body started to change.

    I raced various distances through the next couple of years and felt fantastic while training. I got past the point where I would be sore while training. I would be exhausted at the end of the day, and I love the feeling of two a day workouts. I found my home in triathlon and my body reacted well.

    Then in the fall of 2009 IMNA announced the Ironman St. George race. I was on the road for work (surprise for those of you who follow http://26.2ismycooldown.com) and decided it was time. I would be 39 years old for my first Ironman, but I had the miles in my legs.

    Triathlon is one of the greatest sports around because you can compete against yourself and the clock instead of everyone else out there on the course. Then again, if you want you can compete against other racers too. The triathlon community is a family and you can always find someone else who is at your same skill level and personality.

    I am not the smartest guy on the course, but I do take the time to educate myself about out sport and best practices associated with effective training. Triathlon will give back 100% of what you put into it. Good luck on your journey to better health and a better you!
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