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Journey to Ironman: Part 1 of 4

The journey to becoming an Ironman is more than just crossing a finish line at the end of a race, it’s a lifelong adventure of being the best you can be and improving yourself. Every person’s story is unique and everyone has a different reason for wanting to complete the challenge which is known for being one of the most mentally and physically demanding endurance races in the world. Ultimately, I chose to do it for me, follow through with the commitment to myself, and to prove that the body is much more capable than what we realize. Anything is possible, be relentless – this is my journey!

It all started for me when my aunt passed away in Philadelphia with Alzheimer’s two and a half years ago. A couple of months later, I decided to run the 10k Walk or Run For The Cause in Calgary.  I reached out to a good friend of mine who was a runner, he helped me with a zero to 10k plan in eight weeks. I joined a local gym and off I went, not knowing at the time that two and a half years later I’d be doing an Ironman. I played soccer all my life until I was 32 (15 years ago), and then suffered a complete ACL tear to my right knee. I had to stop playing. Running in a straight line was fine with no issues at all, changing direction was the difficult part. I could not move side-to-side without the knee popping. I went through the process of doctor visits, MRIs, surgeon appointments, physio and finally two and a half years later it was repaired (although never the same again).

I’ve always been relatively active and would always be willing to try anything new, yet signing up for the 10k after two and a half years of not doing a whole lot, physically was tough. I was 268 lbs (my heaviest ever) when I first started preparing for this 10k. At the time I had to dig deep as I could barely run for 10 minutes without feeling so out of shape and desperate for my heart to slow down and catch my breath. I’ll always remember fondly taking pics of the treadmill at the three, four, five and finally the 10k mark. It was a tough few months, however I had to do it once I signed up – I also raised $2,500 for the Alzheimer’s Fund through family, friends, and suppliers – thank you to each and every one of you, helped me with reaching that goal. I finished in just over an hour, respectable time for a first timer.

Once that 10k was over with, I decided to continue at the gym with more cardio. Spin class two to three times a week, 6 a.m. starts before work, and then sometimes even go for run on my way home. I felt great, I started to think what goal I could achieve next… Hmm.

I came across a 21.1 km run (half marathon) which was an organized event at the local triathlon store. Why not I thought, however, the doubt was always in the back of my mind – could I run twice as far? You have to be positive and committed, be relentless, be consistent, this event was another 6 months away. I continued on with my four to five times a week routine, felt much more energized, and started to lose a few pounds while doing it. The event came up super quick and here I was in late April 2019, two hours 10 minutes – bang, the starting pistol signaled both the end of one journey and a midway point in another. I felt so accomplished crossing that line, I was now 15 lbs. down and feeling better than ever mentally and physically. My wife was waiting for me as I crossed that line, encouraging me just as she had throughout the entire journey with nothing but positive encouragement.  We drove home from the event and all I could think about was the next step – maybe a Marathon – me, really, are you Sure, why not?

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