I started doing triathlon events in 1989 and was hooked for life. This was a long time before I got into the timing business. I progressed normally through the sprint events to Olympic to eventually attempting my first Half-Ironman event in 1992 and a full Ironman in 1993, completing at the same time my first marathon.
I use to hate running back then. I was a good swimmer, a good biker, but I always suffered on the run. I was racing 15 times per year and only running during the triathlon events I was doing. During the last two years towards my Ironman journey, I started working with Sportstats in 1992 and eventually acquired the company with my life partner Isabelle in 1995. We tied the knot in 1997 and had our first child in 1998. As the business and the family grew rapidly, so did my weight gain. In 1993 I was around 180lbs and in pretty good shape at 23. I could swim 4km in about 52-54 minutes, bike under 5 hours and run a sub 4-hour marathon off the bike.
The motivation for doing another Ironman did not come until 2000 after we had our second child and Isabelle also started racing triathlon. I registered for Ironman Florida 2001—1 year in advance. I was over 210-pounds at that point and decided to give it a go. I recall enjoying the training, but as soon as that event was done, the motivation for swimming, biking and running faded away.
Our business at that point had grown from 42 events in 1995 to about 150 events in 2001. At that point we had more than doubled the size of the company and by 2007 we had doubled it again to 300 events. We also moved out of the home office to a warehouse location with more staff/space at that time.
I tried running again in 2011 when I was lucky enough to get a spot for me and Isabelle in the New York City Marathon. I actually really enjoyed getting back into shape (215lbs to 190lbs by the Marathon). The experience of running that event was incredible and definitely one for the bucket list. Soon after the appetite for running and motivation faded away once again.
Our business was also booming: growing to 500 events in 2012 to 600 events in 2013 and 800+ events by 2015, all by rapid growth and acquisition. On January 1st, 2015, I stepped on the scale and for the first time ever saw 230 pounds. It is at that moment that everything changed. I decided to that I would get back in shape, eat better, sleep better and start running/racing again. I signed up right away for a Ironman 70.3 in August to keep me motivated all summer.
It’s at that point as well that I cut 100% of my soda intake (from 3-4 per day to 0), reduced sugar and processed foods.
Racing a few events in 2015 and seeing many of my friends that were racing back in the 90’s still at it kept me motivated. In December of 2015, I joined the 100 run-in-100 days program develop by my friend Dev Paul. He created this about 10 years ago for us Canadians needing a little motivation to run in snow and cold winters. I was able to complete about 70 runs out of the 100 days and actually planned for and looked forward to each of my runs.
For the first time I can say I am finally enjoying running. I did my first interval with Rick Hellard’s Group of Zone3sports a few weeks ago and did not die. I was able to drop 50 pounds (230 to 180) over the course of 18 months racing and training again. The motivation is there and I’m looking forward to several more years of keeping fit and improving my running.
The speed is finally coming back. I competed in a local sprint triathlon last weekend (The Canadian) put on by our friends at Somersault and was able to have the fastest swim and bike time and ended up second overall—just nine seconds back. My run is finally coming together: running sub-5min-per-km off the bike.
I am managing to run 3-4 times per week right now and yes, I love running—I am hooked. And if I want to do better in 2017 in Triathlon I got the nail the running part. I am healthier, fitter and enjoying all of this once again. I am finishing writing this on a flight to Vancouver to meet with our Sportstats West team for the day and then off to Kona for the Ironman World Championship.
I am looking forward to all my training, runs and everything else. I even plan runs in advance looking forward to new courses, new trails and new events I can do. So to anyone that currently find running hard or is having difficulty getting motivated, set yourself some short time and long time goals, take it literarily one step at a time!
Hope to see you at the races, on the start line this time!