Well folks, this past Sunday marked the culmination of this crazy journey we know as #Support322!
Jack has lost a total of 70 pounds and completed his first ever triathlon, all in 5 months! It’s been inspiring to watch Jack’s transformation, and even more so to see him cross that finish line in 3 hours and 47 minutes! Considering he ran the longer international leg of the race and this being his first ever triathlon, finishing under 4 hours was an amazing feat.
I had the opportunity to chat with Jack about triathlon race day and am happy to share his experience with you:
Jack: I was really happy to have run that final stretch (as opposed to crawling or limping), especially with so many friends and family cheering me on, and especially setting an example for my two boys waiting for me at the finish line.
SG: I know swimming was the one part that you were dreading, how was that experience?
Jack: It was actually great, probably my best time considering I did not have the time to learn a freestyle swim technique. I managed to stay on a constant pace with a breast stroke and am proud of my swim result.
When I saw that yellow buoy coming close, I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case it wasn’t the final turn. When I realized that it was, I was really happy… at that point, I knew I had done it without cramping or losing steam.
SG: Of the 3 legs which did you enjoy the most?
Jack: I was most satisfied with my swim. I’d say I gave all that I could on the cycle and kept a constant pace for the full ride. I definitely enjoyed the bike ride the most, but the swim will be the most memorable.
SG: Was there any equipment that you got prior the race that made a big difference day of? What would you encourage a first timer to invest in?
Jack: What saved me was a nose clip for the swim. I picked this up at the expo prior to the race, in all my practice, inhaling water was always a setback – this really saved the day!
SG: How did you find balancing work, training as well as your daily life? Any tips for someone considering doing the same?
Jack: This was not easy, especially since I had to extend my time sleeping in order to properly recover each night. I couldn’t work late at night, which was a big habit of mine. I think this is more of a compliment to the team that I work with, they were able to work around my training, and everyone was fully supportive. My meetings were tight and there were much less business lunches.
While my days were very fast paced, I enjoyed it and my days ended up being very productive. Moving forward, I won’t be slowing down or sacrificing any sleep, I’ve proven to myself that it works.
SG: What advice would you give to someone wanting to do a triathlon for the first time like yourself?
Jack: I strongly suggest it, it was awesome! It was the best way to get healthy, lose weight, and participate in an amazing event.
I had a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time, from losing 70lbs, to learning to swim and run, that’s a whole lot in 5 months. If I had more time, I would have followed my own advice that I gave when coaching my son’s hockey team: Train harder than game day! My race day was tougher than any training day that I had, mainly because I did not have the time to do all three legs at once, my main obstacle was not being under 260lbs until 4 weeks before the race.
Important note: train safe and recover daily!
So there you have it, straight from Jack’s mouth! I think one of the things I experienced is that we all have a triathlete in us, regardless of weight, age, shape or disability. There were so many inspiring runners at the South Beach Triathlon from St Jude that I think we all decided that if we work at it there may even be a ‘Team Essentia’ running next year. As Jack mentioned, you need to dedicate yourself to the training to really have an awesome race day and it looks like we have a year to get to it right 🙂
We also want to shout out Rich Macary who lost over 30lbs and completed Sunday’s race. As you said Rich, one of you was a bit more dedicated to the cause but I say you can both toast your achievements with an awesome bottle of red now! Jack won the bet and we’re excited to share with you the plans for some great events to give back and build the Betterhood.