The Ironman triathlon—a grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile marathon—plays a very special role in my life. When I decided I wanted to quit drugs and live again in that cold, lonely prison cell more than 10 years ago, I was desperate for something to work towards—a goal or an objective that would give me a sense of purpose where I had none. I knew that in order to change, I needed discipline and dedication to an ideal.

I had never really swam, run or ridden a bike at the time. I hadn’t done any exercise in many years and was horribly overweight, not to mention plagued with the health effects of substance abuse. To say that completing a triathlon, let alone an Ironman, let alone qualifying for the World Championships, was a stretch goal would be an understatement. But I somehow sensed that in chasing this seemingly unrealistic dream, I could change myself from the inside out.

I was right.

The hundreds, and then thousands of miles I swam, biked and ran over the course of the next several years represented a long march towards self-reform and personal growth, both physically and mentally. Though I’m a very different individual today, I still race Ironman and 70.3 events for the same reasons that I raced almost 10 years ago: I want to evolve. Change often results from discomfort and extending our physical and mental boundaries. After so many years of racing and even as a professional coach, Ironman continues to change, educate, improve, and humble me.

See my past Ironman and 70.3 race results.