I recently completed my first full distance triathlon on Dec. 3, 2016, in Palm Springs, Calif. The full distance triathlon, more commonly referred to as an Ironman, consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, running a marathon, which is 26.2 miles for a total of 140.6 miles. It makes for a long day, pushing and challenging your mind, body and resolve in so many ways. Triathlons are an individual sport where you compete against yourself and which for me includes my personal goal of trying to reach the podium in my age group.
To become an Ironman, to build the body, skills and mental strength necessary to successfully compete and finish the 140.6 miles takes a lot of support, advice, encouragement and sacrifice from so many friends and family. It takes a community to build an Ironman and I would like to thank all of those who helped me to become an Ironman. My journey began with Cathy Kiser, Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan (ERBM) Recreation Center who inspired me to actually write down this personal goal of mine three years ago during a fitness challenge. Kari Stevens, my abs instructor who taught me the importance of a strong core and helped develop my core strength by attending her Pilates and core strengthening classes at the ERBM Recreation Center. Paul Daggett, my bike guru, tuned my bike and would host Wednesday night bike rides, giving me tips on how to pedal more efficiently. Lisa Belmonte was my running buddy who gave me running tips, advice and encouraged me to get into ultra-running events, trail running and was my teammate in my first Olympic distance triathlon. Shelly Rogers, my swim coach, who taught me to swim and become more efficient in my technique and approach to swimming to where I now can actually enjoy (sort of) this very personally challenging aspect of the triathlon. Perye Walter, Prescription Salon & Spa, my daughter and licensed massage therapist, who worked on my aching, sore muscles to help facilitate recovery and healing. Dr. Michael Que, Meeker Chiropractic, my chiropractor who kept my body well aligned and adjusted, doing magic only he can do. Adam Sczech, LTR Multisport and certified Ironman Coach, who coached me for nearly a year, improved my running form and efficiency, developed training programs, race strategies and so many things only a great coach can share and give to an athlete to push them to do their very best. I want to thank my many friends, acquaintances at the ERBM Recreation Center and the people of Meeker who gave me encouragement and positive support to believe in myself. Finally, my entire family, but most importantly my wife Kris who has been so supportive over the past three years, sacrificing family and personal time, especially on the weekends when I would spend 7-8 hours per day training, training six days per week usually twice a day and traveling with me to the many triathlons where I competed and cheering me onto the finish.
To all of you I have mentioned and the many others I did not mention, you are who and what I think about as I am competing in my triathlons, you lift me up during the lowest of lows and give me the strength to finish. Without your support, wisdom, sacrifice and love I could not have reached my goal of becoming an Ironman, for this I am grateful and sincerely thank you.
Kent E. Walter