While the origin of the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” is attributed to Winston Churchill, I’m pretty sure it still exists to describe a triathlete and their journey to an IRONMAN. As the story goes, John Collins, who was a Naval Officer stationed in Hawaii, started a debate with other athletes over who would be the fittest: swimmers, bikers or runners. John and his wife Judy decided to create a new competition combining the toughest endurance races on the island. The first “Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon” took place on February 18, 1978 in Waikiki.
The IRONMAN competition is a true testament to physical and mental strength. The race itself consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles on a bike and a 26.2-mile run to the finish line. Being an IRONMAN is about more than finishing the race; it’s about learning what you can accomplish when you push your boundaries.
On April 28, 2018, a large group of athletes from Houma packed up their gear, their families, and their support crews to compete in the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas. PoV wants to recognize and congratulate our athletes for their accomplishments and asked a few of them to share a little bit about their journey and what it means to be an IRONMAN.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taken from your achievement?
Nothing is impossible. Your body will do what your mind tells it. I had a stroke at birth and shouldn’t be walking and talking according to what the doctors told my parents, but I have done so much more than anyone ever expected. I have learned that everyone out on the race course has a story and so many people have overcome so much more to cross the line. I am inspired and my faith has grown through this experience.
Why an Ironman?
I had done half marathons, a friend got me to sign up for a local sprint triathlon and I was hooked. The ironman is a caliber of race that most people cannot even wrap their mind around even signing up, so I definitely wanted to give it a go.
Who or what is your biggest motivation?
My biggest motivation has been watching my children compete in swimming, running, and triathlons. Their passion and drive is what I love. I see their determination in succeeding in sports carry over into their academics and trying to be great role models for others. Our entire family lives a healthy lifestyle and its a great feeling knowing my children will carry that attitude into their adult lives.
Why an Ironman?
The Sport of Triathlon and Ironman came to me at a time in my life when I was making a transition from the Coaching Profession to Private Business. I initially was looking for a competitive outlet to keep me moving and it has provided that and so much more. This sport has pulled me through some really tough times. I love the community that surrounds the sport.
What motivates you to compete in a Ironman?
What motivates me to do an Ironman is the self-fulfillment of accomplishment achieved when you cross the finish line, and knowing that only 0.01% of the worlds population has completed an Ironman.
George T. Robichaux
Why an Ironman?
Why climb the highest mountain?It is a ridiculous event. No one would think to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, and then go run a marathon in the hottest part of the day. But we do, and we did.
How much time to you dedicate to training on average in preparation for a race?
For the past three years I’ve trained every week. I’ve done 7 Ironman triathlons during that three year period. Normally I train 6-8 months for a full Ironman. (Brent has completed 12 Ironmen races!)
What is the most difficult obstacle you have to overcome to achieve your goal?
Logistically, fitting in training in the midst of our girls’ sports activities, especially when we are traveling. Sometimes we work in a run session very early before their competitions or during their warm ups. Physically, I deal with exercise induced asthma which is especially bad with the extreme heat and humidity here. I also have a turf toe issue that can be so painful. My most difficult race was Ironman Arizona in 2012, when I got a stress fracture on my left foot 5 weeks before the race. I replaced run training with the elliptical machine and ran the race on the stress fracture, which began to hurt 7 miles into the marathon. I knew my girls were waiting for me at the finish line and I had trained so hard so even though it hurt, I did not stop until I crossed that line.