Back in the late 80's, early 90's (16-17 years old) I was a pretty good swimmer. I made the Brazilian National team and was selected to represent my country in the 1991 Pan-Am games, in Cuba. Cuba was the "A" race to get qualified for the 92 Oly Games in Barcelona. Everything was going perfectly, that is until a stupid training accident made me lose the sight on my left eye. But more devastating, it made me lose the chance to go to the Pan-Am games and qualify for Barcelona.
Six months later, after gaining and loosing over 40 lbs, I was back in the pool, but only managed to get 3rd in the nationals that year. After missing the cut for the Olympics I faced the reality of having another 4 years cycle ahead of me or just getting my life going. I chose the later. You see, in Brazil if you are not playing soccer, there is not a lot of support from sponsors, universities, etc.. So it was time to move on. I went to university and started working on my family business.
Move forward 17 years. I was then 33, married for 7 years, living in Canada for 5 years, and weighting "around" 250 lbs, working 60-70 hours/week and not too happy about my lifestyle. That's when a good friend of mine mentioned about a triathlon he did. After quitting my 7-7 job, the very first thing I did was to call him and ask for more information about tris, as I have then decided that I would qualify for Kona. No, I didn't have a bike, or running shoes or a wetsuit, but hey, I was a good swimmer back in the old days (at least I thought I could still swim), and that's a start, right?
Completed my first try-a-tri (400m swim; 10km bike; 2.5 km run) in just under 1 hour! I finished in 198 out of 227 overall, 50 out of 52 in my AG! And that's all it took to get me hooked. For the first year doing try-a-tris I didn't train any running, as I was way too heavy and didn't want to risk any injury. So bike, swim and elliptical it was. In 2007 I did 3 try-a-tris and 1 Sprint triathlon (750m; 30km; 7.5km) and had to walk over 50% of time in all of them...Good times indeed... LOL!
Glad to say that today my run is a little bit better and I am 65 lbs lighter. That helped me to complete my first IM last year (France) and improve my time this year in Lake Placid by almost 3 hours. Kona is still a far-way goal, but not as far as it was in 2007!
Here's to all PFGs, but more important, here's to all FUTURE PFGs! From the Ironman mantra: "Anything is possible"