Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Carlos Araujo....his PFG story

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"



Matty O said...

Love it! What a come back story! Carlos you have been to the end and back twice already.

Now since you threw it out there, what the heck kind of accident can there be in swimming, don't you wear goggles?!?!

Glad you found your calling and went for a career that makes you happy.

Congrats on your journey!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Matty!

Man, it was a stupid extension cord (kind of a bungee jump elastic) that I was helping a friend with. She had the cord tied around her waste fully extended in the pool, and I was holding the other end, out of the pool, therefore wearing no goggles (was done with my practice for the day, was just helping a friend out).

One of those things that I didn't think it could happen, but looking back it was very clear it would, as the cord had snapped and hit other people many times before, but never somebody's face.

I sued the swimming club (it was their "equipment") and won, but in Brazil it barely makes for a couple of coffees a day worth. But I only sued so I could have the moral win and all other clubs in Brazil would stop using the same improvised equipment.



DRog said...

Amazing story, Congratulations Carlos!! I am struck by the first year where you had to use the Elliptical machine in lieu of running due to your weight. And now 3 years later you have notched a 2nd IM and more importantly you are 65lbs lighter! Congrats on the weight loss and keep it rollin...


Doru said...

Wow, I guess that the pictures that you posted say it all. You progress is just HUGE as is your will power and determination. Congrats Carlos!!!

By the way, my wife has found a picture of you from Lake Placid at the Lost and Found section. Go at http://www.asiorders.com/view_event.asp?EVENTID=60052 and type 60052-265-028 in the Photo Id textbox.

Simon said...

I love these stories and no less your Carlos. So sorry abouyt the accident though, that really sucks.

I will post my story and photos when I do qualify for Kona. It's not that I don't want to, in fact I'm dying to so it's kind of one of the rewards when I get there.

Keep it going buddy, we all know how hard it was and still is.

PFG's keep rolling on!