Travis is the course director for our very own SeaWheeze half marathon, is one hardcore triathlete (he has his sights set on Kona 2014...) and he’s even featured on our website sporting some of our newest run gear for men. But things weren’t always like this for Travis. With just three weeks until SeaWheeze 2013, his inspirational story reminds us that you really CAN do anything you put your mind to.
Let me take you back to November 2011.
I was recovering from a broken leg since August, an injury that required me to wear a full leg brace and be on crutches for three months. During that time, I also developed a Pulmonary Embolism - a potentially life-threatening blood clot in my lungs.
I was 29 years old, overweight, inactive and dealing with this new disease. It was a serious and scary time. I see this as one of life’s critical cross roads. It would have been easy to give up, use a horrible leg injury as an excuse to continue my years of inactivity, overindulgence and self-pity. No one would have expected any different. Inside there was something more.
Growing up, my family was always into sports. My dad was a competitive triathlete from the early 90’s, as kids, we were encouraged to try everything. Sports gave me focus, taught me important lessons in teamwork, it also gave me a sense of self fulfillment, and to concentrate my energy on positive actions and behaviours.
I completed my first Ironman Triathlon at 20 years and finished a couple of marathons and two more Ironmans before my 26th birthday. Then something changed, I stopped enjoying things. The challenge and working hard wasn’t enough - I became focused on results and it wasn’t fun anymore.
I started to define my worth by my placing.
Fast forward to August 2011, I hadn’t ridden my bike more than 10km, swimming was something fish did and running was not fun. It was something I used to do. Then it happened, I broke my leg. Landing awkwardly during an amateur game of Australian Football, I cracked the top of my Tibial Plateau. Suddenly all of the things I didn’t even like doing anymore (swimming, biking, running) weren’t even possible. I simply couldn’t, even if I wanted to.
During the time I was incapacitated, things really started to sink in. I was looking in the mirror and staring back at me was a complete stranger. I had lost all sense of myself, I was soulless and completely uneasy with the person I had become. I was keeping up appearances with friends but heard the snickers and comments; “gee, Trav has gotten big”. Whenever I told strangers about my athletic past, I could tell they thought I was probably making it up!
I was at rock bottom.
I had a choice: I could continue to morph into the stranger that was living my life, or I could turn it around and become the positive impact I wanted to be.
I made the decision to turn my life around; I had more to offer to myself and to the world. I wanted to be someone who makes a difference in the world and a catalyst for others living the lives they desired.
At that point, if I had of told someone I was going to race Ironman again they would've laughed. Twelve months later was Ironman Arizona, and I signed up! At the time I was around 112kg (247 pounds) and in the worst physical and mental shape of my life.
So November 2011, I decided to head to the pool in a pair of speedos that didn’t fit at all! I completed 1500 very slow metres on that night and it was then that something absolutely clicked! That feeling was back, it was a surreal, spiritual calmness that came across me. I realized in that moment, that would be the most out of shape I would EVER be again. I was on the road to recovery, both physically and mentally.
November 2012, 12 months later, I did it!
I lost 65 pounds throughout my journey and completed Ironman Arizona in 9 hours and 57 minutes.
I haven’t stopped there, I am well on my way to achieving my five-year goal of qualifying to race Ironman Hawaii and I will be giving it another shot in Ironman Canada this August in Whistler, BC.
I am now living my best life. I love my job, I love being active, I love being involved in a community of people who share the common goal of making the world a better place.
I am so grateful for my health, my happiness and encourage you all to take inspiration from my journey. Take your life one moment, one day, one workout at a time.