From Learning to Swim… to Ironman!

….. after waking up one morning and realizing that I should be looking after myself better, tired of being sick and tired, something had to change. I was 110kgs and miserable. There was a gym 5 minutes from my workplace and I needed rescuing from some bad habits. I started doing bootcamps with a group of roughly 25 people and through them created some great relationships. Weight was coming off, energy was coming back and I was feeling sharp! I attended a military academy in the states as a kid, so I was enjoying the regimented discipline.

At 110kg and unable to swim at all, Jerrod made the life changing decision to start Triathlons - including Ironman!
At 110kg and unable to swim at all, Jerrod made the life changing decision to start Triathlons – including Ironman!

After 12 months, a few people from bootcamp decided to test their ability as distance runners and banded together to train for a half marathon. I had never run that far and thought if they can do it, so can I. I was excited about this new goal and told everyone what I was doing. “are you nuts?!” “how far is that!?”…. and a whole list of other responses, to which all I could do was laugh…

Training happened, the half marathon happened and I accomplished a pretty cool goal in my life. The after party was a blast and lots of drinks were shared. Well deserved drinks, of course!!! Hell! I just ran a half marathon!!!

I mentioned to the group that if we can do a half, than we can do a full marathon….. That went down like a lead balloon. Everyone I had been training with had just reached the pinnacle of their athletic career and was ready to go back to old ways….WTF!!!!

So, one of my comrades said to not worry about it, theres a group of runners up the road from where I live that train for longer distance events. Lets introduce ourselves and tell em we want to run a marathon…. How do you train for that distance? I had no idea, however, the seed was planted and I couldnt wait to get started on the journey…..or had the journey already started?!

6 months of training and the event happened…. again! The goal was discussed, the committment was made and the result was freaking awesome! I ran 3 hours and 41 minutes for my first marathon. There were 8 of us that day that had set out on the same journey 6 months prior. It was a great feeling that what ever you set your mind to, you can achieve. Theres always a feeling of emptiness after youve achieved a goal, especially if you havent reset for another future goal. What the hells next????

About an hour after the marathon, it was the Gold Coast Marathon by the way, a buddy of mine who finished 5 minutes ahead of me had a great idea. He came up to me and said, “we’ll never be this fit again….lets do a triathlon!”

I told him, you’ve got to be kidding me….I can’t swim!

He said, “we’ll get a swim coach”

“I dont have a bike!”,  I said

He said, “You can buy one of those!”

I had nowhere to turn from here….looks like I need a coach. That’s where Brett “Jacko” Jackson came in, General Manager of ADRENO Tri….

I showed up at the pool with 25 fit looking triathletes all wearing the gear that makes you look like you know what the hell you’re doing…speedo’s and swimcaps and cool goggles. Me, on the other hand, I had a pair of boardshorts and had never done any more than some doggie paddling as a kid. Scared shitless of water!!!

Learning to swim was just the beginning for Attitude Coach, Jerrod Smith!
Learning to swim was just the beginning for Attitude Coach, Jerrod Smith!

Jacko takes a look at me and said, “you’ll have to get rid of those shorts and get a proper pair if you’re going to swim here…..Jesus!” I did not want to wear a pair of those skimpy buggie smugglers. First day in the pool I was asked by Jacko to swim to the end so he could see my technique. I had to laugh, I’ve got no technique…I cant swim! This carried on for 5 more minutes before he said get in the pool. I felt like everyone was watching, which made it worse….. 3 arm strokes later and I was choking on a half litre of pool water. It was a long session for Jacko and myself. After 2 weeks and several sessions later, I was able to swim the length of that 25meter pool without stopping. That was 25 meters, I had signed up for Noosa Tri, an Olympic distance event that required me to swim 1500 metres and I had only 3 months to get it sorted……Jesus!!!!

I could give you some detail and insight as to how it all happened, however 3 months later….. Noosa Triathlon happened and I completed the course in just over 3 hours. 1500 metre swim, 40km bike, 10km run….. woohoo!!! I was stoked to say the least….It got me thinking again. If I could do this distance surely I can do a half Ironman??!!  So I set out to do my first Half Ironman down in Canberra, followed by a full Ironman in Melbourne in 2012.

Adreno Tri General Manager and Jerrod's swim coach, Brett 'Jacko' Jackson, is extremely proud of Jerrod's determination and how far he has come.
Adreno Tri General Manager and Jerrod’s swim coach, Brett ‘Jacko’ Jackson, is extremely proud of Jerrod’s determination and how far he has come.

Since the jump to the full ironman distance, I have set a new goal of completing 10 iron distance events in different parts of the world. This last event happened on the 8th of Sept in Madison, Wisconsin….. I swam 3.8km in 1hour 20min, biked 180km in 6hours 2minutes, and ran 42kms in 4hours 45min….. It was pretty emotional when you gather your family from all parts of the world to be your biggest cheer squad for the day. Believe me, they put in as much effort as I did for the day. Next Ironman for me is Bussleton, WA  December 2014….

In the meantime, I’m gearing up for the Northface 100….. thats a 100kms of trails through the Blue Mountains…. keep you posted!! Thanks for taking the time to read….

Jerrod Smith

Attitude Coach

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